Are you Ready for Insta 75 Days Revision Plan (UPSC Prelims - 2020)?
- Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
- 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.
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.