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Report No. 166

The Corrupt Public Servants (Forfeiture of Property) Bill

1.1. The Background.-

In a judgment delivered on May 6, 1996 (reported in the Delhi Development Authority v. Skipper Construction Co. (P) Ltd., AIR 1996 SC 2005, the Supreme Court had made the following observations-a law providing for forfeiture of properties acquired by holders of 'public office' (including the offices/posts in the public sector corporations) by indulging in corrupt and illegal acts and deals, is a crying necessity in the present state of our society. The law must extend not only to - as does SAFEMA - properties acquired in the name of the holder of such property but also to properties held in the names of his spouse, children or other relatives and associates.

Once it is proved that the holder of such office has indulged in corrupt acts, all such properties should be attached forthwith. The law should place the burden of proving that the attached properties were not acquired with the aid of monies/properties received in the course of corrupt deals upon the holder of that property as does SAFEMA whose validity has already been upheld by this Court in the aforesaid decision of the larger Constitution Bench. Such a law has become an absolute necessity, if the canker of corruption is not to prove the death-knell of this nation. According to several perceptive observers, indeed, it has already reached near-fatal dimensions. It is for the Parliament to act in this matter, it they really mean business."

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