BIHAR ANTI-CORRUPTION BILL GIVES NEW POWERS TO GOVT

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Moving swiftly to rein corruption at various levels, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has got the state legislature to pass the Bihar Special Court Bill, 2009, which, among other things, will enable the state government to confiscate property of the errant officials even if the matter was sub-judice.

The passage of the Bill was considered in political circles here as a major step in the direction of rooting out corruption from the state. With elections to the Lok Sabha round the corner, it is expected to enhance the ruling alliance’s standing among the people.

The legislation will arm the state administration with more teeth in dealing with cases of corruption involving public servants on a speedy and effective basis. The bill, approved by the state legislature, will envisage creation of special courts for ensuring disposal of corruption cases within a time-frame and, most significantly, it will enable the state government to confiscate the property in the disproportionate asset (DA) case even if the matter is not judicially decided.

The bill obviously will do with away with inadequacies of existing law which accounted for the tardy disposal of the corruption cases. “What is significant, the new bill will have the provision which will enable the government to confiscate the property of the public servants in the DA case. As of now, under the existing law, the government could not confiscate the property if even a civil servant was booked in a DA case “said the minister of water resources Bijendra Yadav who piloted the bill in the state assembly.

The bill seeks to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act which brings under its ambit central government employees also. The state government will therefore be required to procure the consent of the Centre on the bill which the government wants to push through at the earliest.

Incidentally, Bihar became the second state, after Orissa, to have passed such a legislation. The Naveen Patnaik government had earlier put in place a similar law with the consent of the Centre. “I don’t see any reason why the Centre should have any reservation to the bill. The bill, after it becomes an act, will act as a big deterrent for the public servants who may have amassed huge property beyond their known source of income “said Sanjay Jha, the BJP MLC lauding the efforts of the chief minister Nitish Kumar for taking such an initiative which “will be just the right move to rein in corruption at the government level”.

According to the bill, if the government — on the basis of prima facie evidence — will confiscate the property of the public servant in connection with a DA case after obtaining permission from the special court.

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