Topic: What are the gaps in India’s anti-corruption policies and procedures when measured against international standards? What needs to be done to fill these gaps?
- Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA) should be suitably amended so that the requirement of sanction does not become a pre-requisite in case of disproportionate assets and trap cases.
- Corruption should be defined in a comprehensive manner in the PCA.
- Giving or attempt to give bribe should also be covered as a primary offence in the PCA.
- Corruption by private sector which is related to public utility services should be included under the scope of corruption in the PCA.
- A separate legislation may be enacted analogous to the US False Claims Act as suited to prevailing circumstances in India.
Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has used extensive legal and investigative powers and innovative social strategies to produce significant reductions in corruption and change public attitudes. Many democracies would not confer such powers, but they can learn from the ICAC’s focus on civil society. Its massive, well-produced public relations campaigns have broken the belief that corruption is inevitable. Television advertisements publish a telephone number for complaints and promise protection. Corruption is portrayed, in such campaigns and in materials distributed to school children, as harmful to families, to the economy, and to traditional Chinese values. ICAC-funded concerts and sporting events foster social interaction with an anti-corruption theme.
Citizens’ voice can be used to expose, denounce and restrain corrupt behaviour. In Japan, for example, social disapproval has been the principal means of regulating the behaviour of civil servants. Social disapproval in Japan is expressed in several ways. One is social shaming of civil servants of questionable integrity. The other is political embarrassment, and as Japanese civil servants admit, political embarrassment can be a very effective form of expressing social disapproval of official conduct.
Topic: Ethics Infrastructure
- All Codes should incorporate the seven elements of ethics which are: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.
- There should be separate Code of Conduct for Ministers, members of legislature and other elected representatives.
- The Code of Conduct for civil servants should be amplified. It should prohibit them from associating with NGOs and hold elected office even in any club or social organization.
- Lokpal/Lokayukta Bills should be passed. These institutions should be empowered to entertain complaints against Ministers, MPs and MLAs and even to permit their investigation and prosecution.
- In respect of appointments, empanelment, promotions, transfers and disciplinary action in respect of civil servants of the rank of Joint Secretary and above, an independent Civil Service Commission should be created. This Commissionshould be appointed by a Committee consisting of Prime Minister/CM, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice and should be headed by a judge of Supreme Court/ High Court.
- In respect of professional bodies, even though Codes of Conduct exist, they are not implemented. This should change.
Topic: How can investigations be made more effective?
- The investigative agency should be brought under the superintendence of the Lokayukta.
- Necessity of sanction should be dispensed with or the Lokayukta should be made the sanctioning authority for the purposes of Sec.19 of PCA and Sec.197 of Cr.PC.
- Superintendence of prosecutions should also vest in the Lokayukta and public prosecutors should be specifically appointed for corruption cases.
- The Lokayukta should also have jurisdiction over redressal of grievances arising from mal-administration • Constitution shall be amended and a Central Law enacted to ensure that the institution of Lokayukta exists in every state /UT, the selection process is robust and impartial, proper personnel are provided, victimization of deputed officers does not take place on repatriation and there is financial autonomy. The provisions of Karnataka Lokayukta Act should be incorporated.
Topic: What specific steps can be taken to reduce the incentives for corruption?
- The manner in which the laws are implemented needs to be re-structured. Knowledge about the laws among citizens has to be dealt with to bring transparency.
- Moral deprivation in the larger perspective and increased consumerism should also be addressed.
- Market forces with regulatory mechanism should be brought to play wherever large public enterprises, large delivery systems, high technology and foreign investments are involved.
- Monitoring and vigil in a decentralized fashion should be introduced. • Shortages should be eliminated.
- Areas which affect vulnerable sections of the society should be targeted on priority. Citizen centric services should be introduced. Outsourcing should be promoted. Delivery systems in education, health etc should be re-engineered.
- Ministries with high risk should have in-house arrangement to review procedures. • Village records should be accessible.
- Internal supervision should be the primary responsibility of the Head of the Department.
- There should be transaction and process audit rather than concentrating on financial audit.
- There is no accountability on the part of the auditors. The whole functioning of the CAG would have to be revamped.
Topic: What are the weaknesses in existing system of investigation, prosecution and trial? How can these weaknesses be removed through legal/ procedural changes?
- Change of IO, IO burdened with cases, IO under political/bureaucratic influence, hostile witnesses, unavailability of adequate number of prosecutors, non accountability of prosecutors, lapses in examination of witnesses in court, shortage of funds etc. are the weaknesses of the system.
- By placing the superintendence and control of all aspects of anti-corruption establishment and investigation with the Lokayukta, adopting the mode of video recording of statements, providing security to witnesses, making prosecutors accountable, conducting trials on a day-to-day basis, placing anti-corruption cases on higher priority by the courts etc are some ways to strengthen the system.
- Disciplinary proceedings should be completed in a time bound manner.
Topic: How can civil society activities and public participation in governmental decision making (including at the panchayat level) reduce corruption? What measures should be taken to enhance transparency through greater transparency and use of IT and RTI.
- RTI should be used to enhance transparency.
- Initially, State Governments should put information about processes and rationale for decision making in the public domain. PIOs should be educated.
- E-governance should be used extensively.
- Mobile courts may be useful in bringing justice to the local level. Court processes may be made transparent by use of video cameras.
- Investigative journalism coupled with the use of RTI can enable citizens to become more aware.
- Independent surveys and opinion polls should be used, albeit carefully, towards making it an instrument of transparency