Corruption and Law


The word corruption has come from the Latin word “corruptus,” which means “corrupted” and, its legal meaning is the abuse or dominate by a trusted position in one of the branches of power (executive, legislative and judicial) or in political or other organizations with the intention of obtaining material benefit which is not legally justified in eyes of law for itself or for others. In Bible corruption means “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twist the words of the innocent.”

Mostly underdeveloped and developing countries are the major victims of corruption. The corruption is not only in one sector but it has spread in every sector.

Corruption is fully against the rule of law and sustainable development. In the Declaration of the High-level Meeting conducted on the Rule of Law, Member States observe the negative impact of corruption, which hamper the economic growth and development, decrease public confidence, transparency and chance of making of fair and effective laws, as well as their administration, enforcement.

What is corruption?

According to Roman law, corruption was defined as giving, receiving or claiming benefits in order to influence an official so that he works according to the person who gives bribe. Corruption may be defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Bribery is the most common method of Corruption. Bribery also consist the improper use of favours and gifts in exchange for personal gain. The favours include money, gifts, company shares and political benefits. Extortion is another major method of Corruption. It means to obtain property or money by force. Favouritism and nepotism is also a type of corruption which is still in usage. In an earlier time, bribes were paid for getting the wrong things done, but now bribe is paid for getting the right things done at the right time. Corruption has become something respectable in India because respectable and rich people are involved in it. Corruption is benefiting either of the party in terms of money or undue advantage. In today’s scenario, if a person wants to appoint in a government job then he has to pay lakhs of rupees to the higher officials irrespective of satisfying all the eligibility criteria.

Causes of corruption

Corruption is in different forms and differs from country to country but some of the general corruption which occur in all countries are:

a)         the influence of religion is visible

b)         low media freedom

c)         low level of education.

Political corruption is also prevailing at a large level in India. The major cause of concern is that corruption weakens the political body which damages the supreme importance of law that govern the society. Today’s politics is only for criminals and criminals are meant to be in politics. Another reason is that the salary which is paid to employees is very less and as a result of which they are forced to earn money by illegal ways.

Corruption laws in India

The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) was the first adopted by the General Assembly as an instrument against corruption. This convention made some general set of standards, measures and rules that is compulsory for all state parties to the convention to apply to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes for the fight against corruption. It prevents, detect and investigate corruption, and implement programmes to promote transparency, integrity and accountability in criminal justice and rule of law institutions. India is also a signatory to the UN Convention for fighting against Corruption since 2005. The Convention covers a wide range of acts of corruption and also made various preventive policies for fighting against corruption.

There are various provisions in India against corruption such as – Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 that prohibits Benami transactions.Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 which penalises public servants for the offence of money laundering.

Some of the important Act that deals with corruption are:

Indian Penal Code, 1860

• IPC defines “public servant” as a government employee, officers in the military, navy or air force police, judges, officers of Court of Justice, and any local authority established by the central or state Act.

 • Section 169 talked about public servant unlawfully buying or bidding for the property. The public servant shall be punished with imprisonment of up to two years or with fine or both. If the property is purchased, it shall be confiscated.

• Section 409 talked about a criminal breach of trust by a public servant. The public servant shall be punished with life imprisonment or with imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine.

 Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

•This act also define the public servant as “public servant” includes office bearers of cooperative societies receiving financial aid from the government, employees of universities, Public Service Commission and banks.

• If any public servant takes money as bribe for the official act or to influence public servants is liable for the minimum punishment of six months and maximum punishment of five years or fine or both. The act also penalizes any public servant for taking bribe to influence the public by illegal means and for exercising his personal influence with any public servant.

• If any public servant accepts any valuable thing without paying for that thing or gets money inadequately from a person with whom he is involved in a business transaction in his official capacity then he shall be penalized with minimum punishment for six months and maximum punishment for five years and fine.

 • It is necessary to obtain prior sanction from the central or state government in order to prosecute any public servant.

Process for corrupt public servants to start investigation and prosecution

 • There are three main authorities that are involved in inquiring, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases against the offenders are Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Cases related to money laundering by public servants deal with the Directorate of Enforcement and the Financial Intelligence Unit, that come under the Ministry of Finance.

 • The CBI and state ACBs investigate those cases that are related to corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The CBI’s deal with central government and Union Territories while the state ACBs deal cases within the states. States also refer cases to the CBI.

 • CVC is a statutory body that deals with corruption cases in government departments. The CBI comes under this body. The CVC have the power to refer cases either to the Central Vigilance Officer (CVO) in each department or to the CBI. The CVC or the CVC decide the action to be taken against a public servant but the decision to take any disciplinary action against a civil servant to decide by the department authority.

Ways of Stopping Corruption

To prevent corruption is to give a better salary to the government officers. Many government employees receive very low salaries like police in compare to their work. So they switch toward bribery to deal with their expenses. High salaries maybe reduce their motivation for corruption. And the second thing is tough laws which are also very important for stopping Corruption. Strict punishments are necessary for guilty individuals. And there should be an efficient and quick implementation of strict laws.


It is very big question in front of us that how to deal with corruption because the major step for this is self mentally develop yourself that you will not take part in this practice. Some countries have achieved great success in dealing with it in a very short time (Singapore, Estonia and Georgia) and some of them have been struggling for a long time (the most famous example is Italy). The first condition to deal with this problem is to ensure freedom (personal freedom, economic freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc.) and democracy, and then education and awareness of people.

As we all know that there is no conclusion of corruption it is like theft, murder, robbery, rape which humans do for their own benefit as Salmond says human is selfish by nature so the only powerful step is to punish the offenders in a harsher way means the higher the corruption the higher the punishment. This is the only way to live in a healthy society.

“The views of the authors are personal

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by Sustainable Development?

Sustainable Development means to fulfil the needs of present without compromising the of future generations to meet their own need or to build a new community in the undeveloped area without destroying the environment or ecosystem.

What is the rank of India in the Corruption Perception Index?

India got 80th rank in corruption perception Index which is released by the World Economic Forum. There are 180 countries in this Index.





Bhumitra Dubey
My name is Bhumitra Dubey a student of Dharmshastra National Law University in semester 2 nd. I am pursuing B.A.LLB. as my career option. I live in Chhatarpur (M.P.). I have done my schooling from Chhatarpur. My experience at university is very enriching. I am actively involved in practical projects, get opportunities to participate in a number of curricular activities like MUN, Debate, Chai PE harcha, International Conference. My active participation in writing has taught me many skills. I was also a member of Indian edition Week as a volunteer. I have been working in RLEk (Rural Litigation Entitlement Kendra) in Dehradun as an intern. Now I got the opportunity to join in your organization to explore new dimensions and for further development of my skills.