Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. - Karl Kraus
Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon. It has come to a level where it is visible in every walk of life and has become a part and parcel of our daily life. Corruption is now deep rooted in our society and to prevent the evil of corruption in India, lawmakers of India enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act. 1988. The Prevention of Corruption Act India was enacted after the recommendations of Santhanam committee.
The committee was formed by the central government in the year 1960. The Chairman of this committee was K. Santhanam. The report given by this Santhanam Committee in 1962 clearly stated that “Corruption in India or any other country cannot be eliminated or reduced unless proper preventive measures are been taken and implemented in a proper manner. These preventive measures must be inclusive of administrative, educational, social, legal and economical means.
Only after the recommendations of this Committee, Central Vigilance Commission was formed by Central Government in 1964 to look into the matters of Corruption against Government.
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Recommendations made by the Santhanam Committee
There were various recommendations which were made by the Santhanam Committee in order to prevent the situation of growing termite known as “CORRUPTION”.These are as follows:
That, a thorough study of every Department of Government or Ministry is needed which must be inclusive of social, legal, economic and educational preventive measures.
Citizens should be educated and made aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Citizens should have knowledge about the working of Government.
Basic amenities should be provided to employees such as increment in salary, housing, and medical facilities.
Companies and businessman should maintain a detailed and complete record of accounts of expenditure.
Only Candidates who satisfy the requirements for the concerned posts shall be appointed as the Administrative Officers.
Regular recreational activities should be conducted for the employees by the respective departments.
After retiring from the Government Office Services, no government servant can immediately join any private commercial employment within the period of two years.
Administrative delays should be reduced to avoid corruption practices.
Higher authorities of Government should keep a regular check on the working of officials and make sure that laws are properly enforced.
Nowadays, Media is playing the role of 4 organs of the Government. Media should play a positive role in encouraging honesty and discouraging corruption.
Licenses and permits granted should be reviewed on a regular basis along with the taxation laws.
The Prevention of Corruption Act
“If we cannot make India Corruption-free, then the vision of making the nation develop by 2020 would remain as a dream”.- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Corruption is that termite which is eating every pith of the society. As a whole, it hampers the growth of a nation.
The Prevention of Corruption Act came into force in September 1988. It includes the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act 1987, Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Criminal Law Act, 1952.
At the time before and after the Second World war, Corruption in India, amongst officers and public servants considerably increased. The provisions of Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code were unable to cope up with the rising situation of corruption. So, to tackle the situation of Corruption, The Prevention of Corruption Act was passed in 1947.
Under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1947, Special Judges are being appointed by the Central and State Government. Special Judge appointed should be a Sessions Judge or Additional Sessions Judge or the Assistant Sessions Judge under the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Offences against any Public Officer or Government servant are considered as Non- Cognizable offence. But under this Prevention Of Corruption Act, it is obligatory for the court to make the certain probability of guilt against the accused.
Accordingly, the investigation process takes place by the Deputy Superintendent of Police. The act of investigation shifts the burden of proof on the accused more than that of the side of Prosecution.
The Act has redefined the meaning of the term, ‘Public Servant’. As per definitions, the term ‘Public Servant’ means any person employed in government services or in pay of the government, or its departments, its companies or any undertaking or control of the government.
The Act applies to the whole of India except the parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Member of Parliament(MPs) or Member of Legislative Assembly(MLAs) are kept in exclusion of this act. When it comes to trial or hearing of ‘Public Servants’, proceedings are conducted by the Special Judge and appeal for them lies before the High Court and then before the Supreme Court. If the alleged offences against Public servants, MPs or MLAs are proved then, the punishment shall not be less than six months of imprisonment which may extend to five years as per the gravity of the offence.
Few most common offences that fall under this act are Misappropriation, abusing official position, misappropriate income, obtaining misappropriate pecuniary advantage and etc.
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Departments Set up by Central Government as Anti-Corruption Measures Or Measures setup for Prevention of Corruption in India
The Central Government has taken following steps to deal with the situation of Corruption and is
Working hard to overcome the scenario of Corrupt and dishonest officials. There are basically four departments set up by the Central Government in the interest of the public. These four departments are currently working as Anti-Corruption measures in the society:
1. Administrative Vigilance Division in the Department of Personnel and Training
This division was set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs in August 1955 to take adequate measures to deal with corruption. Under this scheme, one member from each department not less than the post/ designation of Deputy Secretary was required to be nominated for being eligible for the status of Chief Vigilance Officer of respective Departments. Main tasks are given or main works which were assigned to Chief Vigilance Officer were to deal with all the matters related to Vigilance. They formulate and implement the policies of Central Government in the field of Vigilance, integrity in public services and anti-corruption.
2. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
The department of Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI is constituted under the Resolution No.4/31/61-T, of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Dated- 1 April 1963. In this department, the investigation work is carried out by the S.P.E. wing of the CBI which derives its police powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The SP.E. gives CBI the powers to enquire and investigate in certain specified offences or class of offences relating to Corruption and other kinds of malpractices including the involvement of public servants. This department helps in putting the public servant behind the bars who involve in the act of Corruption or who misuse his designation or powers he has got.
3. Domestic Vigilance Units Working in Ministries, Public Undertakings. Departments and Nationalised Banks
4. Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
CVC was set up after the recommendation of the Santhanam Committee in 1964. It is a non- statutory body, its jurisdiction and functions can be amended by the Central Government. It generally deals with the cases where, Gazetted officers of Central Government, Union Territories, PSUs and Nationalised banks are held in the matters of Corruption.
This commission works as the autonomous and advisory body. It comprises a Chief Vigilance Commissioner, assisted by a Secretary, five branch officers and eleven Commissioners for Departmental Inquiries.
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Investigation under the Prevention of Corruption Act
Investigation in the cases of Prevention of Corruption shall be done by a police officer, not below the rank of:
In case of Delhi, of an Inspector of Police.
In metropolitan areas, of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Elsewhere, of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or an officer of equivalent rank shall investigate any offence punishable under this Act without the order of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a magistrate of the first class, or make any arrest therefore without a warrant.
If a police officer below the rank of an Inspector of Police is authorized by the State Government in this behalf by general or special order, he may investigate such offence without the order of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of First Class, may make any arrest therefore without any warrant.
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Ofences and Penalties under Prevention of Corruption Act
The following are the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, India (PCA) along with their punishments:-
Taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act, and if the public servant is found guilty he shall be punishable with imprisonment which shall not be less than 6 months but which may extend to 5 years and shall also be liable to fine.
Taking gratification in order to influence a public servant, by corrupt or illegal means, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
Taking gratification, for an exercise of personal influence with public servant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
Abetment by the public servant of offences defined in Section 8 or 9, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine
Public servant obtaining valuable thing without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
Punishment for abetment of offences defined in Section 7 or 11 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
Any public servant, who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.
Habitual committing of the offence under Section 8, 9 and 12 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than two years but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.
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