By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2015 9:23 am
In an attempt to give the anti-corruption law more teeth, the Cabinet Wednesday cleared a proposal to move official amendments to the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, paving the way for enhancement of both the minimum and the maximum punishment under the proposed law.
Under the amendments, the penal provisions have been substantially enhanced — the minimum punishment being raised from six months to three years imprisonment and the maximum punishment enhanced from five years to seven years imprisonment.
With the maximum punishment raised to seven years in jail, corruption now has been brought under the heinous crime category.
The amendments also propose to extend the protective umbrella of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants who have ceased to hold office due to retirement or resignation. “Further, prior sanction for inquiry and investigation shall be required from the Lokpal or Lokayukta, as the case may be, for investigation of offences relatable to recommendations made or decision taken by a public servant in discharge of official functions or duties,” the government said.
Essentially aimed at laying down more stringent measures to tackle corruption, the proposed amendments provide for more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery, both for the bribe-giver and the bribe-taker.
With the average trial period of cases under the PC Act in the last four years having been above eight years, the new amendments have proposed to ensure speedy trial by providing a trial completion within two years.
The new amendments further state that “intentional enriching by public servants will be construed as criminal misconduct and possession of disproportionate assets as proof of such illicit enrichment”.