The government proposes to increase the maximum punishment in corruption cases from the existing five years to seven years. The minimum penalty will also go up from six months to three years, according to the proposed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Rajya Sabha.
A key amendment seeks to enlarge the ambit for inducement of public servant from individuals to commercial entities. This is aimed at tackling the supply side of corruption. Also, non-monetary gratification is to be covered under the definition of gratification. The amendments propose stringent punishment for both the bribe-giver and bribe-taker. Another key change seeks to make prior sanction compulsory for prosecuting public servants who have retired or resigned.
The powers to attach the gain of corruption are sought to be vested in a trial court (Special Judge) rather than the district court. The amendments also propose a speedy trial with a two-year cap on its completion. Prior sanction is required from the Lokpal or Lokayukta for investigation of offences related to recommendations by a public servant.
The Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted in 1988 but later developments such as India's ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) have necessitated a review of the Act.