28 Feb 2024  |   05:04am IST

Job scams galore across the country

Raju Vernekar

Although the Union Government has enacted legislation to curb malpractices in public examinations, going by fierce competition for jobs and top college admission tests, it is difficult to say how far the new act will be effective.

Under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, recently passed in Lok Sabha, malpractices in public examinations and common entrance tests (CET) will be punishable with imprisonment of minimum three years (extendable up to five years), with a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. If a person or a group of persons commits an organised crime, including the examination authority or service provider or any other institution, they will be punished with imprisonment of 5 years (extendable up to 10 years) with a fine of Rs 1 crore. The property of the institution involved, shall be attached and the proportionate cost of the examination shall also be recovered from it.

The “Public Examinations” will include exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Boards, Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, Ministries or Departments of the Central Government, National Testing Agency and such other authorities as may be notified by the Centre.

Many States including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand have introduced similar laws to prevent cheating.

Modus operandi

The investigators have unearthed that the accused take photos of the question papers using button cameras connected with some outsiders, who dictate the answers to the candidates through the tiny microphones. They use Bluetooth and other electronic devices to commit malpractices during the exam. Some others tamper with the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets. Besides the candidates send sent impersonators to write the exam on their behalf.


Of late several job scams have surfaced across the country. The 'Vyapam' scam which came  to light in 2013, exposed the collusion of officials, and politicians in the rigging of entrance examinations for the Madhya Pradesh government and professional courses. Over 2,000 accused arrested and 7 accused were awarded 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment.

 This year 122 people were arrested for indulging in fraudulent activities in the examination organised by Uttar Pradesh Police Recruitment and Promotion Board to recruit police constables. Over 48 lakh candidates appeared. The recruitment was subsequently scrapped.

In Maharashtra, over 40 persons arrested on charges of malpractices in a drive to fill in 8,070 posts (7,076 constables, 994 drivers) implemented by Mumbai Police in 2023. In all 78,522 candidates appeared for the written exams at 213 centres. Some candidates exchanged the Radio-Frequency Identification RFID tags with better runners who were used as dummies to cheat in the examination. The malpractices were also noticed in the recruitment drive through the “Maha Pariksha” portal of the Maharashtra Government, to fill in 30,000 vacancies across 25 departments between 2017 and 2019.

In Bihar over 6 candidates were caught for using “scholar’s (outside experts) services to clear written test held to fill in 9,900 posts of police constables on October 15, 2017 and October 22, 2017. Nearly 11 lakh candidates appeared for the test.

In Bangalore, nearly 52 candidates (out of 545) for the police sub-inspector post were permanently debarred for indulging in malpractices in the recruitment exam conducted by the Karnataka Government in October 2021. In another case, 20 persons were arrested for adopting unfair means in the recruitment of 'First Division Assistant' posts conducted by the Karnataka Examination Authority on October 28, 2023.

The cheating is prevalent in the country due to the intensely competitive nature of government jobs and top college admission tests, where millions struggle for space in a limited number of positions.


Iddhar Udhar