Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laws in India to tackle corruption

So you thought India had no laws for tackling corruption? Well, surprise surprise. There are a lot of them. Here's a list. 

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (POCA) was enacted to consolidate different anti-corruption provisions from various pieces of legislation under one umbrella and to make them more effective. The Corruption Act, inter alia, widened the scope of the definition of a “public servant”; enhanced penalties provided for offences in earlier laws; incorporated the provisions of freezing of suspected property during trial; mandated trial on a day-to-day basis, prohibited the grant of stay on trial; etc. The Corruption Act is the main law for dealing with offences pertaining to corruption in India, however many avenues of corruption cannot be dealt with under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
India has welcomed the UNCAC, which provides for international co-operation and mutual legal assistance in investigating cases of corruption and recovery of assets. India signed the UNCAC in December 2005. By signing the Convention India has reiterated its resolve to strengthen international co-operation as envisaged in the Convention. It has now even ratified it. The Convention will boost India’s effort and commitment to fight corruption at both domestic and international level.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002
Many public servants are able to hold their ill-gotten wealth in foreign countries, which they subsequently transfer to their homeland through money laundering, disguising them as funds, apparently from a legal source. This Act empowers the Directorate of Enforcement, India, and Financial Intelligence Unit, India, both agencies of the Government of India, to investigate and prosecute such persons under the said Act.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999
Middlemen or touts, who take huge commissions for brokering deals pertaining to purchases from foreign suppliers, often transfer such money in foreign currencies, claiming it to be the proceeds of some business abroad. This Act empowers the Directorate of Enforcement, India to investigate and prosecute such persons under the said act.

The Right to Information Act, 2005
It is a well-known fact that too much secrecy in public administration breeds corruption. The Right to Information Act aims at ensuring efficiency, transparency and accountability in public life. This Act requires all public authorities, except the ones that handle work relating to national security, to publish all information about their functioning at regular intervals through various means of communication, including the Internet. Now any person can seek any information from the concerned public authority just by filing an application at almost at no cost. The public authority has to reply to the application compulsorily within 30 days. If the information sought is denied, the applicant has a right to agitate further before the appellate authorities under this Act. This can indeed be described as a revolutionary step towards the eradication of corruption from public life.

Central Vigilance Commission
The Central Vigilance Commission is a statutory body which monitors corruption in governmental departments. It supervises the work of Chief Vigilance Officers of all the departments of government and issues guidelines to them. The CVC also receives complaints from the general public about corruption. It refers such complaints to the CBI for verification and investigation if found to contain verifiable allegations. The CVOs are in-house supervisors of government departments who monitor the conduct of personnel and enquire into complaints against them pertaining to corruption. If upon enquiry they conclude that a criminal case under the Corruption Act appears to have been made out, they refer the case to the CBI for investigation.

Use of telephonic/Electronic surveillance
The legal provisions relating to telephonic or electronic surveillance under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 are effectively used by the CBI to gather accurate information about corrupt activities of the public servants. After ascertaining details about various phone numbers and email identifications used by the public servant, permission of the competent authority is taken to put the same under surveillance. Information gathered during such surveillance has been successfully used in exposing big scams.

Freezing, Seizure and Confiscation of Properties - The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944 (Article 31 of UNCAC)
This is an important law on freezing, seizure and confiscation of properties which are proceeds of crime, including offences under the Corruption Act. Such properties identified during investigation can be frozen under this law. Properties can remain frozen till disposal of the case by the court after completion of the investigation. If the alleged offence is proved in the court of law and the property is proved to be the proceeds of crime, the court will order its confiscation.

Criminal Procedure Code 1973 together with Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) in Criminal Matters and Extradition Treaties
Sec. 166 A and 166 B of the above code empower the crime investigation agencies of India to make requests to other countries as well as to entertain requests from other countries to render assistance in the investigation of crime registered in the respective countries. Such letters of request are popularly known as Letters Rogatory. Such Letters Rogatory are executed on the basis of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Extradition Treaties India has signed with other countries. To date India has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in Criminal Matters with 20 countries and Extradition Treaties with 25 countries. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties invariably have a chapter on asset recovery and sharing the same. With other countries, international co-operation is sought on the basis of guarantee of reciprocity

Also we have the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. Also with the Whistle Blower Bill in the pipeline, do we really need a new law?  Stop going to stupid candle light rallies and start implementing anti corruption habits in your day to day life. Oh and next time you say we don't have laws, think about this post. 

P.S.- The list of laws and the information related to it is taken from this blog. Do check it out. It has a complete analysis of corruption in India. 

1 comment:

  1. And all of them are crap. Including the Lokpal. Corruption can only be tackled from within the system. Not from outside of it!!


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