Guwahati: Any examinee or any person related to the conduct of public examinations for recruitment to any post under the state government who is found to indulge in unfair means will be punished with imprisonment and fines.
To implement this provision, the Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024, was introduced in the Assam Legislative Assembly on the first day of the Budget Session 2024 on Monday. The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs minister Pijush Hazarika on behalf of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
According to the statement of object and reasons of the Bill, the Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024, is proposed to provide effective measures to prevent and curb the offences of leakage of question papers and use of unfair means at public examinations for the purpose of recruitment to any post under the State government, including autonomous bodies, authorities, boards, or corporations, and to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
It was further stated that no police officer below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police shall investigate any offence committed under this Bill. The State government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, shall designate and notify as many courts of session to try offences under this Bill.
According to Clause 10(1) of the Bill, the government is empowered to punish any examinee indulging in extending unauthorized help in the form of material written, recorded, copied, or printed, with imprisonment of either a term up to three years and a fine not less than one lakh rupees. In case of default of payment of a fine, such examinee shall be liable to punishment with imprisonment for a term of three months.
Clause 10(2) of the Bill empowers the government to punish any person, including examinee, whether entrusted or authorized with a conduct of public examination or not, indulging in any attempt to leak, procure, sell, print, or solve question papers, directly or indirectly to assist examinee in unauthorized manner, to conduct examination in not designated centres or print question papers or blank answer scripts in not designated printing press, with imprisonment of 5 years to 10 years or a fine of Rs 10 lakh to 10 crore, and in case of default of fine, further imprisonment of two years.
Clause 11 of the Bill empowers the government to debar any examinee from taking any public examination as defined in clause 9(1) of Section 2 read with Schedule II who has been convicted under the provisions of this Bill for a period of two years.
Clause 12 of the Bill empowers the Court to make an order of recovery of any wrongful gains made by a person in an organized crime in conspiracy with the examination authority.
Clause 13 of the Bill empowers the government to make a person of the management or institution or limited liability partnership found guilty of the offence under sub-section 2 of Section 10 of this Bill pay all costs and expenditures related to the examination determined by the Special Court and to ban such persons forever.
Clause 16 of the Bill empowers the government to designate a Police Officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police to investigate any offence committed under this Bill.
Clause 17 of the Bill empowers the government in consultation with Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court to designate and notify as many Special Courts to try offences under this Bill and a Court not below the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge to be designated as a Special Court.
The Bill will cover public examinations conducted by 17 types of recruitment bodies. This includes any examination conducted by the Assam Public Service Commission; the Gauhati High Court; the State Level Recruitment Commission for Class III Posts; State Level Recruitment Commission for Class IV Posts; any other authority or agency or recruitment committee engaged or constituted by the State government; State Funded Universities; the Board of Secondary Education, Assam; Assam Higher Secondary Education Council; State Level Police Recruitment Board, Assam; Teachers' Eligibility Test of LP and UP Schools; Teachers' Eligibility Test of Secondary Schools; Medical and Health Recruitment Board; Assam Engineering Service Recruitment Board; Assam College Service Recruitment Board; Public Sector Undertaking owned by the State government; Societies, Corporations, Local Bodies and all PSU's owned by the State government substantially or partially; and the State government or conducted by any agency appointed by the State government.
Discussions on this Bill will be held later in the Budget session of the state Assembly.