Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual,
the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. – Karl Kraus
The evil of corruption is embedded in human society from the earliest time, it is like a slow
poison which kills the constitution, the society and the economy to the core!
In layman’s language corruption can be defined as the use of public authority / service for the
private gain which not only hampers the norms of society but also disrespects and violates the
laws of society. It is that deep rooted disease which is unstoppable and is root cause of every
problem from economic crises to inequality. Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon which is
rooted with issues and problems in every aspect of individuals life.
Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted in 1988 to face and overcome the biggest challenge of
the economy which like any other termite was eating the societies to the core. The journey of
prevention of corruption began with the enactment of Santhanam Committee by Central
government. K. Santhanam was the first chairman of the committee who stated that corruption
has deeply affected the roots of society and it shall be treated by enactment of proper
preventive measure which must include all social and economical means. After the
recommendations of this committee the very first step towards anti corruption nation was taken
by forming Central Vigilance Commission in 1964 which was dedicated to the matters of
corruption against government. Many recommendations were given by the committee which
eventually led to the formation of The Prevention of Corruption Act in September 1988
Initially Indian Penal code dealt with the offences related to corruption but gradually due to the
inadequacy of laws to tackle the corruption of public servants post world war 2 and to preserve
the progressive welfare of state, The Prevention of Corruption Act was initiated.
When the act came in existence it gave life and enlarged the scope of certain definitions which
lacked attention previously. The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 binded the provisions of the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1952 and sections 161
to 165 of IPC. The act includes 5 chapters spread across with 31 sections. The object of act is
very transparent which implies to extend and widen the scope of existing corruption laws to
make it more clear and effective.
Some important terms which require an insightPublic duty (clause (b) section 2)- Public duty is defined as ‘a duty in the discharge of which the
State, the public or the community at large has an interest. The scope of state here includes: A
corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act and an authority or body
owned controlled or aided by the Government company as defined in section 617 of the
Companies Act, 1965.
Public servant (clause (c) section 2)- The definition of public servant is defined in section 2 is
defined in a wide and expressive manner. It includes all the office- bearers of the registered cooperative societies receiving any financial aid from the Government, or from a Government
corporation or company, the employees of universities, public service commissions and bank
Various landmark issues which marks the relevance to these sections are-
➢ CBI, Bank Securities & Fraud Cell v. Ramesh Gelli and others: In this judgment the apex
court held that the officers of private banks come under the definition of public
servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988.
➢ Manmal v. State of West Bengal : A landmark judgement was delivered by honorable
supreme court that resignation, dismissal, removal or retirement of a public servant
would not wipe out the offence which he has committed during the tenure of his
service and can be prosecuted for the same after the competition of tenure under
section 5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Another important milestone achieved by this act is the initiative of speedy trial for
which the provision states that –
A. All cases under the Act are to be tried only by a Special Judges.
B. The proceedings of the court should be held on a day-to-day basis.
C. No court shall stay the proceedings under the Act on the grounds of any
error or irregularity in the sanction granted, unless in the opinion of the
court it has led to failure of justice.
The investigation process is elaborated and explained in Section 17 of the act which states that
investigation in the cases of Prevention of Corruption shall be done by a police officer, not
below the rank of:
• In case of Delhi, of an Inspector of Police.
• In metropolitan areas, of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
• Elsewhere, of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or an officer of equivalent rank shall
investigate any offence punishable under this Act without the order of a Metropolitan
Magistrate or a magistrate of the first class, or make any arrest therefore without a
If a police officer below the rank of an Inspector of Police is authorized by the State
Government in this behalf by general or special order, he may investigate such offence without
the order of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of First Class, may make any arrest
therefore without any warrant.
OFFENCES AND PUNISHMENT GOES HAND IN HAND
Prevention of corruption act has broadly defined the offences and the imposition of respective
penalties, for example taking gratification other than legal remuneration or to influence a
public servant or for personal influence, punishment for abatement and criminal misconduct is
also elaborated in the act.
MOST NECESSARY AMENDMENT TO THE ACT INCORPORATED IN 2018
Prevention of Corruption Act underwent certain changes after the bill was introduced in
parliament on August 19, 2013. After five years of wait the bill was passed by the parliament
with following amendments in the act –
o Bribe-giver is liable to be prosecuted:
o Commercial organizations liable to be prosecuted
o Prior permission to be sought before initiating investigation
o Attachment of tainted property
o Time limit for trial
“One does not fight corruption by fighting corruption. – Daniel Kaufman”
Though the act has been beautifully drafted but it cannot be ignored that the power has always
been and the power always prevails vesting its concentration in the hands of center and state
government which always make the matter oblivious if the question is related to central or
state government! However nothing in this universe could be perfect and the same law applies
to this Act. This powerful act is not the only means to curb corruption but it definitely is step
towards building a better nation by bringing the better from the bitter!