The Rajasthan Assembly on Thursday passed a significant anti-corruption legislation which would facilitate the government to confiscate and attach any disproportionate property amassed by corrupt public servants. The Rajasthan Special Courts Act, 2012 passed in the Assembly by a voice vote is modelled after existing legislation in Bihar and Orissa.
The legislation brings everyone who draws salary from the government, including the Chief Minister, under its purview. The judicial officers are also included. If the Special Court finds the public servant whose property is confiscated innocent later, the same would be returned to the person with 5 per cent interest on its value.
While the Opposition too was for more stringent tools to fight corruption in public life — their fears were about the misuse of the new law by the government in power — a token voting became necessary as they wanted the Bill to be sent for public opinion before it is passed.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, who piloted the Bill in the Assembly, said the legislation was for curbing corruption and for effective measures to take back the ill-gotten wealth from the wrong-doers through Special Courts. All the provisions in the Act are time-bound, with a set time period for various actions, he said. The Special Courts would have to decide on any case in six months' period and only under unusual circumstances a decision could be postponed. Even in that case the postponement, the delay could not be beyond three months, Mr. Dhariwal said.
Participating in the debate senior BJP member and former Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the public would revolt if the politicians failed to act fast to curb growing corruption. However, he resented the portrayal of India as a corrupt nation. “India is not a corrupt country. Only 1-2 per cent persons here are corrupt,” he said. Mr. Kataria also lamented the fact that the previous day the legislation on land, 90 A, was passed without any discussion after a mutual agreement between the ruling party and the Opposition.