Corruption cases will be decided within two years time under the provisions of a new anti-corruption bill passed by Parliament, Minster of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh said.
He said there was a refrain in the society that corruption cases are lodged against public servants and they carry on for years together, sometimes even after the officer has retired or may have even passed away.
"Fixing a two-year timeline for deciding corruption cases, will not only expedite the decision-making process but would also avoid unnecessary harassment or ordeal that an affected officer or a public servant had to undergo in the past," Singh told PTI.
The Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday after a four-hour debate. The Rajya Sabha had approved it on July 19.
The bill also has a provision to punish bribe-givers, who are not covered in any of the domestic anti-corruption legislation.
It 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.
"No police officer shall conduct any enquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties, without the previous approval," it said.
The bill, however, states that such permission shall not be necessary for cases involving arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.
Mr Singh said the crusade against corruption will never end, but the duty of any responsible government is to ensure that suitable legislation is brought in from time to time, depending on the changing circumstances and situation.
He said the parliamentary history of independent India will certainly record that the first law against corruption was brought in 40 years after Independence in 1988, and exactly 30 years thereafter, the Modi government took the initiative to bring in an improvised legislation with a wide range of amendments to serve the twin purpose of making the anti-graft law wide-based and ensure sufficient safeguards for honest officers and public servants.
Instances of corruption and provisions to punish the guilty are provided in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The bill is wide-based and covers even the bribe-giving commercial organisations to be liable for punishment or prosecution, Singh said, adding, "However, the charitable institutions have been left out of this ambit."
Another very important relief to a public servant, under the new bill, is that in any corruption case against him, the factor of "undue advantage" will have to be established, Mr Singh said.
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