The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel has recommended stringent punishment of up to seven years with a fine to those Indian or foreign entities found guilty of bribing public servants.
In its report on Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Bill, 2013 the Committee observed that all entities, including business or trade and charitable services would now be liable to prevent corruption by any individual associated with it with exercise of due diligence and also putting in place adequate procedures.
The Committee noted that a fine will be imposed on those commercial organisations indicted on corruption charges while punishment for the in-charge of that organisation will be imprisonment with fine.
“The Panel recommended that the punishment prescribed for commercial organisations be in addition to the punishment prescribed to the individual associated with the commercial organisation,” the report stated.
The Parliamentary panel also endorsed the provision in the Bill insulating honest retired bureaucrats for bona fide omission and commission during their term in office.
The panel said suitable amendments should be made in the relevant provisions to ensure that the investigating agency probing any case seeks prior permission from the government before questioning a retired bureaucrat in a corruption case.
At present, there is no legal provision for investigating agencies to seek permission to quiz a former government employee.
The bill has also fixed a time frame of three months for the government to decide on the investigative agency’s request seeking sanction for prosecution against public servants. The Panel report said the time frame could be extended by one month in cases where consultation with Attorney General or Advocate General of state is necessary. The panel has also recommended expeditious trial of corruption related cases.