The Committee on Prevention of Corruption, appointed by the government to report on measures needed for prevention of corruption and whistle blower protection in the State, has recommended establishment of special courts to confiscate assets amassed through corruption.
The committee, headed by former Chief Secretary M. Mohankumar, noted in its report submitted to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that so far the properties of none of those accused in corruption cases had been confiscated. Establishment of special courts on the lines of that in Bihar would help to speed up trial.
The committee also recommended that law on the lines of Prevention and Capitation Fee Act of Karnataka should be enacted to check collection of capitation fee by private educational institutions.
It said that a code of conduct for the Ministers should be drawn up on the lines of those in Britain, Australia and Canada. A group of ministers assisted by serving and retiring civil servants could draw up the code. The Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1960, should be revised incorporating core values of integrity, honesty, impartiality and objectivity. Core ethical values should be taught as important part of induction training.
It suggested that a full time secretary should be appointed. Only serious cases of corruption should be referred to the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau. A committee of senior officers headed by the Secretary should go into the petitions and make suitable recommendations to the Minister. Sanction for prosecution should be given or refused within three months, failing which sanction should be deemed to have been given. The law should be amended for that. A year-long special drive might be conducted by the Bureau to maximize disposal of pending cases.
Allegations against Members of the Assembly, Ministers, Secretaries to the Government and major heads of departments should be referred to the Lok Ayukhta. The Lok Ayuktha should be able to register cases suo moto, except in cases involving ministers. One more Ombudsman should be appointed to deal with the numerous complaints about corruption in local self governments.
The system of police receiving information about crimes through short messaging service from the public should be introduced in the State as had been done in Delhi.
The Right to Services Act should be implemented immediately. Services meant for citizens as well as those meant for businesses such as tax related services should be brought under the Act. Services to the poor and maginalised should find priority. Deadlines for services should be reduced as services are streamlined. Electronic receipts for applicants should be introduced in a phased manner. The e-district project should be extended to all districts.
The Committee also proposed that the government should enact a public procurement law along the lines of the government of India’s draft Public Procurement Bill. Issue of licences, contracts and grants should be posted to the websites for the information of the public. School text books should include themes such as corruption, citizen’s rights and public participation.
Director of Indian Institute of Management Samuel Paul, Retired Director General of Police P. K. Hormis Tharakan and T. R. Regunandan are the other members of the Committee.