Panel seeks removal of immunity cover for MPs, legislators

Panel seeks removal of immunity cover for MPs, legislators

The commission had endorsed the suggestion of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) and sought an amendment to Article 105 (2) of the Constitution to remove the immunity cover for MPs and an amendment to Article 194 (2) to effect the same in case of members of state legislatures.

“Freedom inside the House cannot be used by them to solicit or accept bribe, which is an offence under the criminal law of the country,” the Commission said quoting NCRWC. The cash-for-query scam involving MPs in the recent past had re-kindled the debate on “the unfair  immunity” enjoyed by them.

In a chapter “Legal framework for fighting corruption,” the Commission said public servants causing loss to the state by their corrupt acts should be asked to pay for it and be liable for damages. “This could be done by inserting a chapter in the Prevention of Corruption Act,” it said.

Recommending speedy trials in corruption cases, the panel said a legal provision needed to be introduced, fixing a time limit for the trial, by amending CrPC and corruption cases be held on a day-to-day basis with “no deviation permitted.”

It was also suggested that the Prevention of Corruption Act  be amended to include private sector providers of public utility services and non-governmental agencies receiving substantial funding. Corruption in the private sector, as of now, does not come under the purview of the Corruption Act.

Confiscation of assets of  a public servant by enacting  legislation is another major recommendation of the Commission. The Corrupt Servants (Forfeiture of  Property)  Bill as suggested by the Law commission should be enacted without any delay. The ARC had suggested protection for whistleblowers by ensuring confidentiality and protection from victimisation in career and measures to prevent bodily harm.

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