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Centre shields central govt employees approves changes in anti graft law

All central government employees may get a ‘shield’ from prosecution as the Centre has okayed changes in anti-corruption law and decided to make it mandatory for investigating agencies like CBI to take it’s prior approval before conducting any enquiry against them. Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the government has readied a draft anti-corruption amendment bill to protect honest officers. “We have decided to introduce the anti-corruption amendment bill in the upcoming Session of the Parliament. A provision for providing safeguard to all categories of government employees is being offered there. The changes are to ensure that honest employees are not harassed,” said Singh, Minister of State for Personnel.

The Winter Session begins from Wednesday. Talking to reporters, he said such a decision was necessary to ensure that the bureaucracy, which is essential tool of good governance, continues to work without any fear or favour.

The decision assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently said that the government’s job is
to ensure safety of honest employees. The move is also based on the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee, which had suggested the shield for public servants by making it mandatory conditions for probe agencies like CBI and police to take “previous approval” of competent authority before conducting any enquiry or investigation against a public servant — including from peon to Secretary.

However, such an approval will not be necessary for cases involving “arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person”, the panel had said. The Committee, that examined changes in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, gave its report in August this year.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 19, 2013 during the
UPA rule. However, it was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which had submitted its report to the
Upper House on February 6, 2014, but the bill could not be passed then. On April 29 last year, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act by pursuing the amendment bill after moving official amendments. It was on December 7 last year sent to the Select Committee for examination and report.

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