Have you ever offered BRIBE or have you been offered Bribe?
Think over it yet. What did you gain out of it? A Certificate/ a tender/ or some monetary benefit. Did it occur to you, it’s a Crime and you are liable to be punished, IF CAUGHT. Didn’t it come to your mind, How can you punish this fellow whom you bribed? And how can you get your money back.
If YES, Read on…
Bribe, both in noun and verb form, has been prevalent since long time, both in India and worldwide. Where certain people have been benefited out of this, it has corroded the moral values of society and has left system laggard and crippled. By various acts in countries all over, Bribe (giving or taking) has been termed illegal and partners in crime are liable to be punished.
Today, I came across a wonderful Paper on “Why, for a class of bribes, the act of giving a bribe should be treated as legal?“
Dr Kausik Basu, an eminent professor and economic adviser to FinMin India, has authored this paper and is available on FinMin website.
Summary of the Paper
As I mentioned earlier, there is often a law against bribe. In India, it’s 1988 legislation called Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. According to this law, bribe taking by a public servant and bribe giving are Partners in Crime and both are punishable by anywhere between 6 months and 5 years.
Section 24 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, however, is an exception which would only apply if the bribe giver is unwillingly paying bribe in order to get the public servant trapped.
Dr Basu has classified Bribe in basically Two categories- Harassment and Non-Harassment bribes. In case of harassment bribe, as for now, both are liable to be punished. However Dr. Basu proposes in this paper a unique proposition which can create a divergence of interest between bribe giver and bribe taker and hence a mistrust. He suggests, the bribe giver should be let go free and the bribe taker should be fine double the amount. What I meant to say is that if at present both bribe giver and taker are paying fine of X amt, it should be like that bribe giver pays ZERO and bribe taker will have to pay 2 X amt. The basic idea is to create an air of mistrust between the two parties which should decrease the incident of bribery.
However, there are several caveats to this proposition. How this kind of act shall be a barrier to the moral values of society? Wouldn’t it increase the incidence of bribe giving simply because the giver has nothing to lose in the process.? And so on…
The paper is open to debate. This crime is ubiquitous sparing None. Lets make things better around us. Please give your opinions on this matter.