Explained: Why did the government of West Bengal suspend the internet on class 10 exam days?

In order to stop the use of unfair means, the government of West Bengal has decided to temporarily suspend internet services for a few hours in some areas on the days of the Class 10 (Madhyamik) State Board Examination which begins today.

However, there are still no limits to call and SMS services. The suspension will take place on March 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 16 between 11 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. An estimated 6,21,931 girls and 4,96,890 boys will take Class 10 exams this year.

What did the state government order say?

The order issued in this regard stated: “Whereas intelligence reports have been received that Internet transmissions and Voice over Internet telephony may be used for illegal activities in certain areas in the coming days; and whereas examination of the information received suggests that such illegal activities are likely to occur in the absence of preventive measures; and considering that the Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of expression of Indian citizens but at the same time permits reasonable restrictions thereon; and considering that no restrictions are placed on voice calls and SMS and logs, therefore communication and dissemination of knowledge and information is in no way stopped.

He added: “Now, therefore, in order to prevent obstruction, inconvenience or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or disturbance to the public peace, or riot or brawl, by an order under Section 144 CrPC, and pursuant to subrule 2(1) of the Temporary Suspension of Telecommunications Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017 and sub – Rule 2(A) of the Telecommunications Services Temporary Suspension (Amendment) Rules, 2020, it is hereby enacted that: 1. Any data-related message or class of messages to or from any person or class of persons concerning a particular subject, brought for transmission by or transmitted or received by any telegraph within the scope of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 will temporarily not be transmitted in the interests of the maintenance of public order and the prevention of incitement to commit any offense within the jurisdiction of the police blocks/stations listed in the annex and duly authenticated by me. »

Why did the government make such a decision?

The administration’s decision came after question papers were leaked through some exam centers’ social media platforms within an hour of the start of exams in 2019 and 2020. Last year, exams of the Council of State have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students received grades based on an internal assessment by their teachers.

In 2020, purported images of the Bengali quiz were made available on WhatsApp shortly after the exam started. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), which is conducting the review, however claimed that no leaks had been reported.

Similarly, in 2019 images of the Bengali, English, Mathematics and Life Sciences quizzes were released on WhatsApp. However, WBBSE authorities had said the leaked questionnaires were not the ones used for the exams.

The questionnaires were leaked mainly from Malda and Murshidabad district examination centers. Following the allegations, the state’s Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee, had requested reports from WBBSE on the matter. The minister refused to call this a leak because he claimed the footage was made available half an hour after the review and not before it.

Has the internet ever been suspended for exams?

According to state education department officials, this is the first time that the internet has been officially suspended in West Bengal to stop cheating in examination centers. On other occasions, the Internet has been suspended, but without an official announcement.

On October 27, 2021, mobile internet services in Rajasthan were suspended from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the (preliminary) examination of the administrative services of Rajasthan. Internet services in several districts like Jaipur, Dhaulpur, Sawai Madhopur, Bhilwara, Ajmer, Karauli, Hanumangarh, Nagaur etc. hung for several hours. In Jaipur, the bulk texting service and social media were also banned for a few hours.

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