Published On: Wed, Apr 29th, 2015

Cabinet gives nod to change corruption law to protect bureaucrats

New Delhi: To ensure that bureaucrats take decisions without any fear, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday has approved official amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Union Cabinet has approved official amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act to help the bureaucracy take faster decisions.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved official amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act to help the bureaucracy take faster decisions.

According to amendments, all corruption trials will be completed within two years and provide for more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery, both for the bribe giver and the bribe taker. However, prior government sanction will now be needed to prosecute any retired official.

Further, prior sanction for inquiry and investigation shall be required from the Lokpal or Lokayukta, as the case may be, for investigation of offences relatable to recommendations made or decisions taken by a public servant in the discharge of official functions or duties, a Government statement said.

It is also proposed to extend the protection of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants who cease to hold office due to retirement, resignation etc.

Intentional enriching by public servants will be construed as criminal misconduct and possession of disproportionate assets as proof of such illicit enrichment. Non-monetary gratification has also now been covered within the definition of the word gratificication.

Meanwhile, the proposed amendments have been increased Penal provisions from minimum 6 months to at least 3 years in jail and the maximum sentence has been increased from 5 years in jail to seven years, bringing corruption into the heinous crime category.

It is also proposed to complete the trial in two years. It may be noted that the average trial period of cases under the Act in the last four years has been above eight years.

At the same time, The amendments will also expand the ambit of provision for containing inducement of public servant from individuals to commercial entities and the liability of commercial organisations for failure to prevent bribery is being added to the supply side of corruption. Also, for stopping gains/benefits from profits of corruption, the powers of attachment are proposed to be conferred upon the trial Court (Special Judge) instead of the District Court.

The law will also provide for issue of guidelines for commercial organizations to prevent persons associated with them from bribing a public servant.

TST

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