Undermines investment and economic growth
Decreases the resources available for human development
Deepens the extent of poverty
Subverts the judicial system, and undermines the
legitimacy of the state
It can devastate the entire economic, political, and social
fabric of a country
Urgent need to create a zero tolerance for corruption
An Anti-Corruption Bill passed by Parliament provides for
punishment to both bribe-givers and takers, and extends
some relief to public officials.
The Prevention of Corruption ( Amendment ) Bill, 2018
was passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday after the Rajya Sabha
approved it on July 19.
Instances of corruption and provisions to punish the guilty
are provided in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
1. Punishment for bribe-taking enhanced: Minimum
punishment of 3 yrs, extendable up to 7 yrs with fine;
from the earlier 6 months, with extension up to 3 yrs.
2. 'Undue Advantage' expanded: The earlier limited definition
of "undue advantage" expanded to now include "anything
other than legal remuneration".
3. Gifts criminalised: Gifts received for established undue
advantage/mala-fide motive are now considered an act of
4. Collusive bribe-givers criminalised: For the first time, the giving of
bribe has now been made a direct offence on par with taking of bribe.
At the same time, protection has been built-in against coercive bribery,
as long as the victim comes forward within 7 days.
5. Corporate bribery criminalised: Superiors to be held if employee/agent
has bribed with their approval, for advancement of the organisation's
6. Immediate forfeiture: Law enforcement empowered for immediate
attachment & forfeiture of illegal property of a public servant, invoking
provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
7. Timely trial mandated: To conclude the investigation and trial within 2
yrs, extendable up to 4 yrs
The Bill makes bribing a punishable offence.
It redefines provisions related to criminal
It makes mandatory for taking prior approval of
relevant Government or competent authority to
conduct any investigation into offence.
It modifies definitions and penalties for offences
related to taking bribe, being habitual offender and
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
This led to the introduction of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)
Bill, 2013 in the Rajya Sabha in August 2013. However, it could not be
passed as the Bill contemplates an important paradigm shift in defining
offences relating to bribery.
Later, the views of the Law Commission of India were sought on the
proposed amendments. The Bill incorporates the recommendations given by
the 20th Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) AP Shah in its 254th
Preventionof CorruptionAct, 1988 (theACT)
Definition use of public office for private gain
Legislative framework Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
to fight corruption
Allied Acts applied Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Criminal
Law (Amendment) Act, 1952
in the PCA, 1988
OFEENCESUNDERPREVENTIONOF CORRUPTIONACT, 1988
SECTION DESCRIPTION OF OFFENCE
7 Public servant taking gratification other than legan remuneration in respect of
an official act.
8 Taking gratification in oreder, by corrupt or illegal means to influence public
9 Taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant.
10 Abetment by public servant of offences defined in section8 pr section 9 of the
Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
The ACT – Salient Features
The Act covers the offence of giving a bribe to a public servant under
abetment. The Billmakes specific provisions related to giving a bribe to a
public servant, and giving a bribe by a commercial organisation.
The Act redefines criminal misconduct to only cover misappropriation of
property andpossession of disproportionate assets.
The Act 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 servantsaccused of corruption have been introduced in the Act.
The Act requires prior sanction to prosecute serving public officials. The
Act extendsthis protection to former officials.
LOOPHOLESIN POCACT , 1988
Act applicable only upon public servants;
Act does not cover corporate or private bribery;
Act not applicable upon foreign public officials;
Act does not have extra-territorial application;
Delay in prosecuting;
No provision regarrding confiscation of proceeeds from
• The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 amends the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
• 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.
Key Issuesand Analysis
• The Bill makes giving a bribe a specific offence. There are diverging views
on whether bribe giving under all circumstances must be penalised.
• The Bill has deleted the provision that protects a bribe giver from
prosecution, for any statement made by him during a corruption trial.
• The Bill has replaced the definition of criminal misconduct. It now
requires that the intention to acquire assets disproportionate to income
also be proved, in addition to possession of such assets.
• By redefining the offence of criminal misconduct, the Bill does not cover
circumstances where the public official: (i) uses illegal means, (ii) abuses
his position, or (iii) disregards public interest and obtains a valuable thing
or reward for himself or another person.
• Under the Act, the guilt of the person is presumed for the offences of
taking a bribe, being a habitual offender or abetting an offence. The Bill
amends this provision to only cover the offence of taking a bribe.
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Definition of undue advantage
No provision No provision.
Term used to define bribery related offences
include“financial or other advantage”.
Taking of a bribe
Sections 7- 9: A public servant is said to have taken
a bribe if he :
i) Accepts or attempts to obtain any reward, other
than a salary. This reward must be for doing or
intending to do any official act.
ii) Accepts a reward for official acts that favour or
disfavour any person.
iii) Accepts a reward from another person to
personal influence over a public servant
Replaces provision in the Act with the following:
A public servant is said to have taken a bribe if he:
i) Requests or accepts or attempts to obtain any
financial or other advantage for performing a public
function in an improper manner.
ii) Requests or accepts or attempts to obtain any
financial or other advantage and such request in
itself would constitute improper performance of
How has the definition of a corrupt public official changed?
• The older law had a broad definition of a corrupt public official,
defining it simply as any person who, “while holding office as a public
servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary
advantage without any public interest.”
• The amendments narrow this definition significantly, by adding the
test of intention, meaning prosecuting agencies will have to prove a
conspiracy to carry out corrupt acts, rather than simply pointing to
disproportionate assets or questionable actions. The updated Section 7
defines a corrupt public official as any public servant who tries to
obtain or accept from any person an “undue advantage with the
intention to perform or cause performance of public duty improperly
or dishonestly.” This also includes receiving an undue advantage as a
“reward” for improper or dishonest work.
Do the amendments differentiate between a bribe-giver and the
person taking the bribe?
• In the older law, bribe givers were not considered accused.
At the most, they could be prosecuted as having abetted
the corruption. The amendments, however, expressly
criminalise bribe giving as well as bribe taking. That said,
the amendments do carve out an exception for those who
are “compelled”, or forced, to give a bribe or an undue
advantage. This exception only applies if they report the
matter within seven days after being forced to give the
What does the Bill consider as an offence committed by a public
• The older law had an expansive view of what counted as
“criminal misconduct” by public officials. It included, “any
gratification... valuable thing or pecuniary advantage”
obtained by a public official, either for himself or herself or
for someone else, without public interest or by corrupt or
• This section was often criticised by bureaucrats and bankers,
since it meant that even decisions like giving out loans could
be considered a “pecuniary advantage” obtained for someone
“without public interest”.
Anti-corruption laws and institutions are only as good as the
people who uphold their founding principles.There is no
substitute for individual integrity and ethical value system to
fight against corruption and this integrity needs to be
inculcated among the country's citizens.
Therefore,anti corrruption strategies and amending
legislations would lay greater emphasis to overcome deterrent
effects of pecuniary benefits and to combat corruption at large.
The amendments may provide immunity, probity and rule of
laws to follow right path.
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