January 23, 2022

An Overview of Prevention of Corruption Act


Meaning of Corruption

The term ‘Corruption’ is derived from the Latin word “corrupts” meaning “corrupted”. Corruption refers to dishonest or deceitful behavior on account of the persons possessing power including government officials or other managers. Corruption certainly includes either giving or accepting inappropriate gifts and bribes, under table payments, money laundering, and black money, tampering elections and cheating the investors. India is considered to be one of the nations with high corruption. After the 2G spectrum case and commonwealth games scam held in 2010, the Parliament decided to amend this Act. The major reasons behind individuals indulging in corruption so frequently are their desire for illegal gains, greed for money and prevention of furtherance of any offence. It is observed that the illegal gains precisely called the black money are further deposited in Swiss banks or World Bank to earn more black money.


The Prevention of Corruption Act came into force on 9 September 1988 by the parliament of India. The territorial extent of the Prevention of Corruption Act extends to whole India including the citizens of India outside India. Parliament made this action to remove corruption in government agencies and public sector businesses in India. For almost 25 years no amendment was made in this act. The objective of the Prevention of Corruption Act is to reduce the corruption in India in various government agencies and public sector businesses by combating against them. However, it is not only limited to taking measures to prevent corruption in government departments but also involves prosecuting and punishing the public servants involved in activities of corruption. In addition, the act also takes into consideration the persons who helped the offenders in committing the offence of either bribery or corruption.

The prevention of corruption act, 1988 is the act of parliament of India. This act contains 31 sections and 5 chapters. This act was enacted by the parliament of India. It applies in the whole India. Indian penal code was brought into force from 1-1-1862 though it received the assent of the governor-general of India on 6-10-1860. Indian Penal code chapter IX deals with all offences by or relating to public servants. This chapter does not deal with misconduct and abuse of power by public servants. Section 161 to 165 of IPC deals with offences relating to corruption committed by the public servant. Then a special act that is the prevention of corruption act came into existence. Then the public servant act, 1947 was expanded in 1988 to clearly define all terms including public servant and making the definition of various offences very clear. On 26 July 2018, the narrow definition of criminal misconduct came into force. With the help of IPC and act f 1947 and 1988, the Parliament of India decided to amend the act with new provisions. For almost 25 years no amendment was made in this act and was further amended in 2018 by the parliament of India. The important reason for the amendment was tightening up the existing provisions in the act and expanding the coverage of the offences.


These are the following salient features of prevention of corruption act:-

· Bribery:-

Bribery is explained U/S 171B IPC. Bribery means a person gives a gratification to any person with the object of inducing him or any person with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral rights or of rewarding any person for having exercised any such rights. Both the person bribe giver and bribe taker have been made responsible for the offence. A person who commits this offence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of 7 years.

· Criminal misconduct:-

As defined under section 13 under the Act, Criminal misconduct means misappropriation of entrusted property.

· Prosecution sanction:-

Sanction U/S 19(1) is needed for prosecution for offenses under the act for all serving or retired officials.

· The time limit of cases:-

The courts have a complete trial of offences within two years. After recording reasons for the same, the court could extend this duration six months at a time up to a maximum of four years.

· Commercial organization:-

The Act prescribes punishment of both directors as well the employees working in the commercial organizations by levying fine on the directors and employees indulged in bribery. They shall be punished with both imprisonment and fine.


  • In cases where a public servant either accepts money or gifts in their official duty besides earning their salary in return for a favor from any individual.
  • Any individual aiding the public servant in committing the offence.
  • In cases where an individual gives or accepts gifts for influencing the public servant through his personal connection, illegal methods, corrupt methods, then such person influencing will also be punished.
  • In cases where the public servant is in charge of committing criminal misconduct.
  • In cases where the public servant indulges in accepting bribes or does corruption with the one having business relation or official relationship.


These are the following highlights of this act:-

· Section 2 (d):-

The “undue advantage” means any gratification, other than legal remuneration. Gratification is not limited. Legal remuneration is permitted by a government organization and all the permissible to be received by the public servants. Public servants mean who are appointed by the government or not, who are in the actual possession of the situation. This implies that even non-pecuniary or non-monetary considerations such as gifts and favors not estimable in terms of money are also covered under “undue advantage”.

· Section 3:- Appointment of Special Judges

The Central and the State Government is empowered to appoint Special Judges by placing a notification in the Official Gazette.

· Section 4 (4):-

This section provides two a time limit of two years to complete a trial of the cases under the act. If the special judge is not able to complete the trial within 2 years; he has to record the reasons in writing and extend the completion period by six months. Such six-monthly extensions with reasons recorded in writing can extend the total trial period to the maximum limit of 4 years.

· Section 5:- Section 5 of the Act prescribes procedure and powers of Special Judge prescribed by the Cr.P.C. for the trial of warrant cases by the Magistrate.

· Section 7:-

A public servant who obtains the undue advantage as a reward for the improper or dishonest performance of public duty. Public servants are defined as those persons who are appointed by the government. This section explains about the dishonest or improper performance of a public servant for illegal gains for money. In this offence the person shall be punished with an imprisonment of 3 years which can be extended to 7 years and fine.

· Section 8:-

Any person who promises to give undue advantages to another person as a motive or reward to induce a public servant for improper performance of public duty. If a commercial organization has committed such offence, such organization shall be punished with a fine. The undue advantage could be given directly or by the help of the third party. The bribe taker shall be punished with imprisonment of a term of 7 years and fine.

· Section 9:-

Bribing a public servant by a commercial organization: If a person is said to give promises to give undue advantage to a public servant if he has alleged to have committed an offence U/S 8 irrespective of whether or not he has been prosecuted for such offence. Any person who is associated with the commercial organization gives promises to give undue advantage to a public servant to retain the business of the commercial organization.

· Section 12:-

Abetment of offences: If a person abets other people and commits the offence under this act, they shall be punished with an imprisonment of 3 years which can be extended to 7 years and fine.

· Section 13(1):-

Criminal misconduct by a public servant: A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct. If the person dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his use of any property entrusted to him or any property under his control as a public servant or allows any person to do so. The person shall be punished with imprisonment of term 5 years which may extend to 10 years and fine.

· Section 14:-

Punishment for the habitual offender: A person is said to be a habitual offender when he has the habit of commits the same crime again and again. The habitual offender shall be punished with imprisonment for the term of 5 years which may extend to 10 years and fine.

· Section 15:-

Punishment for attempt: A person who commits an offence of misappropriation of funds or property shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 years and fine.

· Section 17A:

Granting sanctions for the prosecution: The government needs the public officials for prosecution. The amended act extends the protection of requirement of prior approval to any inquiry, inquiry or investigation before prosecution. There will be no need of prior approval will be necessary for cases involving the arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or accepting to accept any undue advantage for himself or any other person.

· Section 18 A:-

A provision of criminal law amendment ordinance, 1944 to apply to attachments under this act: shall as far as may be, apply to the attachment, administration of attached property and execution of the order of attachment or confiscation money or property procured through an offence under this act.

· Section 29:-

Powers to make rules: The central government has the power to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the act.

According to a survey, it has been reported that all over India, more than 70% of the people are corrupt. Almost every other individual is engaged in one or the other business through which they could earn black money besides their income or profits. While observing the functioning of government organizations, many agents are seen working and acting as a medium to resolve the problems as well as completing the work of those individuals facing some problems. The same is done by means of corruption and bribery, given by the common people and accepted by the agents on the pretext of faster completion of their work and resolution of issues. The people usually have fear of long lines and crowded places, delay in the whole process, postponement in the resolution of issues and so such people end up paying the money to the agents. Thus, it can be concluded that the people of India are itself giving birth to this heinous offence of corruption and this special act is made to stop corruption.

Author: Kritika Oberoi

Editor- Yashika Kapoor

The views of the author are personal only. (if any)

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