RS passes anti-corruption bill with stringent punishment for bribe-giving

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New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the amended anti-corruption bill that also has stringent punishment provisions for those giving bribes — both individuals and organizations — besides the bribe takers, extends requirement of prior sanction for prosecution to former public officials and covers attachment and forfeiture of property.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 amends the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to prescribes imprisonment of a minimum of three years extendable upto seven years for giving bribe.

The Bill also removes exemption for even “trivial” things given to an official. This means that nothing given to an official will be considered as “trivial” and may be counted as “bribe”.

During the discussion, members held that a distinction must be made between “coercive” (one who has been forced to pay bribes by those in authority) and “collusive” (one who willingly gives bribe to extract favours) bribe-giving, and stressed that the current period of one week given to a coercive bribe-giver to report the matter is much less.

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Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances, Jitendra Singh, while replying to the debate, said that this grace period for coercive bribe-giver may be increased to two weeks or more.

He underlined that the Bill has been much debated in the Standing Committee, the Select Committee of the House as well as has been considered by the Law Commission.

–IANS

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