Govt Proposes To Make Corruption Non-bailable, Increase Jail Term

Govt Proposes To Make Corruption Non-bailable, Increase Jail Term

19 November 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Neeraj Rohmetra

Jammu: As a sequel to the direction of High Court to make suitable amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act, the Law Department has proposed several changes in the existing provisions to make it more stringent and submitted them to the General Administration Department (GAD) for further submission to the Cabinet. The recommendations are based on the feedback obtained from the Committee headed by Chief Secretary, which had held detailed deliberations on the suggestions of the Vigilance Organization pertaining to the amendments in the Act. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the Committee has proposed several amendments in various provisions like those pertaining to the tenure for jail term, making the bail provision more stringent and also favouring trial of public servants using corrupt means. “The GAD has received the details of the proposed amendments few days back and would now scrutinize them thoroughly before submitting proposal to Government in this context”, sources said. Elaborating, sources said, “based on experience of previous cases, the Committee has strongly recommended that the offences pertaining to corruption cases be made non-bailable by modifying appropriate provision of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act, 20063. “Another proposal is that the offenders, who commit crime under provisions of Section 161, 162, 163, 164 and 165 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) be tried under Prevention of Corruption Act”, sources said adding, “these provisions pertained to offences by or relating to public servants. They primarily deal with public servants taking gratification other than legal remuneration and using corrupt means for amassing wealth”. “When the offences are tried under the Anti-Corruption Act, they shall be subject to speedy trial by the Anti-corruption Courts, which shall be exclusively dealing with all such matters”, source remarked. On increasing the jail term of the offenders, the proposal said, “as per the existing provision the minimum tenure for jail term is six months and the maximum is three years. It is proposed that the first time offenders be given jail terms from 1-5 years while as habitual offenders can be given jail terms from 2-7 years”. Regarding the direction of High Court to scrap provision of the Prevention to Corruption Act making it mandatory to seek sanction for prosecution against the accused officials, sources said, “the State Government has filed an SLP in Supreme Court against the order of High Court”. “However, the State Government is also keenly watching the policies to be framed by Government of India on a similar matter, wherein the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 set a three-month deadline for Governments to decide whether or not to grant sanction for prosecution under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act”, sources added. The directions were issued by the Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly, while responding to the petition of Subramanian Swamy, who questioned delay in granting prosecution of the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja in 2G spectrum allocation case. “The Central Government hasn’t yet formulated the guidelines in view of this landmark judgment and the State Government is also looking forward to their reaction and is likely to emulate the response here”, sources asserted. It is pertinent to mention here that the High Court Division Bench comprising Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar had directed the State Government to file by next date of hearing the action taken on the recommendations of the Committee for making amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act. Earlier, the Vigilance Organisation had made recommendations on the proposed amendments of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 and the same were submitted to a Committee constituted by the Government headed by the Chief Secretary and comprising Vigilance Commissioner, Home Secretary, Law Secretary and Secretary GAD as its members. The Law Department has vetted these recommendations and they have now been submitted to General Administration Department (GAD).