Lok Satta

Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:26

Dr.JP and team suggest radical changes in anti graft law


Lok Satta Party national President and Foundation for Democratic Reforms General Secretary Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan and nine other Lok Satta leaders today suggested far-reaching amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act with a view to eradicating all pervasive corruption.

The law should provide for time-bound justice and day-to-day trials, they told the Parliamentary Committee considering the Bill to amend the anti graft law in New Delhi today.

Dr. JP wanted the definition of corruption to be widened to include gross perversion of the Indian Constitution, abuse of authority to favour or harm others, obstruction of justice and squandering public resources even when no personal gain is involved.

Dr. JP suggested that a distinction be made between extortionary corruption and collusive corruption. In extortionary corruption, one has to pay a bribe to get what one is entitled to. In collusive corruption, both the giver and taker of bribes defraud the society as it happened in the allocation of coal mines and 2-G spectrum.

Dr. JP said that in collusive corruption, the burden of innocence should be shifted to the accused. The law should be amended to provide for a long prison term and confiscation of all assets of the guilty. In this connection, he cited how Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois, was sentenced to a jail term of 14 years and stripped of Governor post when he sought campaign funds for nominating a successor to Barrack Obama in the U. S. Senate.

Dr. JP said that there should be stiff provisions for confiscation of property in line with the draft Bill in the Law Commission’s 166th report.

Dr. JP said that there should be automatic prosecution in cases of graft or disproportionate assets without any need for prior Government sanction. In other cases, the sanction of prosecution must vest with the Vigilance Commission or the officer of a rank of the Cabinet Secretary. Such a process would give no scope for political interference. If prosecution is not sanctioned within a specified time limit, sanction should be deemed to have been given.

Dr. JP opposed deletion of the section providing immunity to the bribe giver in the present Prevention of Corruption Act. If bribe givers are not protected, no one will come forward to file complaints and corruption will continue unabated.

Dr. JP wanted competitive bidding to be made mandatory for allocation of all natural resources. If the successful bidder makes abnormal profits because of market conditions, the Government should be empowered to levy a windfall profits tax as in Britain.