Cabinet clears bill to amend PCA

New Delhi: Seeking to keep a key anti-graft measure alive in Parliament even after the dissolution of the present Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Personnel today received post-facto approval of the Union Cabinet to introduce a bill in the Rajya Sabha to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Though the ministry had received the Cabinet’s approval to introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha, it was instead introduced in the Upper Houser in August last in order to keep it in the ‘live register’ of Parliament.

The Ministry had earlier received the approval of the Prime Minister to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. “Today, the Cabinet gave its formal approval on a post-facto basis to introduce the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had recently stressed on the need to pass certain anti-corruption bills pending in Parliament so that a “framework” to fight graft could come into effect. This bill is part of the framework or a “bouquet” of measures brought by the government to fight corruption.

According to the bill, an investigating agency may have to seek prior permission from the government before questioning a retired bureaucrat in a corruption case.

The provisions aimed at protecting retired bureaucrats will come into effect only after Parliament gives its nod to the changes in the Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Bill, 1988.

At present, there is no legal provision for investigating agencies to seek prior permissions to quiz a former government employee.