Amid the ongoing protests over multiple paper leaks, the BJP government in Uttarakhand has introduced an anti-copying law – touted as the strictest in India – by promulgating an ordinance.
Signed by Governor Lt Gen (retired) Gurmit Singh on Friday, the Uttarakhand Competitive Examination (Measures for Prevention and Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Ordinance 2023 provides for a fine of up to ₹10 crores.
Under this anti-copying law, a person found guilty of their involvement in copycatting in recruitment exams can be sentenced to life imprisonment or 10 years in jail. Additionally, it also provides for the attachment of the property of the copying mafia.
Governor Singh signed the ordinance – which would need to be ratified in the next Assembly session – within 24 hours of receiving the proposal, said chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
The executive order comes amid massive protests in many cities of Uttarakhand against exam paper leaks of several job exams, including that of the Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UKSSSC) and Uttarakhand Public Service Commission (UKPSC).
“Heartfelt gratitude to Hon’ble Governor Lt Gen Gurmit Singh for the quick approval of the country’s strictest “anti-copying law” sent by our government!” chief minister Dhami wrote on social media.
He further said, “Now “anti-copying law” will be applicable in every competitive examination to be held in the state. Keeping in mind the interests of the youth, we are fully committed to rooting out the copycat mafia.”
Earlier on Friday, CM Dhami assured protesting students of justice. “After the recruitment scam news came to our attention, the government has decided to conduct the exams again. No examination fees will be charged,” he told media persons in Dehradun.
“On the day of the exam, aspirants will get a free ride in state buses. We stand with the aspirants. They should now focus on their exams,” he added.
Barely hours before CM’s announcement, policemen resorted to lathi charge on protesting aspirants following violent clashes at Gandhi Park in the capital Dehradun. Angry protestors pelted stones at cops.
The protests took a political colour as Opposition Congress threw its weight behind protesters, demanding justice for them.
“Congress would sit quietly if you (the government) lathi charge students, send them to jail and file criminal charges against them. If you play with the future of these students, we will fight back,” said former CM and Congress leader Harish Rawat.
In response, CM Dhami accused the grand old party of inciting the protests for political benefits. “Using unemployed youth for their politics is not right. Some people in Congress were also present during the stone-pelting. There will be an investigation in this matter.”