Updated February 6th, 2024 at 15:37 IST
Assam Government Introduces Bill: Rs 10 Lakh Fine and Jail for Cheating in Public Recruitment Exams
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced the Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024 in state assembly
The Assam government, on Monday, proposed severe punishments, including up to 10 years of imprisonment and fines up to Rs 10 crore, for individuals involved in unfair means during recruitment examinations. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced the Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024, in the state assembly, emphasizing its intent to combat question paper leaks and malpractices.
The proposed legislation grants full immunity to government officers implementing the clauses in "good faith." The Bill empowers the government to punish anyone involved in leaking, producing, selling, printing, or solving question papers to assist a candidate. The penalties include a minimum of five years in prison, extendable up to 10 years, and fines ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 crore.
In case of default in payment of the fine, the individual may face an additional two years of imprisonment. Examinees engaging in unfair means may be imprisoned for up to three years, fined a minimum of Rs 1 lakh, and face an additional nine months of jail in case of default in payment.
The government can also debar an examinee convicted under the law from taking any public examination for two years. The Bill authorizes the recovery of wrongful gains through asset/property attachment and sale.
The legislation makes all offences cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable, with a Deputy Superintendent of Police or above authorized to probe crimes. Public servants acting in "good faith" under this Act are protected from legal proceedings.
Special courts, headed by not below Additional District and Sessions Judge, will be instituted to try offences under this Act. The Bill aims to prevent question paper leaks and unfair means in recruitment exams for state government posts, including autonomous bodies, authorities, boards, and corporations.
This move follows the suspension of 21 state civil, police, and allied services officers in December for their alleged involvement in the "cash-for-jobs" scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC). The government initiated actions against officials and candidates implicated in the Justice (retd) B K Sarma Committee report.
The opposition raised concerns over irregularities in the recruitment of Grade III and IV posts in 2022, leading to investigations and arrests related to the alleged "cash-for-jobs" scam. The proposed Bill is part of the government's efforts to uphold the integrity of recruitment processes and deter malpractices.
Published February 6th, 2024 at 15:27 IST