“Cancer Synonym of Corruption”

Article for Blog Post Writing Competition 2011 | by Aniket Pandey


April 9th, 201110:39 pm


Corruption debases democracy, undermines rule of law, distorts market, stifles economic growth and denies many, their rightful share of economic resources of life- saving aid” -Kofi Anan

This famous quote by a famous personality needs to be given due consideration as our country is one of the most corrupt nation in list formulated by transparency international in 2010, India was ranked 87th of 178 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. As of 2010, India is the ninth-most corrupt country in the world, with about 54% of Indians paying a bribe in the past year, according to a global survey by Transparency International. [1][2] India  has topped the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks (USD 1.4 trillion approximately) in the form of black money. [3]Autonomous reports have recently calculated India’s traditionally ruling family’s (Gandhi’s) financial net worth to be anywhere between $9.41 billion (Rs 42,345 crore) to $18.66 billion (Rs 83,900 crore), most of it in the form of illegal monies. [4] In spite of the above fact our current government is not adopting any concrete step to bring back a huge amount of money from Swiss bank. It is but obvious that nobody would cut-down a branch on which they are sitting. Recently, in March 2011 our prime minister stated that India needs to deal with the malice of corruption and improve governance in Asia’s third-largest economy. [5] An important point which needs to be analyzed is criminalization of politics in India which is due to the illegal practice of powers which are vested in them for administration and certain other purposes. There is a saying “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton).However, Politics is not only the branch which is vulnerable to corruption; In India from “mantri” to “santri” each and every person is corrupt. Corruption is not an external phenomenon it has now transformed into internal infection as what we say even ‘heart and soul of people has gone corrupt’. And this is the only reason people don’t even think before offering and accepting bribe. According to hindu mythology we are living in the era so called ‘Kalyug’ in which nothing is straight simple and without corruption unless you make it simple by greasing one’s palms with valuables. Though, we are aware of the fact that corruption is now part and parcel of our society. It has also turned common as our daily routine and nothing seems to have an impact on this cancer of society. Indeed there are laws to curb corruption but whether they are adequate is questionable and subject of discussion.

ADEQUACY OF ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS IN INDIA

Though anti-corruption laws are there since 1947 but still corruption is not curbed which has consequently resulted in economic loss to the nation with some other critical problems which requires proper attention to control corruption. Although anti-corruption laws such as Prevention of corruption act and Right to Information act  exists  to check corruption in various departments still there exists lacuna in laws due to which these laws are not properly utilized to their potential  and eventually results in inadequate implementation. Prevention of corruption act lacks  provisions for protection of whistle-blowers and witnesses. The only provisions in the Prevention of corruption Act that, to a very limited extent, provide for protection of whistle-blowers are Sections 5 and 24. While both of these provisions provide some degree of protection against prosecution, they do not afford any protection against action that may be taken by the wrongdoer or his associates.

On the other hand this act considers requirement of obtaining prior sanction of an appropriate authority before any court takes cognizance of an offence by a public servant. Past experience has shown that these provisions have often resulted in long delays as sanction is required from the court to impose responsibility on the person caught with greased palms. This act does not consist of direct provision prohibiting a private person from offering a bribe or engaging in other corrupt practices. Such a provision is required to ensure that all parties to a corrupt are dealt with adequately and is especially important in cases of “collusive corruption” where the private person may be the initiator and where the public servant may even have rejected the bribe. [6] There are also inordinate delays in prosecution of public servants against whom complaints have been made. In cases of corruption, it is extremely important that prosecution take place within a short timeframe as delays can affect the morale of the complainant and also increase the possibility of reprisals. [7]

The Prevention of corruption Act does not contain any provisions to deal with the cases where Indian citizens engage in corrupt activities with a foreign public official. Such a provision is required for bringing India’s anti-corruption laws in line with the mandatory requirement of UNCAC. [8]

It is well known fact that the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption act regarding confiscation of property is inadequate since confiscation is only permitted after prosecution for the relevant offence. [9] To effectively discourage public servants from engaging in corrupt activities, it is important that the very possession of properties disproportionate to known legal sources of income of a public servant be declared as an offence and such properties be confiscated by the state even pending prosecution. Adequate provisions in this regard need to be introduced through amendments to the PC Act or through a separate legislation that allows for civil forfeiture. [10]

Right to Information act came into existence recently in the year 2005 which is known as one of the major legislative step to control corruption. The essence of the RTI is that it enables a citizen to examine, review and assess government actions and decisions that ensure honesty to public interest, integrity and justice. The Act also lays down the government’s obligation to provide that information.

The Right to information act includes provisions of penalties for authorities who deny releasing requested information. However, one of the major criticisms of the Act has been the availability of a number of grounds for exemption from furnishing information as this act provides liberal exemptions from disclosure.

These are few lacunas in our law which requires amendment to empower the laws to govern corruption. These Acts are technically drafted, but it has not effectively come to the aid of the government to curb corruption.

The concept of ‘Ombudsman’ or ‘Lokayukt’ should be included in Indian system in order to combat corruption. However, under the Chairmanship of Morarji Desai Commission was set up to investigate and recommend the concept of Ombudsman in India. The commission placed definite suggestion before the government in its interim report in October 1966. The commission recommended 2 categories of Ombudsman for India: a Lokpal to investigate actions of ministers and secretaries and one or more Lokayuktas to investigate the actions of officials below the rank of secretaries. The recommendation of the commission was accepted by the Govt. and a Bill providing for Ombudsman was introduced in Loksabha in May 1968. The Bill was known as “The Lokpal and Lokyuktas, 1968”. More than four decades have passed but still the Indian Parliament has not passed a Central Legislation regarding this. This shows lack of political will to eradicate corruption from its roots from Indian system. But some Indian states namely Orissa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh are some amongst many to pass the Lokpal bill as a state legislation. But due to absence of a Central Legislation the State Legislations could not make this law more stringent. [11] Recently, In 2009 (Jan Lokpal Bill) an act to create effective anti-corruption and grievance redressal systems at centre so that effective deterrent is created against corruption and to provide effective protection to whistleblowers was discussed in parliament but when it comes to taking into effect it is always dubious in context with Indian scenario.

Conclusion

Corruption is a topic on which if one starts discussing it is never going to end. Merely furnishing ideas to combat corruption will not eventually eradicate corruption from society as it has actually corrupted the souls of humans which needs distillation and to bring such process into action one needs to see deep into their souls and decide whether they are acting in a manner in which they are supposed to act and whether offering and accepting bribes is justified and if so on what grounds people feel free to exercise such practices which has casted a slur upon nations esteem and honour. Although laws are there to curb corruption but adequacy of such laws are questionable as these laws seems to be formulated for the beneficiary of politicians as they are the one who on their discretion adds amendment whenever it seems to them that law is behind them. Further it is necessary to analyze that corruption cannot be eradicated completely from our society as it is an intractable problem which can only be controlled and may not be possible to discard it from the society. Controlling corruption requires patience and proper enforcement of anti-corruption laws so as to develop fear of these laws among its violators. However, it’s all on time which will tell the story whether corruption heightens or declines. Till then we need to wait and watch whether government and people join hands to bring into action such policies which will really contain corruption to tolerable limits or corruption continue to sustain as a part of the society as it continue to do presently.

Endnotes

1.http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-12 10/news/27614571_1_corrupt-country-transparency-international-pettycorruption                                                                                                                                                                           2.http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/oct/26/slide-show-1-worlds-most-corrupt-nations.htm

3.http://www.thehindubusinessline.in/2010/08/13/stories/2010081350370900.htm                                                                         4.Supra;note 1                                                                             5. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/18/india-corruption-pm-idUSBMA00957920110318

6. Final Draft, Anti-Corruption strategy by CentralVigilanceCommission,http://cvc.nic.in/NationalAntiCorruptionStrategydr…                                                                                    7. This fact has also been recognized by the Law Commission of India in its 166th Report.

8. Gazette of India dated Nov.23, 1946,PartV,page37                                                
9.Ibid                                                                                 10.Supra;footnote8                                                                      11. http://www.sooperarticles.com/news-society-articles/pure-opinion-articles/essay-corruption-india-352457.html

 

Article by-

Aniket Pandey

BBA(llb) student,

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]

 

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