Hegde questions need for sanction to prosecute public servants

Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on Monday said the need to obtain sanction from a competent authority to prosecute public servants in cases of corruption is weakening the fight against corruption in the country.

Hyderabad: Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh
Hegde on Monday said the need to obtain sanction from a competent
authority to prosecute public servants in cases of corruption
is weakening the fight against corruption in the country.

Speaking at a session on `Confronting corruption` at
the ongoing Commonwealth Law Conference here, he said, "I
don`t understand the reason for sanction. In 1988, the
Parliament amended the Prevention of Corruption Act and made
the bribe giver also an offender.
"Think of a situation. I am a public servant. I demand
bribe. You want to get your work done quickly. So you give me
a bribe. Both of us are caught by an investigating agency. I
require sanction. My disciplinary authority is the Governor
and I am very charming to the Governor. I ensure the Governor
would not give sanction. You do not require sanction. You are
taken straight to the court and prosecuted."

He felt that the need to obtain sanction is against
Article 14 of the Constitution that deals with equality of all
citizens.

Hegde called for making changes in law like doing away
with sanction to strengthen the fight against corruption.

"These are the changes that is required if really one
wants to fight corruption. But who wants to fight corruption.
Once you are in power, you are not interested in fighting
corruption," he said.

"Recently in Karnataka, the governor granted sanction
to prosecute the chief minister and it created a great
ruckus," he said.
The government brought about certain amendments to the
Prevention of Corruption Act in 2008 according to which three
sections that were helping the prosecuting agencies were
sought to be removed, he said.

The amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act
were brought along with 16 other bills which were passed in 12
minutes by the Lok Sabha, he said.

He also favoured treating corruption as a violation of
human rights and boycotting corrupt people.

Hedge regretted the slow pace of trial in corruption
cases.

Responding to a suggestion that the properties of the
corrupt should be confiscated, he said it may not be possible.

Corruption would come down by 50 per cent if trial and
conviction or acquittal takes place in six months, he said.

"Conviction or acquittal should be over in six months
if possible," he said.

Evidences Act and other laws should be amended to
ensure a speedy trial, he said.

PTI

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