The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has decided to crack the whip on eight students who were caught with mobile phones during the state board examination recently. For the first time this year, eight FIRs have been registered against candidates using unfair means. Eight candidates were caught with nine mobile phones during mathematics exam on March 12 from two examination centres in Mahuva in Bhavnagar district. The board said it wanted to send a “strong message” to candidates to deter them to resort to such means.
“After the paper leak incident in Ahmedabad last year, we decided that this year we will not spare anyone and take strict legal action against all those found using mobile phones. Out of these eight, four are repeaters and above 18 years of age. Since the remaining four are minors, action will be taken against them under Juvenile Justice Act. Apart from the legal action, all eight have also been barred from examinations for two years,” said GSHSEB chairman A J Shah.
The Mahuva police have registered a case under Section 72 (breach of confidentiality and privacy) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, that leads to an imprisonment for a term, which may extend to two years or with fine, which may extend to one lakh rupee, or with both and Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
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To take similar action against violators, the GSHSEB, in its correspondence to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot police commissioners and district police superintendents on March 13, stated, “As per the video conference meeting held on February 25, headed by additional chief secretary (home) and additional chief secretary (education), pertaining to the action plan for the board examinations, the paragraph number 5 has clearly stated that every education centre’s accountability will lie on the centre’s management, every student’s exam fee receipt to be checked at the main entrance of the examination centre and no other literature other than this will be allowed beyond this point. The student or any other official on examination duty are not allowed to carry a mobile phone during examination and even the district collectors have issued public notices on the mobile ban during examinations.”
With a network of thousands of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) and tablets, the GSHSEB exams boast of nearly 99 per cent electronic surveillance to ensure “copy-free” Class X and XII exams. Yet, over 2,000 copy cases have been detected from the CCTV footage this year so far. In addition to this, another 400 cases have been detected manually by the examination squads during examinations this year.
Last year, after Class XII Biology paper leak during the Semester 4 exams, the GSHSEB had sought powers from the state government to allow it to take punitive legal action against those found guilty of breach of secrecy by reforming the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) Act, 1972, and adding a clause of non-bailable offence for the above.