Enforcing law against paper leak mere whitewash: Congress chief Kharge


PTI, Jun 22, 2024, 7:23 PM IST

Source: PTI / File

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday termed the enforcement of the anti-paper leak law a “whitewash” and asserted that the BJP cannot evade its responsibility in “promoting corruption and education mafia”.

The Centre on Friday night operationalised the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which aims to curb malpractices and irregularities in competitive examinations and entails provisions for a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore for offenders.

In a post in Hindi on ‘X’, the Congress president claimed that 70 question papers were leaked in the last seven years and sought to know why the BJP has taken no action so far.

“No matter how much effort BJP makes in the NEET scam, it cannot escape its responsibility in promoting fraud, corruption and education mafia,” Kharge said.

He said the law against paper leaks got the President’s assent on February 13 this year but was notified only on Friday night.

“When the education minister was asked about it in the press conference, he had said the law was notified… Why did the Education Minister of the Modi Government lie that the law has been notified when the Ministry of Law and Justice had yet to frame the rules?” Kharge asked.

He said the Union education minister first denied the paper leak and after arrests were made in Gujarat, Bihar, and Haryana, he said the exam will not be cancelled since papers were leaked locally in some places.

“The fact is that in 2015, 44 students were involved, yet the Pre-Medical Test was held again for six lakh candidates on the orders of the Supreme Court,” the Congress president said.

He said that on NEET too, the Supreme Court has said if there has been even 0.001 fraud, then action should be taken.

“Why is the Modi government not conducting the exam again even though the education minister has admitted to the irregularities?” Kharge posed.

“In nine days, NTA has cancelled or postponed three major exams. Even after passing the law, the leak of the UP Police Recruitment and Promotion Board’s (UPPRPB) exam paper in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has been found to be linked to a Gujarat company,” he said.

The Congress president asked, “Why are (question) papers still being leaked despite a law being passed against it? When 70 papers were leaked in the last seven years, why did the Modi government not take any strict action against it?”

“Bringing a new law is merely a whitewash by the BJP. Unless the education system and autonomous institutions are freed from the interference and negative influence of BJP-RSS, this fraud, theft and corruption will continue,” Kharge said.

The National Testing Agency, which conducts the competitive exams, on Friday, announced the postponement of the June edition of the Joint Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test, citing unavoidable circumstances and logistic issues.

It came two days after the agency cancelled the UGC-NET examination within 24 hours of its conduct saying the integrity of the exam had been compromised, and a massive row on NEET over alleged irregularities, with the issue now before the Supreme Court.

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