Hegde questions need for sanction to prosecute public servants

Hyderabad, Feb 7 (PTI) Karnataka Lokayukta N SantoshHegde today said the need to obtain sanction from a competentauthority to prosecute public servants in cases of corruptionis weakening the fight against corruption in the country.

Speaking at a session on ''Confronting corruption'' atthe ongoing Commonwealth Law Conference here, he said, "Idon''t understand the reason for sanction. In 1988, theParliament amended the Prevention of Corruption Act and madethe bribe giver also an offender.

"Think of a situation. I am a public servant. I demandbribe. You want to get your work done quickly. So you give mea bribe. Both of us are caught by an investigating agency. Irequire sanction. My disciplinary authority is the Governorand I am very charming to the Governor. I ensure the Governorwould not give sanction. You do not require sanction. You aretaken straight to the court and prosecuted."

He felt that the need to obtain sanction is againstArticle 14 of the Constitution that deals with equality of allcitizens.

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

"These are the changes that is required if really onewants to fight corruption. But who wants to fight corruption.

Once you are in power, you are not interested in fightingcorruption," he said.

"Recently in Karnataka, the governor granted sanctionto prosecute the chief minister and it created a greatruckus," he said.

The government brought about certain amendments to thePrevention of Corruption Act in 2008 according to which threesections that were helping the prosecuting agencies weresought to be removed, he said.

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

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

Hedge regretted the slow pace of trial in corruptioncases.

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

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

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

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

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