The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 by a voice vote, that seeks to punish bribe givers for the first time with imprisonment of up to a maximum of seven years. In the House debate, Minister for Personnel and Public Grievances Dr. Jitendra Singh said, the legislation against the corruption has been made wide based. He said the Bill has been brought in the House after it was deliberated in the Standing Committee, Law Commission and finally after holding consultations in the Select Committee. The Bill introduces the offence of giving a bribe as a direct offence. However, a person who is compelled to give a bribe will not be charged with the offence if he reports the matter to law enforcement authorities within seven days. The Bill has many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints.
Highlights of the Bill
- The Act covers the offence of giving a bribe to a public servant under abetment. The Bill makes specific provisions related to giving a bribe to a public servant, and giving a bribe by a commercial organisation.
- The Bill redefines criminal misconduct to only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets.
- The Bill modifies the definitions and penalties for offences related to taking a bribe, being a habitual offender and abetting an offence.
- Powers and procedures for the attachment and forfeiture of property of public servants accused of corruption have been introduced in the Bill.
- The Act requires prior sanction to prosecute serving public officials. The Bill extends this protection to former officials, including those retired.
- The Bill has included commercial organisation into its ambit.
The Bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha.