New Delhi, July 27: The passage of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, corrects two fundamental flaws in the earlier Act by providing for punishment to both bribe givers and takers and requiring the element of dishonest intention of the public official to be proved for an offence, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.
“The Bill seeks to punish both – the bribe giver and bribe taker. It provides protection if the briber assists the investigative agency. Even non-monetary gratification has been included within the ambit of the Bill. “Promoters of companies have been made more accountable. Since the company cannot be sent to jail, the individual in the management responsible for the corruption will be held liable,” he said. The Minister noted that the wide definition of corruption referred to as “criminal misconduct” in the original Act had a potential for including in its ambit also an “honest decision taken by honest individuals which subsequently turn out to be erroneous”. He said there were instances of loans given by an honest bank management in accordance with the rules which were subsequently questioned if the recipient of the loan defaulted “and the entire process of the banker-lender relationship was referred to an investigative agency”. The period of trial for corruption is now required to be completed within two years. “The Prevention of Corruption Act merely provided for sanction for serving civil servants and not retired civil servants. On the contrary, Indian Penal Code required a sanction for those who are or have been public servants. The two Acts have now been brought at par,” Jaitley wrote. (IANS)