India’s leaders have taken numerous steps in recent years to curb the pervasive corruption that grips the country. Right to information, whistleblower protection, and other preventive measures have been enacted; an anticorruption agency was created in 2013, and this past April the Cabinet recommended the legislature amend the anticorruption laws to stiffen the penalties for bribery. But despite the enormous attention the drive to combat corruption has garnered, a September 2015 Supreme Court opinion again pointed to a gaping a hole in the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, the nation’s basic anticorruption law, a hole that is easily repairable but that, until it is, makes convicting bribe-taking public servants far harder than it should be.
Why lawmakers have yet to seal the hole is a mystery. They have known about it since 2011, when the Supreme Court first exposed it. It is an easy one to close, and until it is closed who knows how many civil servants will demand bribes with near impunity? Continue reading