The civil society's demand for strong anti-graft laws and confiscation of black money got a big boost today with the Supreme Court favouring amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to root out corruption in the country.
A bench comprising justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar also sought amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, to tackle the problem of spurious drugs.
"In this country, if there are two laws that need to be changed or amended to act as a deterrent, they are laws relating to anti-corruption and sale of spurious drugs," the bench said while dismissing the appeal of an excise official in a graft case.
Counsel for the official, Satpal, argued that the conviction of the official Satpal was erroneous as the alleged bribe amount of Rs4,000 was more than the "permit fee" of Rs850, which the SC rejected. "There is no logic in the argument as bribe is demanded by officials irrespective of the nature of work," the judges noted.
"Today, the income tax department owes over Rs40,000 crore to tax payers towards refund money. But they don't give it. Why do you think they are holding the money? Because they want some bribe."
"Similarly, take the case of sale and supply of spurious drugs, which is rampant in the country. You may prosecute a person but he would get away paying a fine of Rs500. But, by that time, the patient would be dead. So, you need to amend these laws," the bench said.