Corruption is considered a major hiccup to the development of society and the individuals of a society. The term “Corruption” refers to wrongful utilization of public office for personal enrichment. It is an illegitimate and wrongful exercise of authority for own self over a civil office or to a special position in society. It is misconduct and can be termed as a form of social illness. The structure of corruption is a three-layered chain. They are defined as follows: –
- Petty corruption – It is known to be the lowest form of corruption hence it occurs at a smaller scale. It takes place at the executive end of public services in places like hospitals, police stations, government & private sectors. It takes place when officials interact with the general public.
- Grand corruption – Grand corruption transpires at the highest government levels, including top-echelon government officials.
- Systemic corruption – This form of corruption is also known as endemic corruption. This is a layer of corruption that is essentially due to the ineffectiveness of an organization or a process. It takes place within the system of an organization.
The necessity of Anti-Corruption Regulation – The repercussions of corruption surpass the corrupt individuals and damage the reputation of law-abiding colleagues or the organizations they operate for. It also disintegrates the confidence one has in the public sector. The public’s corruption squanders tax has been earmarked for fundamental and vital community projects. Hence legislation to shield society from the cold breeze of corruption is of paramount importance.
ORGANIZATIONAL IMPACTS OF CORRUPTION
- Damage to employee spirit
- Increased scrutiny and regulation
- Financial loss
- Damage to organization’s honour & recognition
INDIVIDUAL IMPACTS OF CORRUPTION
- Cessation of employment
- Disciplinary action
COMMUNITY IMPACTS OF CORRUPTION
- Low Morality in Community
- The disadvantage to sincere business that misses out on government contracts
- Misuse of Taxpayers’ Funds
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is commonly known as the “PC Act”. It is the principal legislation in India. This Act was formulated to prevent corruption, the Law applies to the whole of India including the citizen of India who resides outside India. Under this Act, the Central Government holds the authority to appoint judges to inspect the cases with the following offences: –
- Accepting gratification in order to exert influence with public servant;
- Accepting gratification with a motive to exert personal influence on a public servant, through an unprincipled manner;
- Criminal wrongdoing/Abuse of power by the public servant;
- Accepting gratification except for legal remuneration.
Since the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 came into force two amendments have been passed. First in 2013 followed by others in 2018. Key features of both the amendments are as follows:-
Key features of the 2013 amendment:-
- Bribery was added to the list of punishable offences. Individual who was coerced into taking bribe must report the incident to law enforcement within seven days will not be charged under the Anti-Corruption Act.
- If a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act is handled by a special judge the trial Limit was fixed within two years, hence the total trial period should not be more than four years.
Key features of the 2018 amendment:-
- Under the amendment, act bribery was considered as a specific offence.
- A person who accepts bribes shall be imprisoned for a period of 3 to 7 years and a fine will be imposed.
- Anyone giving bribes shall be punished and imprisoned for a period of up to 7 years and a fine will be levied.
- The amendment act fabricates a provision to secure the individuals who were forced to pay a bribe but the condition of reporting the incident to law enforcement agencies within 7 days must be satisfied.
Other laws which have been formulated to curb bribery and corruption in India discussed briefly:
- Indian Penal Code, 1860 – It has a provision to cover the matters of bribes and fraud, which also includes crimes on criminal breach of trust and cheating.
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 – The objective of this Act is to combat money laundering events in India. The offence of money laundering incident directs strict punishment with imprisonment of a period up to 10 years and the attachment of property of the accused (even at a preliminary stage of investigation and not necessarily after conviction).
- Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 – This law is established to regulate the acceptance and utilization of contributions made by individuals and organizations from foreign. Approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs is a must to obtain prior registration for the receipt of such contributions and commission of such registration or approval, the receipt of foreign contributions may be considered illegal.
- Companies Act, 2013 (Companies Act) – The Act aims to curb fraud and corruption cases in the corporate sphere. Under the Companies Act, 2013 fraud is considered a criminal offence, the Act penalizes a person guilty under this offence with imprisonment of up to five years or with a fine of up to fifty lakh rupees or with both.
- The Whistleblower Protection Act, 2014 – This Act develops a mechanism through which corruption allegations or abuse of power against public servants can be reported and satisfactory inspection of such incidents shall be provided.
- Black money and imposition of the Tax act, 2015 – The Act was established to combat undisclosed foreign assets or black money. The motive of the Act is to recover the monetary balance and assets held abroad back to the country. Hence, the undisclosed assets shall only be declared by an Indian resident.
It is needless to say that Corruption diminishes society’s faith in democracy, socio-economic difference breeds corruption and lowers individual morale. Therefore, laws to prevent corruption are a success for the whole country and the right implementation of these laws will make India a safer country for all of us.
Author’s Name: Tanya Dodeja (LCIT Law College)