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Maharashtra tables bill to prevent unfair means in competitive exams

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde with Indian cricketers Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube at Vidhan Bhavan on Friday, July 5, 2024.

The Maharashtra government on Friday, July 5, 2024, introduced a new bill aimed at curbing malpractice in the competitive examinations. The bill, ‘Maharashtra Competitive Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024’, was presented in the Legislative Assembly by minister and Shiv Sena leader Shambhuraj Desai.

Also read: Parliament clears Bill to curb malpractices in public exams

The proposed legislation classifies offences related to competitive exams as cognisable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable. Those caught engaging in illegal practices during these exams could face a minimum of three years in prison, extendable up to five years, and fines up to Rs. 10 lakh. According to the bill, failure to pay the fine would result in additional imprisonment as outlined in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023.

The Union government on June 21 enacted the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which targets malpractice in competitive exams, imposing a maximum jail term of 10 years and fines up to ₹1 crore for those found guilty.

The bill, introduced in the Lower House of the State legislation, also stipulates that service providers facilitating the exams could be fined up to Rs 1 crore and held accountable for the costs associated with the examination. Furthermore, these providers would be prohibited from conducting any competitive exams for four years.

Key provisions of the Maharashtra Competitive Examination (PUM) Act include measures to prevent disruptions during exams, defining the responsibilities of paper setters, and granting investigative authority to officers of at least the rank of deputy superintendent of police or assistant commissioner of police.

This legislative move follows reports of irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate), which was conducted in May.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde felicitated Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma and three other players and announced a cash reward of Rs 11 crore for the team that won the T20 World Cup.

The announcement took place in the central hall of the State Assembly, where four Mumbai players from the team, including Mr. Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shivam Dubey.

Mr. Shinde also recognised the contributions of support team members Paras Mhambre and Arun Kanade by felicitating them.

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