New Delhi: Bribe givers can now be punished with a jail term of maximum of seven years under a new anti-corruption law that has got assent from President Ram Nath Kovind.
Besides, public servants politicians, bureaucrats and bankers among others have also been given a ‘shield’ from prosecution in the legislation that makes it mandatory for investigating agencies, such as the CBI to take prior approval from a competent authority, before conducting any enquiry against them.
The Centre has decided July 26, 2018, as the date on which the provisions of the Act shall come into force, it said.
The Act, however, states that such permission shall not be necessary for cases involving the spot arrest of a person on the charge of accepting, or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person. This ‘shield’ will be also applicable to retired public servants.
A first for bribe givers in India
- According to the amended law, any person who gives or promises to give undue advantage to a public servant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.
- Bribe givers were not covered in any of the domestic legislations to check corruption.
Giving bribes under coercion
To protect persons who give bribe under coercion, the Act has provided that ‘the person so compelled’, would have to report the matter to the law enforcement authority or investigative agency within seven days.