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          The largest democracy in the world, India @ Bharath, a dream of a patriot by name Mahatma, is glitters like thousands of twinkling stars, in its fight against corruption ultimately bulldozing the huge masses of corrupt materials from the Indian soil to Indian parliament on 22nd August, 2008.  This is the magic of Indian politics. Much is heard and said about corruption -  of this the more is said by the politicians and most is heard by the urban and rural Indian folks. Indian judiciary is mourning always with its so called strong verdicts with its most effective and sharper words in the vocabulary. But still corruption is spreading like HIV virus. 

Corruption is termed as a plague, which is not only contagious but if not controlled spreads like fire in a jungle. Its virus is compared with HIV leading to AIDS, being incurable. It has also been termed as royal thievery. The socio-political system exposed to such a dreaded communicable disease is likely to crumble under its own weight. Corruption is opposed to democracy and social order, being not only anti-people, but aimed and targeted against them. It affects the economy and destroys the cultural heritage. Unless nipped in the bud at the earliest, it is likely to cause turbulence- shaking of the socio-economic-political system in an otherwise healthy, wealthy, effective and vibrating society [1].

There is a close relationship between organized crime and corruption. In many cases where organized crime cannot achieve its objectives through the use or threat of violence, corruption may be a very effective alternative. But, unlike other forms of crime (such as drug trafficking, theft, fraud, and so on) corruption is never an end in itself: it is a means to an end - wealth, power, influence, favors or control. 

          The view on what constitutes corruption depends to a significant extent on the cultural, ethical and religious environment in which it exists.

The absence or weakness of leadership in key positions capable of inspiring and influencing conduct mitigating corruption; the weakness of religious and ethical guidance in this area; the absence of severe punitive measures for corrupt behavior; the absence of an environment conducive to anti-corrupt behavior; the state of society: corruption in a bureaucracy tends to reflect the values of the society to which it belongs; the lack of education; poverty; and radical change: whenever a value system is undergoing a radical change, corruption frequently emerges as a transitional malaise [2].

Mr. Vijay Rama Rao, former Director of Central Biureau of Investigation (India) warned that ‘Organized Mafias’ had infiltrated the police departments and even controlled governments in the west and we not far from such a situation. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India says that cases of white-collar crimes rise upto 600 percent with in 30 years [3].

          A new household survey released today by Transparency International (TI) reports high levels of corruption in public institutions in South Asia. Of the seven major public institutions, the police emerge as the most corrupt in all five countries surveyed. The judiciary was identified as the second most corrupt area in all countries except Pakistan, where land administration and the tax authorities were identified as the second and third most corrupt areas respectively. Land administration figures prominently in the list of the most corrupt sectors in four out of the five countries.

          The latest report by TI, entitled Corruption in South AsiaInsights & Benchmarks from Citizen Feedback Surveys in Five Countries, identifies high levels of corruption encountered by citizens attempting to access seven basic public services. In India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, 100% of respondents that interacted with the police during the past year reported encountering corruption. In Bangladesh, this figure was 84% and in Nepal, 48%. In their experiences with the judiciary, nearly all Indian (100%), Sri Lankan (100%), and Pakistani (96%) households polled reported paying bribes. Judicial corruption was also significant in Bangladesh (75% of users) and Nepal (42 % of users).

          After the police and judiciary, land administration was identified as the next most corrupt sector across the region, according to the experiences of South Asian households. In Pakistan, 100% of respondents with experience with the land administration authorities reported corruption and in Sri Lanka this figure was 98%. Land administration was somewhat cleaner in Bangladesh (73% of users reported corruption), India (47% of users) and Nepal (17% of users).

          The survey, conducted in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka between November 2001 and May 2002, was carried out on households, both urban and rural, in each country, ranging from 2,278 households in Sri Lanka to 5,157 in India. In Pakistan, 3,000 households were surveyed, while 3,030 were surveyed in Bangladesh and 3,060 in Nepal. Commissioned by TI's national chapters, the surveys all used the same methodology about service delivery and corruption in seven public services: health care, education, power, land administration, taxation, police, and the judiciary [4].


          A murder may be committed in the heat of movement upon passions being aroused. An economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to that community [5].

China has punished 67,505 government officials for corruption in less than four years since 2003. The Supreme People's Procuratorate has signed 83 Anti-graft memorandums with 75 law enforcement departments in the world. According to the procuratorate's statistics, more than 17,505 corrupt officials were prosecuted and punished in the first eight months of 2006 [6]. 

“A civilization begins to decline when society becomes corrupt; a civilization falls, when society becomes impervious to corruption”[7]. The fundamental nature of a corrupt police force anywhere in the world is the character of “Greed breed Greed”.




          Historical survey of records, projects that in development process, many code had come into existence and were replaced due to need of the times. “Veda” was the authoritative text, which first recognized immoral conduct of people as “sins” or “crimes” and prescribed “paryachitha” and penal systems to erdicate the same. Later on, Hammurabi framed the criminal Code in 2100 BC in which “Crime” was recognized as a punishable factor and people were threatened by fear of punishment by God or God-kings to conform to the approved pattern of conduct. In 200 BC another Code was prepared by “Manu” to deal with criminal offences. He gave clear picture of law and observed it to be grounded on immemmorial custom, embraced as the root of all piety, good usage’s which were long established. During the reign of Chandragupta in 300 AD, the famous Code “Arthasasthra” of Koutilya was came into existance [8].  This Code carried principles of Manu and other Rishies and provided a complete criminal administration in India. In all these Codes, crime was considered as “sin” which attracts fear of “God”. By 700 AD Muslims and 1600 AD English people started to invade India. Muslim Code introduced srtict discipline and punishments and English introduced a new legal system and the Indian Penal Code in 1860, Criminal Procedure Code in 1898 and Indian Evidence Act in 1872 came in to existence. According to Voltaire, Rousseau, Bentham and Beccaria, economic factors are the important cause of criminality. Crime is a reaction against economic and unequal distribution of wealth on society. The theory of White-collar crime was introduced in criminology in December 1939, in the presidential address before the American Sociological Society by Edwin H. Sutherland. He said, “White – Collar crime is committed by the person of respectability and social status in the course of there occupation”[9]. After passing over about 80 years since the drafting of the Indian Penal Code, the new type of white-collar crime was discovered and for that reason the Indian Penal Code was equipped to tackle the white-collar crimes effectively. The people of business world are probably showing more criminality than the people of slum. Unlike the “crime of slums”, the ‘crime of business’ are indirect, devious, anonymous and impersonal[10].

Before an analysis in the situation of corruption and bribery in the third world countries, an essential element of white collar crime this paper trying to explain the basic characters of corruption and bribery.


Bribery as used in Encyclopedia Americana is said to be voluntary receiving or giving anything of value in payment for an official act done or to be done and that it is not confined to judicial officers or other persons concerned in the administration of justice, but it extends to all officers concerned with the administration of the Government executive, legislative and judicial and under the approximate circumstance military.

Bribery as used in the Coke’s institute is the receiving or offering any undue reward or to any person whatsoever in public office, inorder to influence his behavior in office and undue him to act contrary to the known rules of honesty and integrity [11].

As understood in common law, the thing offered or accepted as bribe need not be money, but may be property, services or anything else of value. Now the offence is defined by statute, so that a report to common law is not often necessary except for general principles. Theorists of corruption, for example, categorize bribes ingenuine sense: as being transactional and variance bribes [12]. And in the most extreme manifestations, a bribe, which amounts to out right, purchase not just the service of the servants [13].

The Supreme of Court of India observed that Bribe is not charity but shrewd business. Bribe given not only to get things unlawfully done but also to get lawful things done promptly [14].

It was held by the Supreme Court of India the word  “Corrupt” does not necessarily include an element of bribe taking, it implies something more, as denoting conduct, which is morally unsound, and debated [15]. Corruption there for is used in much wider sense than bribery. The distinction between the two is that Corruption has wider a connotation and included bribery. When bribery is restricted to conforming of benefit by one upon another in cash or in kind to procure an illegal or dishonest action in favour of the giver, corruption in its wide sweep takes in the use of all kinds of corrupt practices.

The term “Bribery” and “Corruption” can best be represented in the diagram of two concentric circles. Corruption represents the larger circle with which is the next circle representing “Bribery[16].  

The sight of a man or woman bleeding to death or in a state of terminal shock, writhing in agony does not move of those who work in hospitals. Only the seed money can, to an extent make them human is the tendency. As a means of accelerating sluggish meandering circulation of a file within a department, this might be all very well; but ‘speed money’, belying the name, actually has the effect of a brake on administration allowing it down even further. Delay will deliberately be caused in order to invite payment of bribe to accelerate it again[17]. Bribery directly hit on human rights when the prey was forced to either try the police machinery to move or try to become idle or to get done the backgrounds of a police case in his favor. In the case of motor accidents, suicide, scene mahazer, body inquest, postmortem, certificate showing cause of death etc are direct sensitive points of corruption/bribe people Vs police.

Each instances of bribe and the adverse consequences due to non-greasing of police resulted in human rights violations. The result of this inhuman conduct of police result loses of faith in administration of law enforcement and people became cynical and demoralized. They lost faith in the system. They distrust the police. If this be the police the human are suffering from environmental problems due to the money power of industrialists multi-national as well as national.

          The common character shown by police men is the sham show of serving the public interest, but under the cover of it, sinister personal interest is fulfilled. Police, then judiciary most corrupt public institutions in South Asia, reveals TI survey

          "Across South Asia, public spending on basic services such as drinking water, education, health and law enforcement represents a significant allocation of scarce resources," said Gopakumar Krishnan, Asia Programme Manager at the TI-Secretariat. "The survey results show that even when public services are meant to be freely available, bribes and delays keep many from receiving them, and it is most often the poorest in society that suffer most."

          "It is well documented that petty corruption is rife in South Asia and these countries score low on governance indicators, but this is the first comparative study examining what the users of key public services actually experience," said Gopakumar Krishnan. He continued: "Direct feedback from the public is a powerful tool to ensure public accountability. The lack of effective complaints mechanisms in these countries prevents most feedback from reaching the government. This regional survey establishes benchmarks that may help individual governments and departments to track changes over time and measure progress made."

          The survey shows that bribes are a heavy financial burden on South Asian households, both due to the high frequency of bribes and to the large sums paid. More than half of the users of public hospitals in Bangladesh, for example, reported that they had t paid a bribe to access a service, with bribes averaging BDT 1,847 (US$33). In Pakistan, 92% of households that had experience with public education reported having to pay bribes; the average amount paid was PKR 4,811 (US$86). These figures are startling in a region where 45% of the total population of 1.4 billion live in poverty. When asked about the source of corruption, most respondents answered that bribes were extorted by public servants. Middle and lower level civil servants were identified as the key facilitators of corruption in all sectors probed.

          "The TI Corruption in South Asia survey strongly supports the case for empowering regulatory bodies, such as the office of the Ombudsman," said Gopakumar Krishnan, "to oversee the activities of public agencies, which across the region are the sole providers of many basic necessities. The findings also indicate that where the law is silent on standards of service, agencies simply provide poorer services." He added: "TI has identified that increasing measures to improve transparency, from citizens' charters to the practice of publicly posting official fees, has proven effective in holding public officials to account and reducing corruption."

          It is quiet interesting to say about corruption at this point of time in India as the Indian democracy is preparing itself a strong fight against corruption. Let that be in any way. Law makers are law breakers in the case of corruption all over world. And India is not an exception. hurricane of Fighting corruption is the key issue in India in now a days. 

          For fighting corruption public education and prevention are equally important. A number of factors explain this growing emphasis on fighting corruption. Countries with high levels of corruption, like India, have found themselves less able to attract investment and aid in a competitive global market. At the same time, business within the country has faced ever stiffer competition with the globalization of trade and capital markets, and has become less willing to tolerate the expense and risk associated with corruption.

          A preliminary analysis of the literature shows that corruption in India and elsewhere is recognized as a complex phenomenon, as the consequence of more deep seated problems of policy distortion, institutional incentives and governance. It thus cannot be addressed by simple legal acts proscribing corruption. The reason is that, particularly in India, the judiciary, legal enforcement institutions, police and such other legal bodies cannot be relied upon, as the rule of law is often fragile, and thus can be turned in their favour by

corrupt interests.

          To combat systemic corruption in India is directly related to the extent of participation of the civil society. The underlying idea is that

development is not the product of set of blueprints given by the political leadership independently of the civil society but is often a joint output of the civil society itself. Viewed in this perspective, anti-corruption strategies are not simply policies that can be planned in advance and isolation, but often a set of subtler insights that can be developed only in conjunction with citizen participation. Combating corruption is, therefore, not just a matter of making laws and creating

institutions, but rather it is deeply rooted in the activities of the civil society itself.

          The biggest cause of corruption in today’s India is undoubtedly the political leadership at the helm of affairs in the country. From this fountainhead of corruption flow various streams of corrupt practices which plague the political, economic and social activities in the country. The post-independence political leadership has risen from the grassroots level in the form of regional, caste, linguistic and other protest movements. They have transformed the nature of politics and administration. Amoral politics, self-aggrandizement, disregard of the

Constitutional norms in the pursuit of power, political survival at any cost are their rules of the game. They interfere with the administration of justice and have bent bureaucracy to do their bidding.

          The Railway Corruption Enquiry Committee, chaired by J.B. Kriplani, corruption was a failure of citizen ship. Whether it was the bribe, ticket less travel or theft, all these were acts which undermined the state. The report ruthlessly listed the categories of people who refused to pay and their attitude towards it. Politicians and senior bureaucrats were among those who claimed exemption from paying for travel on account of their status. The report therefore went on to

insist that “apart from administrative reforms, and punitive measures, there is a great need for higher officials to play the leaders in a reform movement”. The strange part of the story of the early years of corruption in India is that the protection that Jawaharlal Nehru extended to his corrupt colleagues did not benefit him any way. Wealth could not tempt him in any form, and he had a typical aristocrats disdain for money. However, by condoning high-visibility cases of corruption and shielding the guilty, Nehru legitimized graft in high places, and this undermined the rule of law and the moral basis of the polity (Noorani 1973).


          The administrative procedures and practices which are cumbersome are another major cause of corruption in India. India’s legal and administrative system was designed in the middle of the nineteenth century to serve the interests of colonial administration. The Indian Penal Code, the main instrument for controlling crime and administering criminal justice, was enacted in 1860. The organization and functions of the police are governed by the Indian Police Act of

1861. The Indian Evidence Act came into force in 1872. The Indian Telegraph Act, which regulates the control of air-waves and licensing of broadcasting facilities, was passed in 1855-even before the invention of the wireless.

          The English men designed Indian legal system based on distrust of the ‘natives’ and a firm belief in their inability to govern themselves. It has in built provisions for delays, prolonged litigation and evasion. Its provisions are ideally suited to the promotion of corruption at all levels, as graft provides the quickest immunity from delays and punitive action.

          Another factor to the growth of corruption in India is that the cases relating to corruption are often handled in a casual and clumsy manner.

          The judicial system is so expensive, dilatory, and inefficient that it takes years and years for corruption cases to be decided.

10-20 years (Vittal 1999). Justice delayed is justice denied in most cases of corruption.

          Public administration is a sub-system of the political system which itself is a part of the larger whole called the social system. Therefore the societal culture or societal environment has powerful impact on public administration.  

          Acceptance in the social psyche and behavior. Social evils like bribery, nepotism and favoritism have come to be accepted in the society. People often approach someone known to them for favors which they know are not legally due to them. Jumping the traffic lights or a queue or getting the benefits not due to one has become part of social ethos.

          A person who has acquired wealth through unfair means is often accorded the same, if not higher, status in Indian society as that given to persons of excellence.

          A recent study by the Peruvian economist Paolo Mauro (1995 and 1998) found that a corrupt country is likely to face aggregate investment levels of approximately 5 percentage points less, than a relatively uncorrupt country. The evidence from India is particularly stark. If corruption levels in India were reduced to that in the Scandinavian countries, investments rates could increase annually

by some 12 percent and the GDP growth rate by almost 1.5 percent each year (Gandhi 1997)..

          The impact of corruption on the quality of public infrastructure is all too clearly visible in the towns and cities of India. The Public Works Department and the State Electricity Boards which are largely responsible for the maintenance of roads and management of power distribution respectively, are among the most corrupt government departments in India. In the capital city of Delhi itself the transmission and distribution losses in the power sector are estimated to be over

50% out of which almost 30% is attributed to theft which is done with the connivance of the electricity board employees.

          Corruption also reduces the government’s resources and hence its capacity for investment, since tax revenues are depleted by tax evasion (Jain 1998, Shahid 1991).

          India’s Chief Vigilance Commissioner recently observed that,” India’s economy today is a standing monument to the corruption and inefficiency of four specific departments, namely, Customs, Central Excise, Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate. It is the evasion of taxes and the failure of these departments to check illegal activities that has crystallised into the large percentage of black money in the economy. The quantum of black money has been estimated from Rs.40,000 crores to Rs.100,000 crores. Whole industries today depend on black money. The film industry, a substantial part of the construction industry and a large number of small industries are run on the basis of black money " (Vittal 1999).

          The damaging effects of corruption on investment and economic growth are widely recognised. But corruption also has adverse effects on human development. First, corruption reduces the availability and increases the cost of basic social services. Access to core social services can be easily restricted with the intention to make corrupt gains. For instance, a government doctor may deliberately store away free medicines until he is bribed, a police inspector may deny a First Information Report to a victim until he is paid a kickback, and a principal may refuse to admit a child in a school until he is paid under-the counter.

          Politically, corruption increases injustice and disregard for rule of law. Basic human rights and freedoms come under threat, as key judicial decisions are based on the extent of corrupt bribes given to court officials rather than on the innocence or guilt of the parties concerned.

          Police investigations and arrests may be based on political victimization or personal vendettas rather than on solid legal grounds. Commenting on the socio-political consequences of corruption the

Supreme Court of India observed in the judgement cited above that corruption in a civilised society was a disease like cancer. If not detected in time it was sure to turn the polity malignant leading to “disastrous consequences”. The apex court said a socio-political system exposed to such a dreaded communicable disease

was likely to crumble under its own weight.

          For Combating Corruption the colonial rulers had established the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) to control corruption which surged during the Second World War. The Prevention of Corruption Act was passed in 1947 an Administrative Vigilance Division (AVD) created in the home ministry in 1955. Then, owing

to mounting public criticism, a Committee on Prevention of Corruption was appointed in 1962 under K. Santhanam to examine this issue in depth and recommend remedial measures. As a result of its recommendations, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), independent of ministerial control was set up in 1964. Another important measure during the early decades was the creation of

the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1963, which incorporated DSPE as the Investigation and Anti-Corruption Division (Gill 1998). The Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 was amended and 1988 Act was came into force on the 9th September 1988, the date on which the Act has received the assent of the President.

          Another essential component of anti-corruption strategy is the strict enforcement of the principle of accountability at all levels. Government decisions are taken at various levels of government in which discretionary power may be involved. There is general lack of accountability in administration.

          The judiciary has a key role in ensuring that political and administrative power is used only in accordance with law and every one is held accountable for wrong doing or misuse of authority. Recent decisions given by the judiciary have created a hope for corrective action.

          As explained earlier administrative delay is one of the major causes of corruption. Therefore to reduce or control corruption it is necessary to eliminate such delays. For that it is essential that office procedures should be simplified and levels of hierarchy reduced.

          Public interest litigation which has served the purpose of dragging corrupt officials to the courts.[18]

          Thus all the above said may not curb corruption if the public is not conscious of the need for a non-corrupt India.


Adv.K.C. Suresh, Kerala

[1] 2000 SCC [Cri] 887

[3] Published in ‘The Hindu’ daily 25-3-1995 (Madras)

[5] AIR 1987 Supreme Court 1321 (India)

[6] visited on 28-10-2006 at 5.10 AM

[7] Dr. P.C.Alexander The Peril off Democracy 1955 P.16

[8] The average European students of social thoughts has heard of Great MANU, the Solon of ancient Hindu polity. But it is only Orentalists who will have heard of the of KAUTILYA and his “Arthasasthra” which occupies in Hindu political speculation comaprable only to the “Republic” of the Plato and the “Politics” of the Aristotle in classical antiquity, and which in point of acuteness and clear grasp of facts is match perhaps only by The Prince of Machiavelli.

[9] Jeremy Bentham (1748 –1832) as cited in Prabhath Chandra Thripathis artcle “The menace of White-Collar crimes an need for a new Court” 1997 Cr.L.J. P.34

[10] Sutherland, Principles of Criminology, 6th Edition (1960) P.46

[11] Coke Institute 149, quoted in Russel, On Crime 12th Edition, P.381

[12] Upendra Baxi, Liberty and Corruption, P.3

[13] W. Michael Recsman, Bribary, Crusades and Reforms, P. 19

[14] Som Prakash Vs. State of Delhi, 1974 ISCWR 396

[15] Dr. Dut Vs. State of U.P, AIR 1966 SC 523

[16] Surendra Nath Sahu vs. State of Rajasthan, 1969 CLT 773

[17] Som Praksh Vs. State of Delhi, 1974 ISCWR 396

[18] Combating corruption in India, By Sunil Sondhi of University of Delhi.


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