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Corrupt officials face harsh penalty

As the brouhaha over Hazare's campaign against corruption increases, the government is considering a slew of measures for faster punishment to corrupt officials, including termination of service, once the trial begins. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2011 02:09 IST
Chetan Chauhan

As the brouhaha over Hazare's campaign against corruption increases, the government is considering a slew of measures for faster punishment to corrupt officials, including termination of service, once the trial begins.

The government is considering a set of recommendations by a committee of experts and a Group of Ministers (GoM) to pursue its policy of zero-tolerance towards corruption, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

One such measure is an amendment of Article 311 of the Constitution to allow termination of service on charges of corrupt practices after beginning of trial in a competent court.

The Article provides protection to government officials against dismissal till the accused is proved guilty by a court, or by a competent authority, without giving the official a chance to represent his/her case.

To quickly tackle cases related to corruption, the committee has asked the government to allow a two-month period for completion of minor penalty, and a year for major penalty cases and dispensing with consultation with the UPSC in case of minor penalty.

A new provision of plea bargaining in cases of major penalty inquiries has also been suggested by the committee.

To end delay in getting prosecution sanction, a GoM suggested that the prosecution sanction should come within three months in cases where a draft chargesheet and related documents have been submitted.

The GoM also recommended that a major penalty of compulsory retirement should be modified to provide for reduction in pension of up to 33%.

Both the expert committee and the GoM have recommended dilution of role of the CVC and the UPSC in initiating penalty action against officials who are found corrupt.