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List of major paper leaks in India in the last 10 years

While the new law against paper leaks will come into effect during this time, India has been plagued by paper leak cases for several years now.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 15:30 IST

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The Narendra Modi government has had a rocky start to its third term with the nation and political opponents clamouring over the NEET-UG paper leak case. The NET-UG and NET-PG examinations have also been postponed, giving the opposition ammo to double down on issues of youth employment - a talking point ahead of the Lok Sabha 2024 elections.

While the new law against paper leaks will come into effect during this time, India has been plagued by paper leak cases for several years now.

Here’s a look at some of the paper leaks that took place in the last ten years.

(Note: Due to some cases not being reported, this list is not comprehensive)

2023

Among the major paper leaks this year was the Hindi question paper of the Telangana Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination getting out. WhatsApp was the primary medium for spreading the question paper once it got out, in this case.

In Telangana again a paper leak was discovered during the Assistant Engineer recruitment exam, which eventually led to its cancellation on March 5 that year, and candidates who appeared for the test were left in a lurch about their futures.

Assam saw papers of two subjects leaked during the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) exams. When the papers for General Science and English got out, the Secondary Education Board of Assam (SEBA) was forced to cancel the tests. While the exams were held on alternate days, the results of the CBI probe ordered into the leak were never made public.

A Maharashtra private college was also implicated in leaking the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Mathematics paper, by sharing it over WhatsApp approximately an hour before the test started.
The Rajasthan Eligibility for Elementary Teachers (REET) exam paper also got leaked in 2023 with the police taking people in over the matter and launching a probe into the incident as well.

2022

In Uttar Pradesh, there was a leak during the Lekhpal recruitment exams, based on which the state would get its village accountant officers within the revenue administration. The police formed a special task force, arresting at least 21 across seven districts.

Rajasthan saw its Forest Guard Recruitment exam leaked on social media, and at least two were arrested over the matter.

The Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) was scrapped on May 8, 2022, after allegations of a paper leak. The Economic Offences Unit (EoU) made 226 arrests in the case, including capturing the mastermind.

The same year, papers were allegedly leaked in the Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UKSSSC) exam, the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission’s (APPSC) Assistant Engineer test, and the D.El.Ed (Diploma in Elementary Education) test in West Bengal.
The Odisha Staff Selection Commission (OSSC) also scrapped the Junior Engineer (JE) Civil Main Written Examination after police confirmed the paper had been leaked.

2021

Among the major leaks this year was the Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (UPTET) paper, which is mandatory for those wishing to teach primary and upper primary classes in schools affiliated with the state board.

The Maharashtra government also had to cancel the recruitment test for 14 engineering and other posts of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority after a leak.

The NEET exam this year was also conducted amid the controversy of a leak after the question paper was found on social media about half an hour before the test started.
The Gujarat Subordinate Services Selection Board (GSSSB) written test paper was also allegedly leaked and was reportedly sold for almost Rs 15 lakh.

2020

In Karnataka, during the PU exams, the first three pages of the Physics question paper were seen online within hours of the exam commencement. Bangalore University also had to postpone the final year B.Com exam after authorities detected the paper had been leaked.

The National Law School of India University (NSLIU) took cognisance that some students had circulated questions to the National Law Aptitude Test (2020) but insisted that the integrity of the test had not been compromised.

The UP board class 12 English paper was also leaked this year, going viral online five hours before the exam.

2019

The paper of the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) computer-based test (CBT) was allegedly leaked and screenshots were shared on social media, after which police took action, booking one candidate and his associates.

In Odisha, police arrested five school teachers after the Mother India Language (MIL) paper of the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) exam went viral on social media ahead of the test. The same year, Bihar saw the class 10 Maths paper of the state board exam leaked.

2018

CBSE class 10 and 12 students had to take the Mathematics and Economics exams again respectively after reports of the papers getting leaked.

The Delhi Police crime branch made five arrests in the case, including two teachers and three individuals from Himachal.

Three people, including a teacher, were arrested for leaking the History and Political Science (Part I) paper of the SSC board examination.
The Delhi police was again called into action after the paper for IGNOU’s BCS-031 test was leaked via WhatsApp.

The Gujarat Police Constable Recruitment test paper was also leaked, promoting a coordinated crackdown by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), the Gujarat Crime Branch, and CID (Crime). Two BJP members and a police inspector were among those arrested, and papers were reportedly sold for Rs 5 lakh each.

2017

2017 saw board examination papers being leaked in various states of India. Himachal Pradesh reported that some questions papers were stolen from Government Senior Secondary School, Kinnaur which served as a centre for exams. Thus, in the fear of paper being leaked the board cancelled exams of two subjects in all 1,846 centers.

Maharashtra's Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam paper was leaked in March. The board caught five students using their mobile phones which contained pictures of Book Keeping and Accountancy question papers. The students were booked under the relevant sections of Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices at University, Board and Other Specified Exams Act as well as the IT Act.

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examination papers were also leaked which propelled many job seekers to come out and protest against the malpractice. Thus, the SSC recommended a CBI probe into the allegations.

In light of the events, the Supreme Court also favoured cancelling the 2017 SSC examination.

2016

In 2016, the Review Officer (RO)/ Assistant Review Officer (ARO) exam which is conducted by Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) was cancelled as its paper was leaked at a centre in Lucknow.

The complaint regarding the leak was filed by a former IPS officer. The CBI investigated the matter which ultimately led to the examination being cancelled. The exam was re-conducted in 2020.

Moreover, UPPSC's Provincial Civil Service exam or PCS was also cancelled in 2016. The question paper of the second shift was distributed in the first shift at one centre which led to the paper being cancelled.

This malpractice was also conducted in NEET examination in 2016 in Uttar Pradesh. During Phase 1 of the medical examination, the UP Police arrested 8 people from Varanasi for providing question papers.

2015

Prior to NEET's inception, different exams were conducted all across India for entrance into medical courses. One such exam which was organised by CBSE was called All India-Pre Medical Test or AIPMT which caused a huge controversy in 2015.

Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of AIPMT exam as its paper was leaked in 10 states across India. During the investigation it was found that the question paper and answer key had already been circulated.

Around 90 answer keys were exchanged for Rs 15-20 lakh. At the time, Rohtak police arrested seven people including two doctors and an MBBS student.

CBSE had then opposed for a re-exam stating that  6.3 lakh students cannot be made to take the exam afresh when only 44 students have been found involved in taking benefits through unfair means. 

However, the apex court responded saying, "that even a single entry through "illegal" means would "vitiate" the "sanctity" of the test."

The re-exam was conducted successfully.

2014

In 2014, another common medical exam known as Combined Pre-Medical Test or CPMT was cancelled after it was found that the box of question papers were tampered with.

The exam was conducted by King George's Medical University.

At that many including the police believed this tampering was done by 'someone inside'. Though there was no evidence of a paper leak, what was peculiar about the entire situation was the fact that two sets of question papers, which were kept at two different locations, were tampered with.

This tampering of papers raised suspicions which ultimately led to the exam being cancelled as the authorities could not rule out the possibility of leakage.

The exam was rescheduled in July 2014.

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Published 24 June 2024, 15:30 IST

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