The Assam assembly on Monday passed a bill that proposes a punishment of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 10 crore on anyone found indulging in unfair means in recruitment examinations, news agency PTI reported.

The Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024 was passed by a voice vote in the House on the last day of the Budget session.

The bill, moved by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, will give full immunity to any government officer implementing the clauses in “good faith.”

As per the report, the bill empowers the government to punish any person, including examinees, indulging in any attempt to leak, produce, sell, print or solve question papers directly or indirectly to assist a candidate and hold tests in undesignated centres.

“Such a person will be imprisoned for a minimum of five years, extendable up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to be fined at least Rs 10 lakh, which can go up to Rs 10 crore,” the bill said.

“…in case of default of payment of fine, such person shall also be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of two years,” it added.

Besides, an examinee just indulging in unfair means is liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to three years and also liable to be fined a minimum of Rs 1 lakh, and another nine months of jail in case of default in payment, the bill said.

The act has made all offences cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable, and authorized an officer of Deputy Superintendent of Police level or above to probe the crimes.

Sarma, in the Statement of Object and Reasons of the Bill, said that it aims to provide an effective measure to prevent and curb the leaking of question papers and the use of unfair means in recruitment tests to any post under the state government, including autonomous bodies, authorities, boards and corporations.

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