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Select Committee on anti-graft amendment Bill gets extension

A Rajya Sabha Select Committee examining an anti-corruption Amendment bill was on Friday granted extension till the next session of Parliament, to submit its recommendations.

The term of the Committee, which was to submit its report on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013 during the current session, was extended till the Winter Session.

BJP’s Bhupender Yadav moved a motion in Rajya Sabha for extending the time for presentation of the report “till the last day of the first week of the next session,” which begins November end. The motion was then carried by voice a vote.

The amendment includes a provision for CBI or the police to obtain prior sanction before initiating action against alleged corrupt officials, both serving and retired.

The Bill was referred to the Select Committee in December 2015 in the wake of objections by some members.

The Bill, which seeks to amend the Anti-Corruption Act of 1988, provides for enhancing penalty for graft to a maximum of seven years from the present five years.

Originally, the 23-member Committee was to present the report by the last day of the first week of the budget session of Parliament. Its tenure was then extended till the monsoon session and now further till the winter session.

The Select Committee was headed by BJP MP Anil Madhav Dave. But with Dave being appointed the Environment Minister, the job went to Mr. Yadav.

The proposed legislation has a provision that “no police officer shall conduct investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant” under the PC Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in the discharge of his official function or duties without the previous approval of Lokpal (for central government staff) and Lokayuktas (for those working under state governments).

The Centre is yet to set up the institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas — as mandated under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

The Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on December 1 last year and moved for consideration two days later when members raised objections over certain clauses in it, arguing these overlapped with provisions of the Lokpal Act and more clarity was needed on them.

The Bill, pending before the Rajya Sabha for long, provides for more stringent punishment for offences of bribery, both for the bribe giver and the bribe taker, by amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

It also seeks speedy disposal of corruption-related cases providing that trial should be completed within 2 years.

It proposes to extend the protection of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants who cease to hold office after retirement or resignation.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 9:14:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Select-Committee-on-anti-graft-amendment-Bill-gets-extension/article14502941.ece

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