ANTI CORRUPTION LAWS
Author : VARNIKA VERMA
Anyone who wants to tackle corruption must be willing to go all the way. There are no shortcuts.
Unlike the much of the developed world or UN Convention, the OECD guidelines, India does not have a comprehensive laws on corruption, what we do have is a law called POCA Act and we have certain provisions related to corrupt practices set out in various other ancillary laws including rules subordinate legislation like rules and regulations of Central Government, State Government and various other governmental departments.
ACTS AND PUNISHMENTS FOR CORRUPTION AVAILABLE IN INDIA:
PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT 1988:
The primary anti corruption legislation in India is Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, individuals & companies both are liable to be punished for an offence under the act.
Section 10 of the Act: Person taking gratification for illegal means or for exercise for personal influence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than 06 months but may extend to 05 years and with fine.
Section 12 of the Act: Government officials taking gratification other than legal remuneration or obtaining valuable thing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than 03 years but may extend to 07 years and with fine.
Section 15 of the Act: Whoever dishonestly or fraudulently converts property or obtain pecuniary advantage shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than 02 years but may extend to 05 years and with fine.
AMENDMENT TO THE POCA ACT 1988:
24th day of July 2018 brought some crucial changes to the POCA Act 1988.
One fundamental change is connected to the issue of an individual who provide bribe offers significant repercussions.
In the amended act, giving bribe is now an offence, punishable for a term of 07 years.
Now the Police officials need to require a prior approval of an authentic authority or government to commence investigation although the formality is not required if accused is caught red-handed.
INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC) 1860:
Section 169: If a public servant unlawfully buys or bids for property is punishable with simple imprisonment for 02 years or fine or both and confiscation of property, if purchased.
Section 409: If a public servant commits criminal breach of trust in respect of property shall be punished with imprisonment for life or either with description for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine.
THE PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING ACT 2002:
Section 04: A person committing the offense of money laundering shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 07 years and with fine.
If a person commits an offense under Narcotics Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) 1985, the term extends up to 10 years of imprisonment.
THE BENAMI TRANSACTION (PROHIBITION) ACT 2016:
On 1st of November 2016 the President’s assent was received and the 1988 act was amended. The amendment made the act more exhaustible and practicable.
The act says whoever caught red-handed for the offence of Benami Transaction shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 01 years but may extend to 07 years and with fine.
THE LOKPAL & LOKAYUKTAS (AMENDMENT) ACT 2016:
On 29th July 2016 the Lokpal & Lokayuktas Amendment Bill was passed in order to amend the 2013 act. Section 44 & 59 were majorly amended and are as follows:
Section 44: From the date of the Amended act, it shall be the duty of the government officials to declare his assets & liabilities in such form and manner as may be prescribed in the act.
Section 59(2)(k): The following clause shall be deemed to have been substituted namely (k) – the form and manner of declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants under section 44: provided that the rules may be made under this clause retrospectively from the date on which the provisions of the act came into force.
ANTI CORRUPTION AGENCIES IN INDIA
To enforce the acts mentioned above the agencies are strongly required so the following machinery were framed to combat corruption.
CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION (CVC):
The Santhanam Committee brought the concept of CVC which is responsible for the enforcement of law and supervises the corruption cases in government departments it can even refer these cases to Central Vigilance Office (CVO).
CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (CBI):
The CBI is the investigating police agency in India. It investigates cases related to corruption under the POCA Act 2018 and IPC 1860. CBI has its jurisdiction in the central government and union territories.
ANTI CORRUPTION BUREAU (ACB):
The bureaus specializes in tackling the issues relating to corruption in government departments against private and public officials under the POCA ACT 2018 and IPC 1860.
CONTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL (CAG):
Article 148 of the Constitution of India defines CAG.
The duty of this machinery is to see that the money voted by Parliament and by the State Legislatures is only being spent for the appropriate purposes as mentioned under the specified act.
Corruption in India is very deep rooted and people seem to have no shame engaging in corrupt practices.
Automation, Digitization, Cashless Transaction are the first baby step towards making India Corruption free but still corruption needs to be fought on multiple forms.
Despite countless government policies, public campaign and awareness programs should be primarily focused area and rewards must be given to the informers for giving information against corrupt officers.
There must be online feedback portal for citizens to give feedback about the government employees so that transparency must exist. Modus Operandi of corruption must be tracked.
We must understand corruption is not outside but inside us.
Its high time to destroy corruption before it destroys us.