Govt to make Prevention of Corruption Act more stringent

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 15: In order to further tighten noose around the corrupt elements and to ensure retrieval of money/wealth accumulated through corrupt practices without any major legal hurdles, the State Government has decided to make Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 more stringent and a four-member high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary has been constituted to suggest necessary amendments in the Act.
Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that on the directions of the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah a four-member committee comprising Administrative Secretaries of Law, General Administration and Home Departments and Commissioner Vigilance Organization and headed by Chief Secretary was constituted today.
The Committee will have detailed review of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 and suggest amendments in its various provisions to make the legislation more rigorous and harsh in order to leave no room for the corrupt Government servants to go scot free and ensure retrieval of money and wealth accumulated through corrupt means, sources said, adding though no time-frame has been fixed for the completion of task by the committee, the panel is likely to come up with set of suggestions within a period of next one month.
The amendments to be proposed by the Committee will be placed before the Cabinet and after receiving its nod amendment bill will be tabled in the State Legislature, sources said, adding the possibility of the amendment bill being tabled in the forthcoming Budget Session cannot be ruled out.
“The setting up of high-level committee to suggest amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 is the follow up of the directions issued by State High Court in a case titled Mohammad Amin Beigh Versus State and Others on July 9, 2012”, sources said while disclosing that in the case Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar had directed the State Government to take steps for amending the Prevention of Corruption Act or make new laws for retrieving the money/wealth and for confiscating properties which have been accumulated through corrupt practices.
In response to the High Court directions, the Chief Secretary filed an affidavit mentioning that a committee to suggest on the amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act would be constituted shortly. However, the High Court in its last order hoped that committee would be constituted within a period of two weeks and it would complete exercise within a period of one month from the date of its constitution, sources said.
Responding to a question, sources said, “there are no flaws in the existing Prevention of Corruption Act and the exercise set in motion with the constitution of high-level committee is aimed at making the law more stringent to tackle corruption, which has afflicted the every organ of the society, has become mother of all evils and is the serious most challenges being faced by the society”.
Chief Secretary, who is the head of the high-level committee constituted to suggest amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006, recently directed the State Vigilance Organization to increase the pace of investigation and bring out department wise patterns of misconduct/corruption for effective supervision. He also laid emphasis on streamlining the process of vigilance clearances and the pace and manner of the departmental inquiries being conducted by various departments.
The head of bureaucracy also reviewed the department wise status of corruption cases and the performance of State Vigilance Organization. At present, a total of 507 cases are pending trial in various courts of Anti-Corruption in the State whereas 131 cases were pending investigation till date.

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