Why India’s anti-exam cheating law might not be effective

A strict new law was established by the Indian parliament to stop exam cheating for government employment and public college admission. The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which was approved on Tuesday, stipulates that individuals who assist in cheating may face a three-to-ten-year prison sentence. A fine of one million rupees ($12,040; £9,551) to ten million rupees is also imposed for it. The new law does not directly penalize test-takers; rather, the guidelines established by the testing authority in each state will govern their punishments.


The majority of tests administered by the federal government and its testing bodies will be subject to the law. Senior police authorities will conduct investigations and there is no bail for any offense. The government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has stated that the act, being the first federal legislation to prohibit test malpractices, will bring about “greater transparency, fairness and credibility”. However, some contend that harsh penalties by themselves will not adequately resolve the problem, pointing out that cases of fraud and impersonation are already illegal in India.


“Coaching centers conspire with students to help them pass entrance examinations, so the new law could prove to be ineffective,” claims Ghanta Chakrapani, a former chairman of a state-run company that hires candidates for state government positions. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier investigative body in India, detained a Russian hacker in 2022 after it was claimed that he had cheated on the entrance exam for admission to the esteemed Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The hacker purportedly had a job at a coaching facility.

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