CHEATING- A MENACE:
Suppose, the doctor you visit to get treatment got passed by cheating in examinations. Imagine, you are crossing a high bridge made by an engineer who didn’t even appear for the critical exams. Ask yourself, Will you honestly board a plane when you know the pilot does not know how to fly?
The stakes are high when we depict the natural result of cheating like that, isn’t it? “CHEATING OF ONE, AFFECTS THOUSANDS IN RETURN”. Sadly, these are not the only profession in the country affected from the virus called “cheating”. Question of the hour is, where will this economy head if the runners of the country does not possess the required knowledge?
- The year 2021 was declared “The year of cheating” depicting the out-of-control breeding cases of cheating in exams. Major fact to observe here is that mostly all the exams which faced these controversies of associating with cheating, were conducted on the National-level. Impersonating, taking exams on behalf of examinee from a remote location, center hacking, paper leaks, no case left unheard or unnoticed.
- You would be shocked to read that on September 26, 2021 case of a student wearing “Bluetooth wired slippers” called the “Cheating sandals was reported. Hidden devices in calculators, even cheat sheets in the pen’s cap are not so uncommon too.
- The photos of parents climbing up the walls of the examination center to reach the classroom windows were flashed in the whole world. In 10 days, the Karnataka state became a witness of leaking of papers twice. The result was student in thousands have to give the same exam thrice with a widespread protest. The best students of Bihar were not able to answer even the basic questions in a TV interview.
- After conducting the survey for 12 years, ETS present a detailed report of about 95% of students confessing cheating in the exams. It also states that unlike 1940’s where only 20% of students used to cheat, now in the 21th century it has risen to 75%.
ISSUE WORSE IN ONLINE EXAMS:
A key result of digitalisation is online examination. But these digital exams have added more challenges for the authorities to check the rampant case of cheating. There is no guarantee that the student appearing is the same student who got enrolled for the exams. Virtual surveillance cannot see beyond certain space and limits which is a boon for cheaters. Remote proctoring is still at its initial stages in India having a long way to go.
JHARKHAND ANTI- CHEATING BILL:
On 3 August 2023, the Jharkhand legislative assembly passed “Jharkhand competitive examination (measure for control and prevention of unfair means in recruitment) Bill, 2023.
However, the bill still needs the assent of Governor of the state, C.P. Radhakrishnan to become a law.
OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL:
The bill aims at:
- Restoring the public faith in the examination system.
- Ensure a level playing field for all the examines.
- Harsh punishment to serve as a deterrence against cheating.
APPLICATION OF THE BILL:
It is made applicable to all examinations conducted by:
- Jharkhand Public Service Commission,
- Jharkhand Staff selection commission,
- Recruitment committees,
- Public undertakings
This bill continues to be in the news due to its provision of stricter punishments.
- Examinee is caught cheating or causing cheating- Imprisonment of a year and fine up to Rs. 5 Lakh.
- Examinee is caught cheating 2nd time or stealing- Imprisonment of 3 years and fine up to Rs. 10 Lakh.
- Default in payment of Fine- additional imprisonment for 9 months.
- After filling of the chargesheet, the examinee will not be allowed to appear in the competitive examination for 2-5 years.
- If the examinee gets convicted, he will not be allowed to appear in the competitive examinations for a period of 10 years.
- If printing press or the management system, person in charge of the transport or a coaching institute is involved in the plotting of cheating- Imprisonment from 10 years to life imprisonment with fine from Rs. 2 Crore to Rs. 10 Crore.
- Default of payment of fine- additional imprisonment of 3 years.
SPECIAL PROVISIONS OF ANTI- CHEATING BILL:
There are some new provisions in the bill gaining limelight and these are:
- Sending the candidate and other agencies caught cheating by Unfair means to jail without any requirement of registering FIR and preliminary investigation.
- No requirement of permission for the investigating officer to arrest the accused.
- Investigations to be conducted by DSP rank officer. In case he is not deployed, the duty to investigate is of SP.
- Special court will be established by the state government of Jharkhand in consultation with the chief justice of Jharkhand high court to hear these cases.
- If the DC (Deputy Commissioner) has reason to believe on the involvement of someone in the unfair practices in conducting examinations, he can direct any officer to search any place and entrust him with the power of seizure.
DRACONIAN OR FUTURE OF YOUTH:
Hemant Soren allege that this bill has been introduced keeping in view past several controversies pertaining to the competitive examination in the state. In the past, all 7-examination conducted by the public service commission of Jharkhand were tied with corruption and cheating practices. Over dozens of petitions were filed in the Jharkhand high court on the ground of irregularities and corruption in the Examinations. It is contented by the minister that, “this bill has been placed to secure the future of the Jharkhand youth.
The opposition demanded the bill to be sent to a select committee. They termed the law as draconian. The opposition MLA’S walked out of the house. Tearing a copy of the bill. They raised question on the unfair strictness on examinees and power of arresting without any warrant. Moreover, they also allege the bill as a tool to harass the aspirants. They also stated that the misuse of the law will in turn give more opportunity to the corrupt officials. The BJP opposition (having Babulal Marandi as its chief) met the governor on 4 August to review the Anti- cheating bill so that it could be prevented in becoming the “BLACK LAW”.
OTHER STATES WITH SIMILAR LAWS:
To ensure transparency and fairness while conducting the public service examination, the governments of many other states have also passed the similar law. These states include:
- Uttar Pradesh;
- Andra Pradesh;
Keeping in consideration, the points raised by both the ruling and opposite party, there is no denial in the fact that this law could be misused against the students as well. But we should also consider the widespread and growing issue of cheating in examination that require a stricter eye, a deterrence. The question is Is sentencing and barring the students to appear in exams an appropriate solution or a diversion to another problem?
What will be its effect on the students? Imprisonment is not a punishment to be taken so lightly. It could have severe long term impacts on the life and mindset of a person, nonetheless a student. It can hinder their future. Just imagine the youth of our country behind bars beyond any easier chance to reformation or rehabilitation. Surely, the authorities should not keep silence and spare the wrongdoers but there should be an endeavor towards alternative methods to curb this menace.
- Moral education at the ground level should be given and included in the curriculum;
- The Anxiety, stress caused in overburdened students could be released by providing them second chances to work and improve;
- There should be creation of a learning environment, a fun study atmosphere rather than rote learning in the courses
In recent plea filed in the supreme court, on ground of 12 shutdowns arbitrarily imposed resulting in 71 hours of internet shut down for facilitating smooth examination was declared invalid. Supreme Court bench headed by UU Lalit direct the MEITY( Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology) to not to suspend the internet services on grounds of preventing cheating in examination.
- Contrary of doing this, the government should strive better surveillance on the students appearing in competitive examinations. This can be done by using CCTV cameras and other digital technologies. In alignment with the direction of the supreme court, government should use the internet against the offenders.
- More than 3 superintendent in one classroom can also help in keeping a better eye on the students.
if we want to discover, there is always a way.