The Prevention of Corruption Act: An Overview

The Indian Parliament passed the Prevention of Corruption Act in 1988 to address issues related to corruption and its prevention. Jammu and Kashmir had previously been exempt from the law's application, but it is now included on the list. In 2008, it was revised in order to serve better the needs of the populace. There are a total of 37 parts and 5 chapters in the act, which covers every law, regulation, judge nomination, and penalty and punishment for the offense. The Act makes sure that an impartial inquiry is conducted free from any outside pressures in order to punish those responsible for these criminal offenses.


The law was passed with the intention of preventing the sale or concealing of property obtained by corruption, bribery, and other related offenses. The Prevention of Corruption Act includes defined ordinance.

Provisions under the Act

The provisions are −

Provisions Chapters Content
Section 1− Section 2 I Preliminary
Section 3 − Section 6 II Appointment of special judges
Section 7 − Section 16 III Offences and penalties
Section 17 − Section 18 IV Appointment of special judges
Section 19 − Section 31 V Sanction for prosecution and other miscellaneous provisions

Punishments and Penalties

The punishments are −

  • Any citizen who works for the government may be arrested for breaking this legislation if they are found to be engaging in improper behavior. Considering the officials conducting the inquiry.

  • In the instance of Delhi, no officer with a rank lower than Inspector is permitted to handle the legal aspects of this matter.

  • An Assistant Commissioner of Police is chosen to oversee the investigative process in metropolitan cities like Bangalore or Kolkata.

  • No one else has access to the investigation anywhere other than with the consent of a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

  • The degree of the malpractice committed is the only factor that determines the punishment and sanctions that will be applied.

  • In the cases where, if you were found guilty of any corruption throughout the inquiry, you might spend the next six months to five years in prison for asking for satisfaction other than what is required by law. Depending on your position, specific monetary penalties may also be levied.

  • By engaging in unethical and corrupt behavior, you risk receiving a minimum sentence of 3 years in jail, which may be increased to 7 years, as well as significant financial penalties.

  • Taking use of your position of power to influence public officials can result in a legal notice requiring you to pay a fee as well as a jail sentence of 6 months to 5 years.

  • If a public employee engages in criminal misbehavior, they may face a sentence of up to 7 years in jail and steep financial penalties.

Provisions for Penalties under the Act

The provisions are −

Provisions Content
Section 7 Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act.
Section 8 Taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant
Section 9 Taking gratification, for exercise of personal influence with public servant.
Section 10 Punishment for abetment by public servant of offences defined in section 8 or 9.
Section 11 Public servant obtaining valuable thing, without consideration from person concerned in proceeding or business transacted by such public servant.
Section 12 Punishment for abetment of offences defined in section 7 or 11.
Section 13 Criminal misconduct by a public servant.
Section 14 Habitual committing of offence under sections 8, 9 and 12.
Section 15 Punishment for attempt.
Section 16 Matters to be taken into consideration for fixing fine.

Amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

As we examine the development of this statute since it came into effect in 1988, we find that it underwent two public interest amendments. To increase the impact on the citizens, various improvements were made in the years 2013 and 2018. Therefore, the highlights of the amendments of 2013 are −

  • Bribery was declared a criminal offense. In order to avoid prosecution, a person who is required to bribe should report the occurrence to law enforcement within 7 days.

  • The modified criminal misbehavior was expanded to include two new categories of offenses. When someone amasses money that is out of proportion to their property, it is considered illicit enrichment.

  • The adjustments were only made after receiving permission from the appropriate government agency to look into any possible criminal activity by public employees. There is no need for clearance, though, if the criminal has already been detained for accepting bribes.

  • If the case is referred to a special judge, the trial period under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been set at two years. It is anticipated that the trial will only last four years, and in no case, more.

Therefore, the highlights of the amendments of 2018 are −

  • Any government employee or servant will get a jail sentence of three to seven years as well as the associated financial fines in case of proven guilty.

  • The 2018 amendment added a clause to protect those who are coerced into paying bribes with the requirement that they notify the authorities of the situation within a week.


The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 came into effect on September 9th, 1988, to protect the rights of citizens and prevent them from being compelled to pay hefty fees to government employees in exchange getting their official work done, commonly known as bribery, which the Indian government considers to be a crime. Any person in India who is a registered government servant or official is considered to be in breach of the law and has committed a criminal offense if they are found soliciting for money in addition to what they are paid by the government.

Frequent asked questions

Q. What is the punishment for corruption?

Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

Q. Is corruption a civil case?

There are courts, tribunals, and government agencies that undertake the implementation and/or investigation and adjudication of corruption cases that may be criminal, civil, or administrative in nature.

Q. What are the major types of corruption?

The most common types or categories of corruption are supply versus demand corruption, grand versus petty corruption, conventional versus unconventional corruption, and public versus private corruption.

Q. Is corruption a crime?

Corruption creates a fertile ground for organized criminal activities, even terrorism, as criminals are aided in their illegal activities by the complicity of corrupt public officials. Economic globalization has made corruption a borderless crime.

Q. What does cause government corruption?

In short, political corruption can be attributed to strong urban traditions of ethnic voting, semi−corrupt police, and bribe−offering contractors, along with decentralized and inefficient law enforcement machinery.

Updated on: 19-Dec-2022

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