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Prevention of Corruption Act

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Topics Covered:

  1. Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  2. Role of civil services in a democracy.

 

Prevention of Corruption Act

 

What to study?

  • Static Part: Proposed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • Dynamic and Current: Need for Amendments, concerns associated and what needs to be done?

 

Context: The Supreme Court has ordered the government to respond to a petition challenging two amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

 

Background:

The amendments were:

  • The introduction of S. 17 A (1) by which prior permission for investigation of corruption offences was required from the government.
  • The removal of S. 13 (1) (d) (ii) (criminal misconduct) from the Act. It had earlier made it an offence for a public servant to abuse his position to give pecuniary or other advantage to a third party.

 

Highlights of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018:

Punishment for bribe-taking enhanced: Minimum punishment of 3 yrs, extendable up to 7 yrs with fine; from the earlier 6 months, with extension up to 3 yrs.

‘Undue Advantage’ expanded: The earlier limited definition of “undue advantage” expanded to now include “anything other than legal remuneration”.

Gifts criminalised: Gifts received for established undue advantage/mala-fide motive are now considered an act of corruption.

Collusive bribe-givers criminalised: For the first time, the giving of bribe has now been made a direct offence on par with taking of bribe. At the same time, protection has been built-in against coercive bribery, as long as the victim comes forward within 7 days.

Corporate bribery criminalised: Superiors to be held if employee/agent has bribed with their approval, for advancement of the organisation’s interests.

Immediate forfeiture: Law enforcement empowered for immediate attachment & forfeiture of illegal property of a public servant, invoking provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Timely trial mandated: To conclude the investigation and trial within 2 yrs, extendable up to 4 yrs.

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: The amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act does a nice balancing act between avoiding policy paralysis and creating deterrence against corruption in public offices. Critically examine.