Rajya Sabha has passed Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to amend various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988. The amendment to PCA, 1988 was necessitated to its review existing provisions to bring it in line with United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as agreed by India.
The amendments to PCA, 1988 were first brought by UPA government in 2013. The Bill was then referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee, Law Commission of India (LCI) and then in December 2015 to select committee. The report of select committee was submitted in 2016 and again it was moved in August 2017, but was not be taken up.
Key Features of Bill
Giving bribe made punishable offence: The Bill introduces offence of ‘giving a bribe’ as direct offence. Person who is compelled to give bribe who reports matter to law enforcement authorities within seven days will not be charged with this offence.
Redefines Criminal misconduct: The bill redefines provisions related to criminal misconduct to only cover two types of offences viz. illicit enrichment (such as amassing of assets disproportionate to one’s known income sources) and fraudulent misappropriation of property.
Prior approval for investigation: It makes mandatory for taking prior approval of relevant Government or competent authority to conduct any investigation into offence alleged to have been committed by a public servan. Such approval will be not necessary in cases that involve arrest of person on spot on charge of taking a bribe.
Trial Time limit: The bill set trail time period within two if it is handled by special judge. In case of delays, reasons for it must be recorded for every extension of six months obtained. However, total period for completion of trial may not exceed four years.