In this Article I am discussing Development of Laws in our country along with Anti Graft Laws
with special mention to Ombudsman System and Lokpal and Lokayukta setup in India.
Gone are the days when Law and Legal News were involved only as a small section of our daily
lives. With what happening in our country and World as a whole, it’s not an option to be
unaware of Laws. More so, with recent monumental judgments of the Supreme Court – Privacy
Judgment, Adultery Judgments, Decriminalization of Homosexuality, etc. – Law and Legal
News are everyday making new Headlines.
But like any other year, even this year there were some negative news that grabbed our attention
like – various scams, Auditing and Accounting errors, etc.
In lieu of this it is important to discuss some of the important Anti-Graft laws (Anti Corruption
Law) of our country: Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, National Financial Regulatory
Authority, Whistleblower Protection Act, Prevention of Corruption Act, Lokpal and Lokayukt
Act. In this article the main focus is on Lokpal and Lokayukt Act.
Ombudsman is a system wherein citizens’ problems and grievances is solved by an Independent
Authority. Lokpal is an Indian synonym for Ombudsman. The Lokpal and Lokayukt Act, 2013
came into force on 1 st January 2014.
Anti Corruption Laws in India
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty
and political, depending on the amount of money lost and the sector where it occurs. Corruption
is dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people such as government officials or
police officials. Corruption in civilized society is like a cancer, which if not deducted in time it
sues to malign the polity of the country leading to disastrous consequences.
Since, time immemorial, corruption is considered to be an unethical and immoral practice
throughout the world. However in the modern time corruption is having devastating effect on the
economy i.e., paralyzing the business and commons.
According to Transparency International (Corruption Perceptions Index 2017), India is
ranked 76 of 167 nations. This in turn is adversely affecting the image of India as prefer
destination to do business.
In India, before the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 came into force; offence of bribery and
corruption committed by or in relation to public servants were dealt with by sections 161 to 171
of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance Act, 1944, was enacted to prevent the disposal or
concealment of the property produce as result of certain specified offences. Thereafter the
Prevention of Corruption Act of 1947 was enacted immediately after independence. This was
due to the fact that provisions under the Indian Penal Code and other laws were inadequate to
deal with cases of bribery and corruption of public servants, which had arise in post war scars
resources. In 1952, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed as the existing laws were
found to be inadequate to deal with the evil of corruption.
However even the combined effect of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, and the
Criminal Law Amendment Act 1952, did not have the expected impact on the problem of
corruption, its prevention and eradication. Moreover it was found that having 3 diverse
enactments on the corruption led to confusion and miscarriage of justice.
Presently, the Anti Corruption Laws in India are broadly covered by the Indian Penal Code,
1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 under which public servant can be penalized
for corruption. Apart from these two legislations, there are many other legislations and
government regulations relating to corruption in India. The public servants can be penalized for
offence of money laundering, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The
Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 prohibits benami transaction. The Right to
Information Act, 2005, Central Vigilance Commission Act and Lok Ayukta Act of States,
also form part of Anti Corruption Laws in India.
India is also a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption since 2005. The convention
covers wide range of Acts on corruption and also proposes certain preventive policies. The
underline object behind offences relating to corruption ensures honesty and high standard of
integrity among the public servants.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
The Indian Penal Code has criminalized activities coming under corruption including taking
gratification in respect of an official act, taking gratification in order by corrupt or illegal means
to influence public servants, obtaining valuable thing without consideration from person
concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant. However these provisions
were reply by the enactment of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Indian Penal Code
defines ‘public servants’ as a government employee, officers in the military, navy or air force;
police, judges, officers of court of justice, and any local authority established by a central or state
Section 169 deals with a public servant unlawful buying or bidding for a property. It provides
that whoever, being a public servant, and being legally bound as such public servant, not to
purchase or bid for certain property, purchases or bid for that property, either in his own name or
in the name of another, or jointly, or in shares with others shall be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; and the
property, if purchased, shall be confiscated.
Section 403 provides for dishonest misappropriation of property. It states that ‘whoever
dishonestly misappropriates or convert to his own use any movable property, shall be punished
with imprisonment of either description foe a term which may extend to two years, or with fine,
or with both.
Section 405 deals with criminal breach of trust. Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with
property, or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his
own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any
direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of ant legal
contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or wilfully
suffers any other person so to do, commits ‘criminal breach of trust.’
Section 406 provides for the punishment of criminal breach of trust. Whoever, commits criminal
breach of trust shall be punished with the imprisonment of either description for a term which
may extend to three year, or with fine, or with both.
Section 409 deals with criminal breach of trust by a public servant. Whoever, being in any
manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property in his capacity of a public
servant or in the way of his business as a banker, merchant, factor, broker, attorney or agent,
commits criminal breach of trust in respect of that property shall be punished with the
imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to
ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
This is all in our Indian Penal Code. Now let’s know about Ombudsman and Lokpal
Ombudsman is a Swedish word which means ‘legal representative’. Basically it’s a Scandinavian
word which means commissioner who has the duty of investigating and reporting to parliament
on complaints from citizens against the government authorities. A prototype of an ombudsman
may have flourished in China during the Quin Dynasty (221BC), Finland 1919, Denmark 1953,
New Zealand 1962, Norway 1963, England 1966, and Australia 1976. In India it first came as
chief Vigilance Officer in (1962 – 1964).
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
It established in 1964 based on the santhanam committee, 1962. It was the highest authority for
Anti Corruption. It was attached to Home Affairs; however the commission was independent
from the government. The commission was headed by central Vigilance commissioner, who was
appointed by the President of India. There was several powers given to Central Vigilence
Commissioner but the main duty was to prevent the people of India from corruption and conduct
proper inquiry and punish the culprit. 7 th January 1999 was the last working date of this office.
History of Lokpal
In 1960, the concept of a Constitutional Ombudsman was first proposed in parliament by Law
Minister Ashok Kumar Sen.
In 1962, MC Setalvad the then Attorney General of India suggested for Ombudsman at the All
India Lawyer’s Conference.
In 1968, the first Jan Lokpal Bill was proposed by Adv Shanti Bhusan. It was passed in Lok
Sabha but didn’t pass through in Rajya Sabha.
In 1970, the bill got introduced again and failed.
Between 1968-2013, the bill got introduced 10 times and failed.
In 2011, Anna Hazare’s Anti Corruption Movement helped in implementation of Lokpal.
On 18 December 2013, the Lokpal Bill passed.
On 1 st January 2014, Lokpal came into force.
Lokpal is appointed by President through the selection committee consisting of PM, speaker of
Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court
judges nominated by CJI.
The term of their office is 5 years. It consists of maximum 8 members team in which 50% should
be from judiciary. And 50% from SC/ST/OBC/Minorities/Women. There should be no political
connection, no office of profit and no alternative employment.
It functions against public servants. Firstly it receive complains then submit a copy to concerned
authority and servant then proceed towards camera enquiry after this they summon the
witness/doc they seize the docs and write conclusion which is communicated to authority to
propose the action within 3 months.
At the end I only want to conclude that there are several Anti Corruption Law in India, but as
long as we keep giving bribes, the officials will keep taking bribes, so first we have to change
ourselves, then only we can imagine of corruption free India.
clg name: IMS Law College Noida