Moily for changes to anti-graft law

Minister rues poor rate of conviction in bribery cases

 Veerappa Moily: I am pursuing the matter with the PM and govt The law minister’s proposal comes a day after Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan spoke of procedural delays in granting sanction for initiating legal action against corrupt officials. The minister was delivering the valedictory address at a national seminar on fighting corruption-related crimes, organised by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences here.

Moily said he has been persuading Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government to revisit Article 311 in order to initiate stringent action against corrupt officials.

The provisions of Article 311 are intended to affirm the security of tenure of government servants and to provide certain safeguards against arbitrary dismissal or reversion to a lower rank. Suggesting that Article 311 and Article 310 be repealed, Moily said fresh legislation could be enacted under Article 309 to provide for the terms and conditions of service of public servants, including protection against arbitrary action.

“There is no gainsaying that the provisions of Article 311 have come in the way of bringing corrupt civil servants to book. Article 311 would require a revisit,” he said. Moily quoted the Sanathanam Committee’s observation that the provisions of the Article, as interpreted by the courts, had made it difficult to deal effectively with corrupt civil servants.

“Even after Article 311 was amended, the panoply of safeguards and procedures still available is interpreted in such a manner as to make the proceedings protracted and, therefore, effete in the ultimate analysis,” said Moily.

He said the government needed to “redefine and revisit the criteria to obtain sanction.” He also expressed concern over the poor rate of conviction in bribery cases and said it reflected very poorly on the judiciary and the investigative agencies.

The Law Ministry was trying to plug loopholes and help launch a multi-pronged attack on corruption.

The Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by Moily, too, had proposed that Article 311 be amended in order to make the fight against corruption more effective.

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