Enhancing Integrity in Public Examinations: Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024



The prevalence of organized cheating in recruitment examinations poses a significant threat to the integrity of the system and undermines the efforts of deserving candidates. The recently passed Anti-Cheating Bill by Parliament signifies a crucial initial stride towards addressing this menace. However, challenges persist, especially in enforcement. The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill 2024, designed to combat unfair practices in public recruitment exams and national-level entrance tests, presents a robust framework for restoring trust in the examination system. With provisions for stringent punishments, including imprisonment ranging from three to ten years for various offenses, the Act aims to deter malpractices effectively. This paper delves into the necessity, advantages, and drawbacks of the bill, offering a comprehensive analysis of its implications on ensuring fairness and integrity in public examinations. Understanding the intricacies of this legislation is vital for comprehending its significance and potential impact on addressing the challenges of cheating in examinations.

KEYWORDS:  Unfair Means and Integrity .


India’s education system is highly competitive, with top universities like Delhi University previously demanding near-perfect scores of 99% in school-leaving exams. This pressure, coupled wit[1]h soaring parental expectations, fuels a quest for academic excellence. However, this pursuit has given rise to a thriving market for shortcuts to success, with cheating becoming widespread.

The allure of government jobs remains strong, especially for youth from middle and lower-middle-class backgrounds seeking stability and social security benefits. The competition for these positions has intensified due to economic downturns and the pandemic-induced job market contraction, fostering unethical practices by job syndicates and exam manipulators.

The demand-supply imbalance in the job market has further fueled the proliferation of cheating. As competition intensifies, the influence of job mafias and exam fixers grows, undermining the integrity of the examination process and eroding public trust. Addressing these issues is crucial to preserving the credibility of educational institutions and ensuring fairness for all candidates.

The prevalence of cheating in recruitment examinations leaves deserving candidates, who dedicate years to preparation, feeling frustrated and disillusioned. This frustration, stemming from the injustice of unfair advantages gained through dishonest means, risks eroding public trust in the examination system. Such erosion could have significant consequences for societal perceptions of education, institutional credibility, and social cohesion

The anti-cheating bill, passed recently by Parliament, is a welcome first step to tackle the menace but challenges are many, particularly in the area of enforcement.

[2]The Act aims to reduce cheating in public recruitment exams and national entrance tests by proposing strict penalties, including three to five years in prison for leaking papers and up to ten years for organized cheating schemes. These punishments target collaborations and actions that make cheating easier.

The aim of the paper, which is to examine the necessity, advantages, and drawbacks of the bill, and to provide a comprehensive analysis of its implications for maintaining fairness and integrity in public examinations.


This paper is of descriptive nature and the research is based on secondary sources of the deep analysis of the functions and operation of coaching centers and the fundamental rights of students. Secondary sources of information like newspapers, websites and guideline from the government are used for the research


The research paper commences with a delineation of the imperative need for legislation aimed at curbing malpractices in examinations, highlighting the gravity of the issue. Subsequently, it meticulously examines the factors contributing to the proliferation of cheating in examinations, providing a comprehensive analysis of the societal, educational, and systemic factors at play. Furthermore, the paper delves into a detailed scrutiny of the bill, elucidating its purpose and elucidating its ramifications on both social and political spheres. Special emphasis is placed on the prescribed penalties articulated within the act, elucidating their significance in deterring malfeasance. Additionally, the paper meticulously evaluates the merits and demerits of the legislation, offering a nuanced exploration of its potential impact. Finally, the paper culminates with a cogent suggestion and a conclusive summary, synthesizing the key findings and implications of the study.

Mandate for the Act.

In India, the quest for government jobs often leads aspiring candidates to resort to unfair means, including exam cheating, a prevalent practice driven by the promise of stability and social security benefits. The country’s unemployment rate, standing at nearly 8% as of December 2022 [3]according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), is exacerbated by the widespread reliance on rote learning in schools, which prioritizes memorization over understanding. Parental expectations further intensify the pressure on students. Cheating has become a pervasive issue, with some parents even facilitating deceptive practices.

The allure of government jobs, particularly among youth from middle and lower-middle-class backgrounds, is driven by the perception of job security and regular income. The heightened competition for these positions, exacerbated by economic downturns and the pandemic-induced job market contraction, has created opportunities for illicit activities by job syndicates and exam fixers.

An investigation has uncovered more than 40 instances of paper leaks across 15 states within the past five years, such as RO/ARO exam 2024 conducted by UP-PSS

•Uttar Pradesh police constable exam 2024

•CSIR SO/ASO exam ,2024

•Rajasthan(2015-2023) more than 14 cases of question Paper leaks

•Uttar Pradesh 8 Incidents of paper leak bw 2017-2022 including inspector recruitment, UP-TET,   PET, B.Ed joint entrance exam etc.

•Uttrakhand(2015-23) more than 10

 shedding light on the systemic issues ingrained in the country’s examination systems.

The consequences of these leaks have been far-reaching, impacting approximately 1.4 crore aspirants competing for around 1 lakh government positions

A panel, in the High Court likened cheating to a problem describing it as an issue that can harm society and the educational system of any nation. If left unaddressed or dealt with leniently it can have consequences.

The integrity of the education system must be upheld for a country’s advancement,  Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharmas panel remarked. The panel was to review the appeal that had been filed by the engineering student caught cheating in the second semester finals against a judge who had not intervened to stop the exams cancellation.

The court strongly condemned cheating, underscoring that individuals resorting to such practices to gain an unfair advantage over hardworking students must face severe consequences. Those who cheat and evade punishment are deemed detrimental to nation-building efforts and should not be treated leniently. Recognizing the importance of honesty in personal lives, the High Court emphasized the significance of maintaining integrity and discipline during examinations for the nation’s development.

In response to these concerns, the Prevention of Unfair Means in Public Examination Act [4]represents a significant legislative milestone. Its primary objective is to preserve the integrity of public examinations and prevent the undermining of deserving students’ efforts. By promoting a level playing field, the act seeks to ensure equitable opportunities for all candidates to succeed.

Understanding the genesis of offenses mandates a meticulous examination.  Of late, results trump methods, contradicting Gandhi’s ethics. Social pressures prioritize outcomes, raising parental expectations and compromising student morals. Institutions exploit this, offering shortcuts to academic success, undermining exam integrity. Consequently, influenced by peers and struggling with self-esteem, students turn to unethical behavior. Bureaucratic favoritism gives unfair advantages to politically connected candidates, breeding dishonesty.



Focus of the act is on two elements

  • Unfair
  • Means

The essence of the act is on upholding the values of equity and honesty within the education assessment framework. Equity stands as the bedrock of this structure establishing an understanding between students and educational institutions. Students depend on bodies to administer assessments fairly while these institutions anticipate students to uphold standards during assessments. This reciprocal trust is crucial for upholding the credibility of assessments.

[5]Nevertheless, at times this credibility has come under jeopardy. Incidents such as exam paper leaks, academic dishonesty, during assessments seeking aid and manipulation of assessment results have sullied the integrity of the assessment process. Hence the primary aim of this legislation is to restore and protect the principles of competition throughout the assessment procedure.

Standardized tests are meant to evaluate skills and competence providing each student with a chance to demonstrate their abilities fairly. Yet the widespread occurrence of cheating compromises this core value harming students, in the run. Therefore the primary goal of this measure is to uphold the integrity of exams and protect the fairness of assessment procedures, for everyone involved.

ii) Legal and Political Implications.

The bill offers a thorough explanation of practices along with strict actions against misconduct. It also establishes a technical committee to tackle cheating in the domain with a central agency responsible for investigating violations.

The act entails punishment for the said offense non bailable and non compoundable, under section 9 of the act,  highlighting a strict approach against misconduct in this context.

This legislative move demonstrates the government’s dedication to ensuring exams and fighting both individual and organized wrongdoing. The bill holds individuals accountable for their actions during examinations, ensuring that those who engage in cheating face legal repercussions. This promotes a culture of responsibility and accountability among students and educational institutions.

[6]The political implications of such actions are substantial, evident in the rejection of 1.4 crore applications for 1.04 lakh positions over the last five years. This has undermined trust in institutions and government credibility significantly. The decrease in trust has become linked to perceptions about the state’s effectiveness and its services becoming a concern as observed in the Rajasthan election.

The complex political aspects of this matter are extensive and should not be underestimated. The Anti-Cheating Bill not only enhances the credibility of examinations but also reinforces the legitimacy of the government. By combatting malpractices, the Act demonstrates the government’s commitment to fairness and equality, thereby bolstering public trust and confidence in both educational institutions and governmental authorities.

iii)Punishments drawn in The Bill


INDIVIDUAL: A person resorting to unfair means shall be punished with maximum 3 years imprisonment which may extend to 5 yrs and fine upto 10 lakh

SERVICE PROVIDER: The service provider shall also be liable to be punished with imposition of a fine up to one crore rupees and proportionate cost of examination shall also be

recovered from such service provider and he shall also be barred from being assigned with any responsibility for the conduct of any public examination for a period of four years


Where it is established during the investigation that offense under this Act has been committed with the consent or connivance of any Director, Senior Management or the persons in-charge of the service provider firm, he

shall be liable for imprisonment for a term not less than three years but which may extend to ten years and with fine of one crore rupees.

 In case of default of payment of fine, an additional punishment of imprisonment shall be imposed as per the provisions of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023.

Provided that until the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 is brought into force, the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, shall be applicable in place of the said Act.


i) If a person or a group of persons including the examination authority or service provider or any other institution commits an organized crime, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than five years but which may extend to ten years and with fine which shall not be less than one crore rupees. In case of default of payment of fine, an additional punishment of imprisonment shall be imposed as per the provisions of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023:

Provided that until the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 is brought into force, the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, shall be applicable in place of the said Act

ii) If an institution is involved in committing an organized crime, its property shall be subjected to attachment and forfeiture and proportionate cost of examination shall also be recovered from it.



The passage of the bill is concomitant with the mental well-being of the candidate, as well as social and political welfare. The act works to bring greater transparency, fairness and credibility.

Society is built upon a foundation of trust. If instances of cheating persist and individuals wrongfully face accusations, trust in the government diminishes, leading to a deficit of trust. Conversely, upholding the integrity of public examination bodies enhances trust in these institutions. Moreover, fostering a culture of excellence and honesty through such measures provides social benefits. As a result, people begin to value merit more and show increased respect for it. These points underscore the significance of the bill, particularly in legal context.

The enactment of this bill ensures that candidates’ efforts are not in vain.Encouraging the rise of dedicated officials When individuals are selected through fair means, their commitment to public service is heightened, resulting in the delivery of superior services to the public.

Conversely, candidates chosen through unfair practices may lack the integrity and competence required for their roles, potentially resorting to corruption to recoup their investment.  This undermines the bureaucracy and erodes public trust.  From a legal standpoint, the bill ensures that justice is served to students whose efforts are impeded by such malpractices, instilling fairness in the examination system and reinforcing its integrity.


While the inauguration of the bill marks a significant milestone, it is imperative to recognize that legislation alone cannot provide a complete solution. The instrumentality of it is contingent on its implementation. A multifaceted approach has to be adapted for combating such practices. States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have their own anti-cheating laws. The effectiveness of these laws has been the subject of debate. Paper leaks should be viewed as organized crimes rather than isolated incidents. [8]

It is an issue of the system. The bureaucrats responsible must adhere to their duties; if left unmet, even the most significant and well-oriented legislations will remain inactive.

The bill doesn’t lay out a strict timeline for reexaminations. If that is prolonged, many applicants might not sit for their next attempt.

In addition to this, it is imperative to understand the underlying motives behind such actions. . Extinguishing the intent will facilitate the attainment of the objectives of the act. Aforementioned,students are drawn to such activities due to their susceptibility to parental and societal pressures, compounded by aspirations that exceed their capabilities.

These fundamental issues necessitate attention. Priority shouldn’t be the results but efforts. Each legislative enactment is crafted to combat a societal ill stemming from inherent vulnerabilities and structural deficiencies. Consequently, the impact of legislation should not be narrowly construed from a legal standpoint alone, but rather through a comprehensive approach aimed at mitigating the root causes that drive these actions.


In conclusion, the intrinsic value of integrity within public service cannot be overstated, and the cultivation of a culture of honesty commences at the foundational level. These initiatives serve as conduits for instilling virtues of integrity and honesty. Furthermore, the educational policy underscores the paramount importance of such values, emphasizing education as the linchpin for the development of integrity within individuals. The enactment of the Prevention of Unfair Means in Public Examinations Bill stands as a commendable stride in India’s educational landscape, serving to fortify it against malpractices and elevating the esteem of candidates’ genuine endeavors. Through concerted efforts and an unwavering dedication to integrity, a culture of honesty can be nurtured, permeating every facet of society and ensuring a brighter future for successive generations.


University School Of Law And Legal Studies

Semester – IV

Internship Assignment 1

Submitted to :                                                               Submitted by:

Amikus Qriae                                                Poonam

[1]  Sanjana sharma, cracking down on cheating: A new chapter for public recruitment. The Hindu Editorial


   2. The Tribune India, Cheating in exams plague-like pandemic: Delhi High Court. Tribune India, December 27.

[2]  1. IANS, Student who cheat in exams should not be spared: Delhi High Court. Times of India. December 27, 2022.

[3]  Anonna Dutt, Lok Sabha passes Bill to curb job exam malpractices. Indian Express. February 7, 2024

[4]1.R Subrahmanyam, Arjoma Moulick, Leaked papers and cheating scandals: How to fix India’s exam. Indian Express. March 1, 2024

 2.Amrit Dhillon, In India, exam cheating is just a symptom. The Globe and Mail. March 30, 2015

[5] Sanjana sharma, cracking down on cheating: A new chapter for public recruitment. The Hindu Editorial

February 8,2024.

[6] Public Examinations(Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, section 10. Chapter 3, No. 5, Acts of Parliament, 2024 (India).

[7] Public Examinations(Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, section 10. Chapter 3, No. 5, Acts of Parliament, 2024 (India).

[8]  .Vignesh Shankar, Will the Anti-Cheating Bill be effective? Either view. February 9, 2024.