Introduction: Understanding Corruption
In the popular media, the concept of corruption has made the populace
disillusioned with the modern socio-political climate. By definition, corruption
can be moral or digital.
In the former, a person does something morally depraving. On the other hand, the
latter sees a computer program going through a series of errors.
However, most people view corruption in the political realm.
In other words, people who have political authority can abuse their power for a
reason. The corruption in Venezuela, for example, has wrecked the already
vulnerable economy. Their leaders' inability to root out corruption in their
governmental branches and law enforcement agencies worsened the situation .
Another example of corruption is the Prohibition in the 1920s United States.
When the agents responsible for arresting people with alcohol were corrupt,
people questioned the implementation of the 18th Amendment. People had it enough
when the Great Depression came, making them unemployable. Why even continue an
expensive law that was ineffective and corrupt? That was the question raised in
the average Joe's mind .
Corruption in India
India suffers from a plague called corruption. It played a role in India's weak
economic structure despite being one of the world's strongest economies. There
are plenty of reasons for the current infrastructure:
- India has a few leaders that are competent to improve the economy.
- Lack of organized management leads to ineffective methods to weed out
- If an economy is unstable, then it leads to massive unemployment. Thus
it leads to changing the standards of living.
- Lack of better officials can make a small-scale corruption into a
The mentioned causes play primary roles in consequences like:
- Disruption of development
- It increases the number of people in poverty and unemployment.
- Many people leave the country for better job opportunities. Massive
brain drain causes loss of talent because incompetent people take the
positions of power. For example, the reservation system in India is the most
polarized. For some, it gives more opportunity to the people of the
marginalized community. For others, it excludes the people from the general
community from getting better jobs, thus insulting meritocracy.
The politicians made the system into a time bomb which could cause more division
in the society. People get the job easily because of the reservation system,
even if the person is undeserving or incompetent. The rich and the elites of the
marginalized community might exploit the system in their favor which might be
disadvantageous for the poor in the general community.
It destroys the good intentions, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar implemented while drafting
the Indian Constitution:
- When bribery affects the people in power, it even affects the courts. It
causes many people to give up their hopes in the judicial system.
- Corruption disrupts businesses and destroys the natural resources in the
One Wikipedia article states that about 62% of Indians have bribed public
officials. The same article highlights that 50% of Indians paid bribes for the
first time. They also got into public services through nepotism. India ranks
86th out of 180 in the Corruption Perception Index. The number of corruption
cases is declining, but it's still a long way to go.
Coal Scam: The public went flabbergasted when the government got involved in
making the country's coal corporate-friendly. The cost of issuing the coal was
$140 million. The CBI officials in charge of the investigations came under
scrutiny. The reason was they took bribes to weaken the case.
2G Spectrum Case: The case was the talk of the day during the 2000s. Many top
brass politicians got involved in the case. In a nutshell, the folks at the top
sold 2G spectrum licenses to telecom corporations. A. Raja, one of the people of
interest sold the licenses at low prices. The move backfired because he lost
about $25 billion. The CBI failed to convict anyone, despite having mountains of
evidence. The Supreme Court had to let people involved in the cases including A.
Raja go scot-free.
The Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act)
The PC Act 1988 came into fruition. It changed the legal measures to tackle
corruption in the governmental and public official branches.
The PC Act has two
- The law aims to prevent misconduct in government offices.
- The law finds the bad actors in the governmental buildings and will
prosecute and punish them.
Despite its enactment, the law has seen only a few successes. Thus, an amendment
came into fruition on 26th July 2018.
The 2018 Amendment
The amendment act 2018 is compatible with the UN Convention against Corruption
2005. India ratified the latter in 2011.
The Act has several highlights, which
are as follows:
Criminal misconduct can be categorized in three ways:
- Undue Advantage: If a public official accepts (or almost accepts) undue
advantage for their or others' benefit, their punishment will be
imprisonment (minimum three years, maximum seven years). Undue advantages
are remunerations that are other than legal.
- The person who gives undue advantage to public officials will be liable
for the said move. In other words, any statements he makes against the
public official are void. Worst case scenario, they'll be at risk to testify
in the court, and the court will discard their story.
- If a commercial corporation gets caught paying bribes to public
officials, they have to pay a hefty fine. In most cases, corporations pay
bribes to gain the initiative or save their business. This is mentioned
under Section 9 of the PC Act.
- The amendment reiterates the definitions of criminal misconduct.
- Public officials use dodgy/illegal means to gain something valuable and
- Public officials abuse their authority to gain valuable or monetary
- Public officials obtain valuable or monetary rewards that exclude public
The amendment replaced with new definitions:
Despite its positive outlook, the law still suffers some loopholes:
- Any property which is owned is misappropriated or conversed for public
- Any assets that are amassed are disproportionate to known income
- The law required sanctions before the appropriate government to
prosecute the public officials in office. The amendment act further protects
former approval to the investigation pre-prosecution. It also applies to
ex-public officials. Section 19(1) gives a directory period of three months
for the appropriate government to give its decision.
- The Amendment Act authorises the attachment and administration of property
obtained through the commission of a PC Act offence under the Prevention of
Money Laundering Act 2002 and the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 1944.
- The Special Judge is required by the amendment act to complete the trial
within two years. At the same time, the trial period can be extended from
six months to four years. It is necessary to document the reason for the
extension. However, because the language is advisory rather than mandatory,
the court is less likely to follow it.
- The penalty has been increased from a minimum of 6 (six) months to 3
(three) years, with or without a fine, and from a maximum of 5 (five) years
to 7 (seven) years. The penalty for aiding and abetting crime has also been
increased by the same amount.
It brought more workload in investigation and prosecution. The main intention of
the act is to prevent honest officers from victimization. At the same time, it
became a shield that could serve the accused officers.
The amendment act does not specify the fine for commercial corporations. Even
though the corporations will now have to abide by everything the central
government has to say. They have to ensure that their internal mechanism stays
in place when it comes to developing a defense for a bribery case. The upper
echelons must provide specifics when it comes to future briber.
Furthermore, under the PC Act, the person's guilt was presumed for the offenses
of accepting an undue advantage, being a habitual offender, or aiding and
abetting an offense. This presumption is now limited to the offense of accepting
an unfair advantage. For those accused of being habitual offenders or abetting
an offense, the burden of proof is shifted to the prosecution.
The PC Amendment Act has improved the corruption situation in India. It has
become a positive development. It changed the definitions and penalties of
corruption conducts for the better. It became a deterrent for the offenders to
commit the offense.