Bribe-givers will be punished as much as bribe-takers are, as the Parliament cleared the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2018 that provisions punishment for corruption by public servants as well as to those who bribed them.

After months of debacle and questionnaire, the Parliament came together on Tuesday to pass the much talked “Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018”. The new act will make major changes in the laws that govern how India’s fight against corruption is investigated and prosecuted. The ant-corruption act toughened punishment for bribe givers and made it equal to the crime of taking bribe – leading to equal punishments for bribe-takers as well as bribe-giver.

Toughening laws against corruption even further, the punishment for those found guilty (bribe-takers as well bribe-givers) has been raised from 6 months to 3 years of minimum imprisonment and extendable to 7 years – with fine. Also, repeat offenders will face minimum jail of 5 years, extendable up to 10 years with fine. Furthermore, if any employee or representative is found guilty of bribing, the superior functionaries of that company will be held responsible – in case it is proved that the superior officials allowed bribery for organisational benefits.

Besides tightened anti-corruption laws under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the government has made provisions to protect “honest bureaucrats” from performing their duties without fearing from malicious prosecutions. This act expands the definition of “undue advantage” to include everything other than legal remuneration.

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