Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to amend the 1988 anti-graft law by seeking to punish bribe-givers for the first time along with the bribe takers, as the Lok Sabha gave its nod to it. Moving the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill for passage in the Lower House, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said its aim was to enhance transparency and accountability of the government and also to make the provisions under the law stringent.
The measure reflects the Narendra Modi government's zero tolerance towards corruption, he said.
Earlier, Congress leader Malikarjuna Kharge questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's five-day Africa visit, asking if it was that important when the Parliament was in session. Kharge further said that a Parliament Joint Committee should be constituted to look into Rafale Deal.
The Bill, cleared by the Rajya Sabha last week, was passed unanimously by the Lower House after debating for nearly four hours.
Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Jitendra Singh replied to the debate.
He said safeguards had been provided to ensure that honest officers were not intimidated by false complaints. “For any corruption case, we will bring guidelines for decision to be ordinarily given in two years.” He described the Bill as “historic.”
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.
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