New Delhi: Bringing corruption into the heinous crime category, the Union Cabinet today approved official amendments to an anti-graft legislation enhancing the penalty under it to a maximum of seven years imprisonment from the present five years.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The proposed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 provides for more stringent punishment for the offences of bribery–both for the bribe giver and the bribe taker.

“Penal provisions being enhanced from minimum six months to three years and from maximum five years to seven years (the seven year imprisonment brings corruption to the heinous crime category),” a press release said.

To ensure speedy conclusion of corruption cases, a time limit of two years has been proposed.

“The average trial period of cases under PC Act in the last four years has been above eight years. It is proposed to ensure speedy trial by providing a trial completion (period) within two years,” it said.

It is also proposed to extend the protection of prior sanction for prosecution to public servants who cease to hold office due to retirement, resignation etc.

“Further, prior sanction for inquiry and investigation shall be required from the Lokpal or Lokayukta, as the case may be, for investigation of offences relatable to recommendations made or decision taken by a public servant in discharge of official functions or duties,” the release said.

The official amendments, approved today by the Cabinet will be the part of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Rajya Sabha, also provides guidelines for commercial organisations to prevent persons associated with them from bribing a public servant.

PTI

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Cabinet okays increasing penalty for corruption to maximum 7 years