Law Commission vouches for new guidelines for commercial organizations to prevent bribery

Law Commission vouches for new guidelines for commercial organizations to prevent bribery

With the aim to prevent payment of bribery to public servants, the Law Commission on Friday recommended necessary norms by government for commercial organizations. The commission submitted the latest report to the law ministry proposing amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill, 2013. The report submitted the main amendments to Section 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18 etc. of the bill.

There is an explanation added to Section 8(2) of the bill, the phrase “another person” has been recommended to be clarified i.e. “another person” in this sub-section shall include a person being, or expecting to be, a public servant.” The revised new Section 10 of bill extends liability to any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the commercial organization who connived or consented in the commission of that offence. Such person is liable to be proceeded against and punishable with imprisonment which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years. Similarly, in Section 9, a new sub-clause is to be added to make it clear that "the central government shall prescribe and publish guidelines about the adequate procedures, which can be put in place by commercial organizations to prevent persons associated with them from bribing any person, being or expecting to be, a public servant". Furthermore, it is found that discrepancy exists insofar as the punishment given for the principal actwhich is less than that of abetment. Therefore, the words “apart from any offence under Section 15” are suggested to be inserted.

The Law Commission was quoted as saying that the guidelines shall be prescribed and published by the Centre "after following a consultation process in which the views of all the interested stakeholders are obtained". Separate procedures exist in three different laws viz. Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the Criminal Law Ordinance of 1944 and The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013for attachment and forfeiture in cases of corruption of public servants. There is a point made to replace the proposed sections 18A-18N with a single provision referring to the forfeiture and attachment procedures in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 or the Criminal Law Ordinance of 1944 ensuring stricter compliance with United Nations Convention against Corruption which India ratified way back in 2011. As a result, the related provisions under Criminal Law Ordinance, 1944 will apply to the relevant provisions under the bill.

Read the report here.