GoM finalises standalone legislation on corruption

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) A Group of Ministers (GoM)today finalised a draft "stand alone" legislation oncorruption to amend the relevant Indian laws to enable Indiaratify the UN Convention Against Corruption and is likely torecommend the same to the Union Cabinet.

The Centre had recently constituted the GoM headedby Home Minister P Chidambram to consider the proposals mootedby the Law Ministry on ratifying the United NationsConvention.

In its meeting here, the GoM is understood to havefinalised the enabling draft legislation and is likely toplace it before the Cabinet soon.

"The stand alone bill on corruption finalised todaywill help India ratify the Convention," sources told PTI.

An earlier GoM on the subject, constituted onSeptember 17 last year remained a non-starter and could nothold any meeting.

Other members of the re-constituted GoM are LawMinister M Veerappa Moily, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal andMinister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Narayanasamy.

During the G-20 Summit in Seoul, India had signed itsanti-corruption action plan, which requires it to ratify andimplement the UN Convention.

The need to refer the matter to the GoM arose afterdifferences persisted within the government on whetherappropriate legislation to amend the relevant Indian lawsshould be drafted before or after Parliament ratifies theConvention.

There is also lack of unanimity on whether the privatesector should be brought under the purview of theanti-corruption laws, including whether giving and acceptingof bribe there should be made a criminal offence.

The terms of reference of the GoM say that it wouldstudy the proposals with regard to the ratification of theConvention and give suggestions at the earliest.

Under UN Convention, once a signatory country ratifiesthe Convention, its private citizens, including businessmen,who indulge in corruption are liable to be punished.

Indian agencies can seek cooperation of the signatorycountries in investigating cases where they have informationabout the accused or his kin holding bank accounts in foreigncountries.

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