​Know your Law: The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

India is a welfare state and the Government plays a major role in ensuring law, order and well being of its citizens. The Central and State Governments come up with schemes, policies and legislations for the growth and development of the people who have voted them into office. However, if the executives who implement Government efforts are corrupt and inefficient the machinery of the State cannot achieve its objectives in spite of the best resources in place.
The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was enacted with the objective of curbing the menace of Corruption in the Administrative and Bureaucratic Setup in India. The act lists offences committed by both Public Servants and Third Parties who try to misuse their position and influence for personal gains.

The Act under Section 2(c) lists all the categories of people who come under the purview of a public servant and it makes special mention to the fact that people who are holding the mentioned positions even if not appointed by the Government come under the category of public servants. These positions include any person in the service/pay of the of the Central or State Government for performance of public duty, local Authority, Corporation, Service Commission, Court of Justice, Liquidator, Arbitrator, related to Conducting Elections, or  Registered Cooperative Society.

Chapter III of the Act containing Sections 7 to 16 provide for the Offences and Penalties under this Act. These include an array of offences like accepting gratification other than legal remuneration, criminal misconduct, abetting the use of influence over him by a third party,  and attempting these offences that attract penalty to the Public Servant under this Chapter.

Section 7 provides that a Public Servant, if he accepts, any gratification other than legal remuneration, i.e., all that he is permitted by the Government to accept, for himself or any other person, as a motive or reward for doing something he would in the exercise of his official functions in the capacity of a public servant, is to be punished with a imprisonment of minimum three years extendable to seven and also be liable to fine. It is imperative to note here that whether what he did in lieu of the gratification was justified or otherwise is of no importance.

Section 10 provides that if he abets any third party, who can exercise influence over him to accept gratification in lieu of him doing something in exercise of his official functions in the capacity of a public servant, whether or not the gratification is received or the act performed is liable to be punished with a minimum imprisonment of six months extendable to five years and would also be liable to fine.

Section 11 further provides that if a public servant obtains any valuable thing that is though not a consideration in lieu of any thing to be done in exercise of his official functions in the capacity of a public servant but is accepted from a person related to his office and its proceedings in any capacity shall be punished with a minimum imprisonment of six months extendable to five years and would also be liable to fine.

Section 13 of the Act provides for Criminal Misconduct by a Public Servant wherein a Public Servant commits the offence as mentioned under Section 7 or 11 habitually, or misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use property entrusted to him in the capacity of a Public Servant or allows any other person to do the same or obtains any pecuniary advantage or valuable thing by corrupt or illegal means, by abusing his position as a public servant, while holding office as a public servant or has amassed disproportionate assets  is guilty of criminal misconduct and is punishable with imprisonment for minimum four years extendable to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.

It further provides that only a Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Inspector of Police can investigate the offence without the order of a Judicial Magistrate First Class or Metropolitan Magistrate and no disproportionate assets offence can be investigated other than on the permission of a Superintendent of Police. This Act covers all aspects of corruption employed by Public Servants that hamper the Government structure, its Schemes and Activities and the requisite punishments to prevent corruption at all levels in the Country.

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