Rajya Sabha passes anti-graft law amendments to make bribe giving a punishable offence

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which will make giving bribes to a public servant an offence.  The bill prescribes up to seven years of imprisonment or fine or both for bribe givers.

Earlier laws, while treating bribe giving as an offence, have not been brought under any specific legislation to check corruption. The amendment bill removes the provision that protected bribe givers from prosecution for statements they make during a corruption trial.
The amendment bill redefines criminal misconduct to cover just the misappropriation of property and the possession of disproportionate assets. It narrows definitions and penalties for a range of offences, and outlines powers and procedures for seizing the property of public servants accused of corruption.
The Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill that amends certain provisions of a 30-year-old anti-corruption law, unanimously with a voice vote. 
Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh said the bill has many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints.
"So overall, on the one hand the law against corruption has been made wide-based, on the other hand, the protection and safeguards of the functionaries have been made more effective," Singh said in the House.
The amendment bill had been first floated in 2013, by the Congress-led government. 
During the discussion on the bill, Congress leader Anand Sharma is reported to have asked why the Narendra Modi government had not yet appointed the anti-graft ombudsman Lokpal.