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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Prospects and Pitfalls of the Amendments in the PAC

The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988, that brings corruption into a heinous crime. New amendments mean stringent punishment for the perpetrators of heinous crime. Now, both giver and taker of the bribe will be scanned and punished according to the new law, and this time it will be not less than 2 years and can exceed to as long as 7 years. The maximum 5 year trial is changed in 7 years imprisonment which makes corruption a heinous crime in the eyes of the judiciary of India.

The most promising part of the new amendment, which will surely help to curb the rampant corruption is the reduced timeline that ensures speedy trial. Now, the court will not take more than two years for the trail and the verdict will be announced in the two years' time. These amendments are in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and fills a gap between international laws and domestic laws. 

But, the relaxation given to ex. government employees doesn't seems in favour of the nation and works more like a protective umbrella for public servants. I am afraid that government employees will treat it like a circumvent law to escape the deserved punishment. It is good to see that the amended anti-corruption law strictly deals with the corruption in the Indian corporate sector, as commercial entities will also be considered culpable apart from their employees found guilty of malpractices, while in the present law, only individuals are liable. The law should be equal for all and it should treat everyone equally. There is no need to provide a protective shell to government employees in the guise of national interest.

The Prevention of Corruption Act came into the practice in the year 1988, to wage a war against the rising corruption level in the independent India, to end the prevailing culture of bribery and illegitimate use of national resources. It was revised in the year 2013, but the current amendments make it more viable and holistic. These new amendments have kindled some hopes and the nation expects the right execution of this stricter version of the anti-corruption law.