India Changes Prevention of Corruption Act to Check Corruption

Indian Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh Releases Vigilance Manual 2017
Indian Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh Releases Vigilance Manual 2017

As corruption has been increasing rapidly in India, the government notified today that it has made the existing Prevention of Corruption Act more stringent.

The provision of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as it presently exists is as follows:

“13. Criminal misconduct by a public servant.

(1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct, ……. if he/she,—- ……..

(iii) while holding office as a public servant, obtains from any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest;…….”

This provision does not carry the element of mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that is part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused) and thus does not confine such type of corruption to bribing of a public servant or any dishonest behavior by them.

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This raises apprehensions and fears in the mind of public servant which prima facie have the potential of impeding and slowing down decision making.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, for amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 19.08.2013.

The Bill after having been considered by the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, in its 69th Report and the Law Commission of India in its 254th Report, was also examined by the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, which submitted its report on the Bill to the Rajya Sabha on 12th August, 2016.

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Recommendations made by the Select Committee in its report on the Bill were considered by the Government and official amendments were moved on the Bill as reported by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill was taken up for discussion and passed by the Rajya Sabha on 19th July, 2018 during its current 246th Session. Further, it was taken up for discussion and passed by the Lok Sabha on 24th July, 2018 during its current 15th Session of the 16th Lok Sabha.

This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Photo courtesy: CVC

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Rakesh Raman