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 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.

CURRENT STATUS

  • Ranks 81/180 in Corruption Perception Index 2017 ( Transparency International)
  • Stands among worst offenders.

PROVISIONS

  • 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
  1. Misappropriation of property entrusted to a public servant.
  2. 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.

WAY FORWARD

  • Clean up investigating agencies.
  • Speedy legal procedure.
  • Change mind set of society.
  • Technological advancement – digitalization increase transparency.