Prevention of Corruption Act

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Context: Sanction for the prosecution for 80 officials charged under Prevention of Corruption Act is pending. 

Concerned Ministry: Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension.

Introduction:

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to combat corruption in government agencies and public sector businesses in India.

Features:

  • It consolidated the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, some sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Criminal Law Act, 1952.
  • The 1988 Act enlarged the scope of the term ‘public servant’ and in­cluded a large number of employees within its ambit.
  • However, MPs and MLAs, even though performing ‘public duties’, have been kept out of the ambit of the Act.
  • Appointment of Special Judges: The Central and the State Government is empowered to appoint Special Judges by placing a notification in the Official Gazette. The qualification for the Special Judge is that she should be or should have been a Session Judge or an Additional Session Judge or Assistant Session Judge under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • Cases to be tried by the Special Judges: The offences punishable under this act can be tried by special Judges only. When trying any case, the special Judge is empowered to try any offence other than an offence punishable under this act, with which the accused may be charged at the same trial.
  • Penalties:
    (i) Taking gratification in order to influence public servant, by corrupt or illegal means, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.
    (ii) Taking gratification, for the exercise of personal influence with public servant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
    (iii) Public servant obtaining valuable thing without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
    (iv) Any public servant, who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.
    (v) Habitual committing of an offence under Section 8, 9 and 12 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than two years but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Investigation: shall be done by a police officer, not below the rank of: 
    –In case of Delhi, of an Inspector of Police.
    –In metropolitan areas, of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
    –Elsewhere, of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or an officer of equivalent rank shall investigate any offence punishable under this Act without the order of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a magistrate of first-class, or make any arrest therefore, without a warrant.
    If a police officer not below the rank of an Inspector of Police is authorized by the State Government in this behalf by general or special order, he may investigate such offence without the order of a Metropolitan Magistrate or Magistrate of First class or make arrest therefor without a warrant.

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2018

The Parliament on July 24, 2018, passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2018 to enhance transparency and accountability of the government.  The amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was necessitated from the obligation of India to review the existing provisions of the Act so as to bring it in line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

 

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018 Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • Definition of “undue advantage”
    -Any gratification other than legal remuneration 
  • Definition of “undue advantage”
    – Any reward other than a salary.
  • Definition of Bribery – Offering or giving an undue advantage to another person, intending to induce or reward the public servant to perform his official duty

or
Offering an undue advantage to a public servant, knowing that such acceptance would qualify as performing his official duty improperly.

  • No specific provision covered under the provision of abetment.
    If a bribe giver makes a statement in the court that he gave a bribe, it would not be used to prosecute him for the offence of abetment.
  • If a commercial organization is found to give an undue advantage, then the organization will be held guilty.
  • No specific provision covered under the provision of abetment.
  • The investigation cannot be started without the prior approval of relevant authority or Government. 
    Prior approval not required if caught red-handed. 
  • Not provided in the Act



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