Centre Approves Changes in Anti-Graft Law to Protect Public Servants From Probes

The amendment proposes making it mandatory for investigating agencies to take prior approval from the government before initiating probes against public servants.

The Centre on Thursday approved changes to an anti-corruption law that may protect all government employees from prosecution.

According to the Times of India, the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, proposes making it mandatory for investigating agencies like the CBI to take prior approval from the government before initiating investigations against public servants.

Jitendra Singh, minister of state for personnel, said that the purpose behind mandating prosecution sanction for government officers under the anti-graft law was to protect honest officers and to ensure that bureaucracy, “an essential tool of good governance,” continued to work without any fear or favour.

“We have decided to introduce the anti-corruption amendment Bill in the winter session of parliament starting on November 16. A provision for safeguarding all categories of government employees is being offered in the Bill. The changes are to ensure that honest employees are not harassed,” he said.

According to Scroll.in, while recommending the amendment in August, the parliamentary committee had said that in cases where a government employee is arrested on the spot for “accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage”, the CBI and other agencies, however, do not have to seek the Centre’s approval to investigate.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 19, 2013, during the United Progressive Alliance rule, the Times of India reports and was approved by the Cabinet in April 2015 and sent to the select committee in December 2015 for examination.

(With PTI inputs)

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