An amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act 2013, proposing seven-year jail term for those who bribe government officials, has been passed by Rajya Sabha unanimously, The Times Of India has reported.
However, the bill provides immunity to those who declare that they were coerced to give the bribe within two weeks.
The bill was examined by a parliamentary standing committee, law commission and a select committee before being passed. The term 'Lokayukta/Lokpal' in the 2013 bill was replaced with the term 'competent authority'.
As per provisions of the bill, the investigative authorities require the permission of the Lokpal to file a case against a civil servant. The Congress objected to the provision as there was no Lokpal appointed by the government at the moment.
Minister of State in Prime Ministers Office (PMO), Jitendra Singh clarified that the ultimate authority would be Lokpal, but a competent authority would take care of complaints at the moment. He added that the Lokpal had not been appointed due to the lack of a recognised leader of opposition.
Jitendra Singh added that Lokpal would be the ultimate authority to provide permission for filing cases against civil servants.
The amendments passed by Rajya Sabha will come into force after Lok Sabha passes the amended bill.
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