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Report No. 254

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013

Chapter I

Background to the Report

A. History of Anti-Corruption Law in India

1.1. Regulation of corruption in some form or the other has a long history in India. The first law broadly dealing with corruption and the attachment of property was a preindependence, war time ordinance called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944 (Ordinance No. XXXVIII of 1944) (hereinafter "1944 Ordinance"). It was enacted under the Government of India Act, 1935 to prevent the disposal or concealment of property procured by means of certain scheduled offences, including offences under the Indian Penal Code of 1860 (hereinafter "IPC").

The ordinance is one of the few remaining permanent ordinances, given that it was enacted when the India and Burma Emergency Provisions were in effect and when, the six month clause requiring ordinances to be statutorily enacted was suspended. It has subsequently been incorporated in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (hereinafter "PC Act, 1988") thus giving the ordinance, the status of law.

1.2. The first direct and consolidated law on the subject of corruption was the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, which was enacted in independent India to supplement the provisions of the IPC. The existing provisions under the IPC and other laws had proved inadequate to deal with cases of bribery and corruption of public servants, which had increased greatly during the war years, due to scarcity and controls.

Therefore, a new law was required to deal with various post-war scenarios, which provided multiple opportunities for corruption - these included post-war reconstruction schemes, termination of contracts, and disposal of a large number of government surplus stores.1 The 1947 Act sought to incorporate (with modifications) the attachment provisions from the 1944 Ordinance; introduced the offence of criminal misconduct, similar to section 13 of the present 1988 Act; and criminalised attempts to commit certain offences under the Act.

1. Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill preceding the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

1.3. However, the scope of the 1947 Act was considered too narrow and the PC Act was enacted in 1988 to replace the 1947 Act and certain provisions in the IPC dealing with corruption. It sought to, inter alia, widen the scope of the definition of public servant; incorporate the offences under sections 161-165A of the IPC; increase the penalties provided; and provide for day to day trial of cases.

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