Plagiarism Law In India: Upholding Academic Integrity

Plagiarism Law In India: Upholding Academic Integrity

August 31, 2023 By Amee Parmar

Plagiarism Law In India - Something that is considered to be silly or taken lightly can turn out to be a serious crime to the extent that one has to face legal consequences under Indian law. That something about which we are creating so much suspense is called Plagiarism.

Plagiarism is no joke. It is a disheartening act of presenting someone’s work as one’s own, without giving proper credit to the original author. It is often considered to be a minor mistake but plagiarism; whether committed intentionally or not, the consequences of it can be long-term and even irreversible.

Understanding Plagiarism: A Threat to Originality

Plagiarism is not an individual's headache but a global concern. It is today the biggest enemy of content creators because it is an act of stealing someone's work, neither with their consent nor acknowledging them, and publishing or releasing it as one's own. With digitalization on the rise, there is too much information available at our fingertips as a result of which; the epidemic of plagiarism is becoming a threat and there's no permanent fix to it but can be curbed in many ways.

Any form of work created by a person is its intellectual property and if someone is messing with it, it is no less than a threat to the originality. So, many countries including India have started considering plagiarism as a grave offense and even if plagiarism law in India does not come directly under the law, there is the Copyright Act under which one can fight for any form of plagiarism.

Types of Plagiarism in India

We all know plagiarism as an immoral act of “copy-paste” but, did you know there are various types of plagiarism that most students and researchers are unaware of and which is leading them to serious consequences in their career? Let’s take a look at each.

Direct Copy-Paste Plagiarism -

One of the most common and highly committed plagiarism is when the perpetrator uses the entire work of someone as it is without giving any credit to the original author.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism -

The act of copying someone's ideas, concepts, or sentences, and simply rephrasing them without changing their meaning or acknowledging the original writer.

Self-Plagiarism -

Also known as auto plagiarism, duplicate publication or even self-stealing, it is when someone reuses one's own previously published work without proper citation.

Patchwork Plagiarism -

Taking bits and pieces from others' work and combining them to form new content without proper attribution, that appears original is patchwork plagiarism.

Mosaic Plagiarism -

Similar to patchwork plagiarism, this type involves using various sources and mixing together words and phrases, again without proper citation.

Improper Citation -

Failing to correctly attribute sources or using incorrect citation formats can also constitute plagiarism.

Uncredited Paraphrasing -

Paraphrasing someone else's work without proper citation is still considered plagiarism if the original source is not acknowledged.

Verbatim Quotation without Quotation Marks -

Using someone else's words without enclosing them in quotation marks or providing a citation.

Source Fabrication -

Inventing or falsifying sources and citations in a work.

Ghostwriting -

Hiring someone else to write a paper or part of a paper and submitting it as one's own work.

Unauthorized Collaboration -

Submitting work that was created in collaboration with others without acknowledging their contributions.

Misrepresentation -

Misrepresenting research findings, data, or sources to support a particular argument.

Accidental -

Coincidentally similar content that leads to plagiarism by mistake is accidental plagiarism.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is an intellectual theft. It is a common practice by students and researchers to commit plagiarism without their knowledge, because plagiarism has many forms as explained above, and any ideas, concepts, or words derived from the works of another, regardless of whether they are paraphrased or summarized, without citation, constitute plagiarism and may result in a range of consequences based on its severity.

Several guidelines and measures have been established by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the regulatory body for higher education in India, to combat plagiarism and uphold academic integrity in higher education called "Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions". The purpose of it is to ensure that students, faculty members, and researchers adhere to high standards of originality and proper attribution of sources in academic papers, research, and publications.

Using the level of similarity quantified, penalties are assessed according to the level of plagiarism identified. The regulations classify different levels of similarity as follows:

- Level 0: Up to 10% similarity (no penalty)
- Level 1: Similarities above 10% to 40% (resubmission of work)
- Level 2: Similarities above 40% to 60%
- Level 3: Similarities above 60%

The consequences for students, researchers, and faculty members found guilty of plagiarism vary based on the level of similarity. Penalties include resubmitting revised scripts, debarring from programs, recalling an awarded degree, blacklisting, loss of increment, and withdrawal of manuscripts.

Legal Framework in India: Copyright Act and Information Technology Act

India's legal system recognizes the importance of protecting intellectual property and creativity. The ‘Copyright Act of 1957’ stands as a pillar of defense against plagiarism. It safeguards literary, artistic, and musical works, granting creators exclusive rights over their creations. This Act ensures that authors receive proper credit and compensation for their efforts or the right to sue the copyright violator with 6 months to 3 years of punishment.

Moreover, the ‘Information Technology Act of 2000’ addresses digital plagiarism and cybercrimes. In an age where the internet has made information accessible to all, this Act plays a crucial role in safeguarding digital content and discouraging plagiarism in the digital realm.

Notable Plagiarism Cases in India

The Chetan Bhagat Case

Known to be one of the prominent plagiarism cases in India, the bestselling author Chetan Bhagat was accused by a Delhi University student of duplicating her blog and using it in one of his novels in 2017. The case hit headlines drew attention to the intricacies of plagiarism in the literary world and highlighted the need for strong legal measures.

The P.N. Network Case

In another instance, the founder of P.N. Network, a media company, was accused of plagiarizing content from various sources without proper attribution. The case underscored the importance of maintaining integrity even in the media and journalism sectors.

Preventive Measures: Fostering Originality

Plagiarism is not a criminal offense but is indeed a matter of moral issue and hence some preventive measures must be taken to avoid any infringement on the intellectual property rights of anyone. Therefore, to fight plagiarism, individuals and educational institutions can take proactive steps such as -

Citation and Attribution -

Properly citing sources and giving credit to original creators is fundamental to maintaining academic integrity.

Plagiarism Checkers -

Utilizing plagiarism detection tools to help identify instances of potential plagiarism and ensure content authenticity.

Awareness and Education -

Conducting workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns to educate individuals about the consequences of plagiarism and promote a culture of originality.

Promoting Originality for a Thriving Intellectual Environment

Upholding academic integrity is not solely a matter of legal compliance; it's a commitment to nurturing a culture of innovation and respect for knowledge. By respecting others' work and ideas, we contribute to a more robust intellectual environment that encourages growth, learning, and progress.


Plagiarism law in India serves as a safeguard for both creators and consumers of knowledge. By understanding the legal framework, acknowledging notable cases, and implementing preventive measures, we can collectively work towards upholding academic integrity. Let's embrace the value of originality and ensure that our pursuit of knowledge is marked by respect, authenticity, and innovation.

If you want to know more in detail about the law for plagiarism in India or want expert advice regarding IP law, waste no time and seek the legal services of Parker and Parker Co. LLP now. We assure you of expert guidance and the right assistance.

We Connect To Collaborate

We believe in participating in national and international events that helps us enhance our knowledge base and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. At Parker & Parker Co. LLP, we have expanded our network in each field of intellectual property law to give our clients the best that they deserve.

Connect Now