The government is set to propose a change in the anti-graft law, which will enable citizens to know about the status of their complaints against corrupt ministers and officials within three months, during the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
The fresh amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act has been given the green signal after a six-month internal exercise within the government on account of a January 31 Supreme Court judgment, which laid down guidelines for granting sanctions to prosecute public servants within a definite time frame.
This new power for citizens, however, will come with a rider. The application, seeking sanction to prosecute a minister or any other public servant, will be considered only if the applicant has filed a police complaint or brought it to the notice of an appropriate court.
This was done after taking the opinion of attorney general GE Vahanvati under consideration.
"It is necessary to exercise caution because it is possible that an application for sanction of prosecution may be based on patent falsehood or even forged documents. In such a situation, the competent authority cannot be held bound only to see the material before it," he said.
According to existing provisions, the sanction to prosecute any public servant is given by the competent authority. In the case of officials, it is the minister concerned, and in the case of ministers, it is the PM.
The latest amendment in Section 19 of the PC Act, if approved by Parliament, will make it mandatory for competent authorities to take a decision within three months.
The government was spurred into action following adverse comments by the apex court in its January 31 judgment on a plea filed by Janata Party head Subramanian Swamy.