As prevention of corruption act 1988 failed to tackle corruption, Government recently amended its provisions to end the menace of corruption at the same time protecting honest officials.
- Ranks 81/180 in Corruption Perception Index 2017 ( Transparency International)
- Stands among worst offenders.
- Sanction for prosecution.
- Criminal misconduct redefined.
- Section 13 (1)(d) deleted .
- Pre investigation approval.
- Bribe giving made a punishable offence.
- Limit for trial time.
- Penalties modified – Confiscation of property procedure introduced.
∆ SANCTION FOR PROSECUTION
- Section 17 A introduced.
- For both serving and retired officials.
- Time for sanction – 3 months.
- Extendable for 1 more month.
∆ REDEFINED CRIMINAL MISCONDUCT
- Earlier 5 – now reduced to 2 .They are
- Misappropriation of property entrusted to a public servant.
- Possession of disproportionate asset.
∆ SECTION 13(1) (D) DELETED
- “A public servant said to commit the offense of criminal misconduct, if he ,while holding office as a public servant obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest “
- Caused policy paralysis earlier affecting progress.
- No substitute provisions to try fraud officers.
∆ PRE INVESTIGATION APPROVAL
- Police officers can’t begin a probe without prior approval (except when caught red handed).
- No related provision in earlier act
∆ BRIBE GIVING MADE AN OFFENSE
- Punishable for 7years.
- In forced bribing, inform police within 7days – will be excluded from punishment.
- No similar provision in earlier act.
∆ TIME LIMIT FOR TRIAL.
- Up to 2 year.
- Reason must be obtained for every 6month extension.
- Maximum of 4 year.
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR
- Protect honest officers.
- Bureaucracy will be free from fear of punishment/ harassment, helping progress of India.
- Redefining criminal misconduct will enable public servants to work better.
- Bring PC Act in line with UN Convention against corruption – 2005, ratified by India in 2011.
- Provide for application of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.
- Speedy justice as there is time limit for trial.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE ACT
- Fraud officers may get undue protection.
- According to TSR Subramanian, act already has enough protection for honest officers.
- No mention about trial taking more than 4 year.
- Criminal misconduct of public servant requires more rigorous proof.
- Anti – Corruption agencies become toothless.
- Time given to force bribing is too short (7 days) – innocent people may get punished.
- Executive can influence the competent authority from whom sanction is expected.
- Clean up investigating agencies.
- Speedy legal procedure.
- Change mind set of society.
- Technological advancement – digitalization increase transparency.