What is the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2018

Corruption in India has prevailed for ages. Corruption erodes trust in the system, weakens democracy, affects economic development, and increases inequality, poverty, social division, and an environmental crisis.

Corruption starts with opportunistic leaders who feel entitled to earn from fleecing people for any work.

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was enacted to prevent corruption in the offices of a public servant. Since then, no more changes were made in the act, which led to limited success.

With limited success of this act, a new act was required to be enacted. Thus, the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 was enacted on 26th July 2018.

Provisions of Anti-Corruption Bill

The provision of the anti-corruption bill can be classified into the following five categories:


In an earlier law only abetment was considered. After amendment of the act, giving a bribe is an offence and is punishable with 7 years of imprisonment except when someone is forced to give a bribe. The bribe is an undue advantage taken by any officials other than the legal remuneration offered to them. This offence should be reported within 7 days.

Criminal Misconduct

Criminal misconduct is used to cover offences including taking bride habitually and subsequently for free or at a concession for obtaining a pecuniary advantage for oneself or others without interest of the public.

Under the amendment act, criminal misconduct will include the following two offences:

  • Misappropriating property entrusted to the banker
  • Amassing assets disproportionate to far frame sources of financial gain

Pre-investigation approval

Police require prior approval from the relevant authority or the government to begin the investigation. This condition is not applicable when the accused is caught red-handed.

Sanction for Prosecution

A sanction is required for prosecuting former officials for offences in office.

Forfeiture of Property

The special courts introduced this section to attach and confiscate property, which the civil courts did under the 1944 ordinance.

Prevention of Corruption Bill (Amendment) Act 2013 as a Relief for Bankers

The criminal misconduct provision safeguards public servants from being wrongly prosecuted for official selections. Under the provisions of the act, bankers cannot be forced under the corruption law unless they accumulated assets quite disproportionate to what they could have obtained with their pay grade or embezzled assets entrusted to them.

The modification was introduced at a time when bankers face intense scrutiny for his or her loaning selections resulting in non-performing assets (NPAs). Bankers have argued for a protracted time that they ought not to be prosecuted for honestly loaning selections.

The modification conjointly intended to empower the general public to refuse to {offer|to provide|to present|to administer|to allow|to convey|to grant|to relinquish} a bribe with provisions of penalty for people voluntarily offering a bribe to government officers

Earlier, sanctions were required under the interference of the Corruption Act for serving officers solely. However, sanctions for IPC offences cover serving and retired officers.

Forfeiture of property can avoid a contemporary procedure to confiscate property obtained dishonestly and modify the court conducting a trial to try and do so itself.

People are happy about the pre-investigation approval rule. Earlier act did not have any similar provision within the act. However, a rule to that effect was enacted by the Supreme Court.

Prevention of Corruption Act 2018

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 to make the existing law rigid and expand the coverage of offence under the act.

Key Highlights of The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018

The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 included the following changes

Change in Definition

The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 included the following definition:

  • Prescribed: The term ‘Prescribed’ was introduced for rules that the Central Government can draft under the act.
    Following rules were anticipated;

    • Rules for organisations and companies to form guidelines and procedures to prevent their employees from providing undue advantages to the public servant
    • Rules for the prosecution of a public servant
  • Undue Advantage: This is defined to mean any gratification apart from legal remuneration. The term ‘gratification’ was processed to incorporate all varieties of gratification estimable in cash besides the medium of exchange.
  • Legal Remuneration: This remuneration was processed to incorporate all remuneration an employee can receive by the involved authority.

Key Amendments of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018

Time extensions:

The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 under Section 4(5) provided 2 years from filing the case in the court to complete the trial for corruption cases by the Special Judge. The time extension can be provided for 6 months. It provides that the trial should not exceed 4 years in any case.

Separate provision forgiver of the bride:

The amendment act provides a separate provision for the giver of the bride not provided under the Prevention of Corruption Act 2018. The amendment act under Section 8 provides this separate provision.

The amendment act addresses the supply side of corruption, which punishes people who give a bribe or promise to give a bribe or any undue advantage as a reward to a public servant for improper performance of the duty. Such a person shall be punishable with imprisonment of 7 years or fine or with both.

The section does not apply to the person forced to give a bribe or undue advantage to the public servant and has reported the law enforcement agencies within 7 years from the date of providing such benefit.

It is irrelevant whether such undue influence is received directly from the person who is to be bribed or by any other person.

Commercial Organisation:

The amendment act introduces corporate liability or commercial liability under Section 9. It not only covers companies, partnerships incorporated in India and performs business in India or outside India, but also includes partnerships and companies incorporated outside India and performing business in India.

The amendment makes commercial organisations guilty and punishable with a fine if a person associated with the organisation promises to provide undue advantage to obtain any business or benefit the conduct of the business.

Punishment as per the Prevention Corruption Act 2018

Punishment under Sections 7, 12, 14 of the Amendment Act has extended the sentence for the offence by a public servant from a minimum penalty of 6 months to a minimum punishment of 3 years and maximum punishment of 5 years to 7 years with or without fine. Sentences in cases of abetment also increase.

Punishment in case of a recurring offence is increased from minimum imprisonment of 2 years to 5 years and maximum imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years.

  • Corruption by Public Servant:

    The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 of Section 13 referred to the misuse of the property and unjust grounds for the misconduct of assets. It provided the grounds where the public servant can be accused of criminal misconduct.

  • Sanctions for Prosecution:

    The Prevention of Corruption Act 2018 requires the sanction of the appropriate government in case of prosecution of public servants. The Amendment Act under Section 17A extends the protection to prior enquiry or investigation before prosecution. Accordingly, no police officer can initiate an inquiry against a public servant, whether current or former.


Every legislation may be required to be amended from time to time as per the requirement of the society. However, it lacks to step as per the requirement of the society, it was required to amend it. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was an old act and was not amended from time to time. The Amendment Act of 2013 was a much-required step for the betterment of society as corruption is highly prevalent in and around everywhere and is spoiling the economy and environment and the growth of the society.

Thus, the Prevention Of Corruption Act of 2018 is a significant step by the Government to improve the condition of society and make laws even more severe.

FAQs on the Prevention of Corruption Act

What was the necessity for the amendment in the Prevention of Corruption Act of 26th of July, 2018?

The amendment was required to build an anti-corruption legal framework in conformity with current international practices laid down by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Who is a Public Servant Under the Prevention of Corruption Act?

A public servant is defined under the IPC as a government employee, officer in military, navy or air force, police, judge, officers of Court of Justice or any other local authority established under state or central legislation.

What is the need for the Prevention of Corruption Act?

The Prevention of Corruption Act was required to curb corruption in the country.

What activities amount to corruption?

Activities such as bribery, embezzlement, extortion, and fraud are some types of activities related to corruption.

Criminal Law