Anti-graft amendment Bill, 2018

In a bid to curb corruption and to punish bribe-givers and bribe-takers, the Lok Sabha has recently passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The anti-graft amendment Bill provides for jail terms of three to seven years, besides fine, to those convicted of taking or giving bribes to public officials.

According to new provisions "prior permission" has to be obtained for starting an investigation against a public official, and the ambit of public servants who will be protected by the provision of a prior government sanction for prosecution has been extended.

The will also contains safeguards to ensure that honest officers are not intimidated by false complaints, and also seeks to protect those who report the matter within seven days.

Specific provisions has been made under the bill related to giving a bribe to a public servant, and giving a bribe by a commercial organisation. Provisions related to the penalties for offences related to taking a bribe, being a habitual offender and abetting an offence are also modified.

Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 also proposes a 'shield' for government staff, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies like the CBI to take prior approval from competent authority before conducting any enquiry against them.

The bill also makes a distinction between "collusive bribe givers" and those who are "coerced."

In order to expedite the decision-making process the new anti-graft bill also have provisions to decided corruption cases within two years time and makes a distinction between "collusive bribe givers" and those who are "coerced."

The charitable institutions have been left out of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 that includes Instances of corruption and provisions to punish the guilty.

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