A Comparative View of Anti-Corruption Laws of India
A Legal, Regulatory, Tax and Strategic Perspective

June 13, 2016


A Comparative View of Anti-Corruption Laws of India  

Our Anti-Corruption Practice Group is pleased to present the above publication which can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnail. This publication introduces the complete framework regarding laws relating to corrupt practices in India. It is intended to act as a broad legal, regulatory and strategic guide to aid in decision making process when deciding to invest, start, supervise or carry on operations in India. While Indian law relating to corrupt practices is not as comprehensive as laws in other jurisdictions, the publication seeks to answer questions and issues commonly raised by overseas investors while looking to enter India or oversee operations in India. This publication also has special reference to foreign jurisdictions, including USA, UK and Singapore and international standards. Hope you have a good read.

For any help or assistance please email us on anticorruption@nishithdesai.com.

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Key Points

  1. India’s principal law relating to corrupt practices is the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (POCA), which prosecutes the offence of receiving bribes by public servants.

  2. Offering of bribes is not ordinarily prosecuted as the bribe-giver is given immunity when he is the complainant.

  3. POCA does not prosecute offences relating to bribes in the private sector

  4. POCA also does not provide for a measure to settle offences (plea bargaining or compounding of offences).

  5. India does not have a law relating to public procurement – the bill that was introduced in 2012 has since lapsed. Various ministries and government departments follow a set of standardised norms for public procurement and importantly, the norms provide for blacklisting vendors.

  6. India has a law in place for whistle blowers – however, this too has limited application and amendments have been moved to expand the exclusion.

  7. Consistent with international standards, tax deductions are not allowed in respect of illegal gratification. In certain circumstances, contributions to political parties are permitted and deductions in respect of the same are also allowed.

  8. India’s laws relating to corrupt practices do not provide for:

    • Action for damages by companies that have suffered due to corrupt practices,

    • Action against Government due to corrupt practices by public officials,

    • Prosecution for offering illegal gratification to international officials,

    • Guidelines to help companies maintain standards of integrity and probity in the administration of a company,

  9. India’s laws however provides for an active role for Public Interest Litigation activists. The Central Vigilance Commission and Comptroller Auditor General play an important role in highlighting deficiencies in the system which activists use for the purpose of addressing /prosecuting corruption in India.


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