A step towards fighting corruption

Source– The post is based on the article “A step towards fighting corruption” published in The Hindu on 7th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Important aspects of governance

Relevance– Issues related to corruption

News– The article explains the recent Supreme Court judgement on corruption in public life. It also explains the reason behind corruption by public servants and important aspects of the fight against corruption.

What are notable points of recent SC judgement in Neeraj Dutta v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi)?

It lowered the requirement for the quantum of evidence to convict persons charged with corruption.

It laid down that even if prosecution witnesses turn hostile, a conviction would be possible. This will be possible if circumstantial evidence produced by the prosecution points unmistakably to the guilt of the accused.

The court has directed that infirmities such as non-availability of the complainant should impact the prosecution.

What are important aspects to fight against corruption?

There are two aspects to the fight against corruption. The first is the severity of the law and its application. The second is the strength of public opinion that would help carry forward the campaign for a clean public life.

Deterrence by strong laws works only up to a point. It disregards the fact that the more penalties for criminal behaviour will increase the quantum of proof required for conviction.

What are the reasons behind the misdeeds of public servants?

Corruption by public servants can be partly attributed to political corruption. No entitled service can be obtained without bribing the administrative or political hierarchy.

Jobs are often sold at a price. Many applicants are prepared to pay without a complaint as there is acute unemployment.

No approval for construction of a building or for registration of a property is possible without payment of a bribe.

Several public servants involved in this racket cite illegal demands from the political hierarchy as the reason for such bribes.

Will the SC judgement be effective in tackling corruption?

It may not deter people from corruption.

Corrupt public servants will find other means of covering up their misdeeds. Many are willing to offer bribes to public servants. This nexus between offender and victim has become a part of our ethos.

 

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