Mumbai: The Maharashtra government said today that it will consider bringing in a law to check copying by students during exams and will also take strict action against those who leak the question papers.

School education minister Vinod Tawde made an announcement to this effect in the Legislative Council while replying to a debate, initiated by Vikram Kale (NCP), on the spate of incidents of copying in the recently held exams of Classes 10 and 12 in the state.

The minister also warned of stringent action against the officials who change the designated examination centres at the last minute.

The Maharashtra State Board every year conducts the exams of Classes 10 and 12, also referred to as the Senior Secondary Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, respectively.

This year, there have been several complaints of students copying during the exams and the leakage of question papers.

Replying to the debate on the issue in the Upper House, Tawde said, “Strict action will be taken against the teaching and non-teaching staff found guilty of indulging in leaking question papers.”

He urged the MLCs, specially those representing the teachers’ constituencies, to support him in taking action against the erring teachers, even if the latter were the voters of the House members.

The minister said the government will tell the Board to print an additional set of 25,000 question papers only for the centres where the question papers have been leaked.

The government cannot change the leaked question paper sets all over the state, he said.

Tawde also said that the government will probe claims made by Kale about two candidates being made to sit side by side at an SSC exam centre in Nagpur district.

“The government will consider bringing in a separate legislation to deal with the scourge of copying during the SSC and HSC exams,” he said.

The minister said that copying during examinations was on the rise due to competition for marks, and the middlemen were taking undue advantage of the situation.

“The government will take strict action against copying during the SSC and HSC exams,” he asserted.

The legislators often make pleas for setting up examination centres close to villages, other than the already designated and approved ones, he noted.

Strict action will be taken against the Board officials who change the already designated examination centres at the last minute, he said.