Sudhir Kumar( name changed to protect identity) collected a question paper licked by examination conductor.He appeared in the competitive examination organised by the state government and then indulged in cheating. He gained high percentage of marks and got selected as a candidate to gain the state government’s job. 

Kumar is not an isolated case in Jharkhand. It is in this land where the state appointment body Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC), which conducts the Combined Civil Service Examinations, had conducted seven examinations since Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state in 2000, and all of them have been mired in controversy due to several reasons connected with corruption including question paper leak, cheating and other examination irregularities.

More than 200 petitions have so far been filed in Jharkhand High Court related to these examinations — the complaints range from confusion and alleged corruption in the selection process to irregularities, among others.

Now, thanks to the Soren government, all these banes of paper leak, cheating and so on may be confined to history as the state assembly has approved  the Jharkhand Competitive Examination (Measure for Control and Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2023. 

Despite protest by the opposition BJP,the Bill was passed by the state assembly on Friday 

Apparently,the move is an effort to crack down on use of unfair means and irregularities in examinations and plug incidents of question paper ‘leaks’.

Among others, the Bill, which is set to become and Act and there by a law, proposes imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to Rs five lakh for any candidate involved in the illegal examination process — such as those involved in printing question papers and employees of examination authorities.

This means  the Bill is meant to ensure that examinations for government jobs are conducted in a time-bound manner and without any irregularities such as paper leak and cheating.

The  Bill states that an examinee, if caught cheating or making another examinee cheat, could be sentenced for a period up to three years in jail along with a fine. For second-time offenders, the jail term could go up to three years.

Also, the Bill turned Act proposes that in case of other people involved in the examination process — such as those in a printing press that prints question papers, service providers, an employee of the examination authority concerned or those at coaching centres, among others — found involved in conspiracy of irregularities can be prosecuted with imprisonment upto  three years.

On the fate of a student found guilty, the draft Bill states that any examinee who is “prosecuted for any offence under the provisions…shall be debarred from appearing in all competitive examinations held by the examination authority, from the date of charge-sheet filed for a period of two to five years”.

An examinee could be barred from sitting in such exams “on conviction for a period of 10 years…and for life time if prosecuted again”, according to the Bill.

On powers to attach property of the accused, and subsequent release of such impounded property, the Bill states that the government “… may order attachment of such property, whether or not cognizance of such offence has been taken by Special Court…the proceeds of an offence means all property derived or obtained from the commission of an offence. 

On release of property (concerned), the claimant may, within three months from the date of knowledge of such attachment, make a representation to the District Magistrate showing the circumstances in and the sources by which such property was acquired by him.”

The Bill states that the state government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, may designate session courts as special court, or special courts, for such areas or areas “as may be specified in the notification”.

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