Policy

Centre to tighten anti-corruption norms

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

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Amendments to Bill elaborate on ‘undue advantage’ received by public servants

The Centre is set to further tighten the Prevention of Corruption Act by making more changes to the pending amendment Bill of 2013.

It has decided to bring more clarity to the definition of corruption by public servants by elaborating on “undue advantages” received by them.

Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh has moved more than 30 amendments to the Bill, which is likely to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha in the ongoing Budget Session.

Though there were expectations that the government will remove the controversial clause (1) (d) (iii) in Section13 of the main Act, it has instead substituted it with another set of specific terms that will qualify for such an act. Section 13 defines criminal misconduct by a public servant.

Section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has been misused by investigating agencies and is open to misinterpretation leading to prosecution of honest public servant. Therefore, there was a demand for deleting it in public interest.

The proposed amendment defines “undue advantage” as “any gratification whatever, other than legal remuneration.” It explains that the word gratification is not limited to pecuniary gratifications or to gratifications that can be estimated monetarily.

It further explains that the expression ‘legal remuneration’ is not restricted to money paid to a public servant, but includes all remuneration which he is permitted to receive from the government or the organisation that he serves. According to a senior official, the amendments do away with the vagaries that existed in the parent Act. Now, the government proposes to make a clear distinction on what qualifies as corruption, another official said.

The definition clauses were strengthened by adding to list of crime acts of “accepting undue advantages”, “attempts to obtain undue advantages”, and “inducing another public servant to seek undue advantages”.

The amendments also add a new section that will address the supply side of corruption. According to the proposed amendments, the Centre shall prescribe guidelines for commercial establishments to prevent bribery.

They also add that if an offence is proved to have been committed with the connivance of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of a commercial organisation, such a person will be liable for a punishment of not less than three years, which can be extended up to seven years.

(with inputs from Richa Mishra)

Published on May 06, 2015

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