April,29,2015: New amendments has provisions for classifying corruption as a heinous crime and longer prison terms for both the bribe giver and the bribe taker.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, that provide for classifying corruption as a heinous crime and longer prison terms for both the bribe giver and the bribe taker. The proposed amendment act will also ensure speedy trial, limited to two years, for corruption cases.
“The proposed amendments would fill in perceived gaps in the domestic anti-corruption law and also help in meeting the country's obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) more effectively,” an official privy to the details of the decision said.
The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, was introduced by the then UPA government in Rajya Sabha. The latest cabinet decision further amends the bill based on the reports of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee and the Law Commission of India on the earlier bill.
The measures approved by the Cabinet include Penal provisions being enhanced from minimum 6 months to 3 years and from maximum five years to seven years. “The seven year imprisonment brings corruption to the heinous crime category,” the official said. The ambit of the existing act will be enhanced to make commercial entities liable for inducement of public servants. Under the present law, only individuals are liable. The proposed amendment bill also provides for issue of guidelines to commercial organisations to prevent persons associated with them from bribing a public servant.
Non-monetary gratification will also be covered within the definition of the word gratification in the PCA 1988. The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 19, 2013, and subsequently referred to the Standing Committee. The committee submitted its report on the Bill to the Rajya Sabha on February 6, 2014 but the bill could not be passed. The views of the Law Commission of India were also sought on the proposed amendments. The new amendments proposed by the cabinet are based on the recommendations made the Law Commission of India in its 254th Report.Hindu