The government has overruled the objections raised by the CBI and CVC on the introduction of a new anti-graft law to book foreign government officials and agents allegedly involved in acts of corruption in India.
The department for personnel and training (DoPT) has rejected their argument that the existing Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) is enough to deal with graft and changes should be made to it rather than going in for a new law.The parliamentary panel, which examined the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Public International Organisations Bill, 2011, has supported the government view that a new law was the need of the hour.
It has pointed out that India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against corruption, which makes it mandatory to "declare as a criminal offence, bribe giving and taking by foreign public officials and officials of international organisations."
In its presentation before the standing committee for law, justice and personnel, the CBI stated: "Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) has withstood the test of time in courts…It is very likely that the proposed new bill may run into an unintended conflict with the PCA."
The CVC cited differences in provisions of the two bills dealing with the same offence, which could “create problems in tackling domestic corruption.”
The CVC stated: "The new bill proposes a maximum punishment of seven years whereas the PCA prescribes a maximum jail term of five years. The Indian persons or entity would be treated differently for bribing a foreign public official and for bribing a domestic official."
The DoPT, in its response made it clear that the proposed new law is part of the government's global commitment to prevent corruption.