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Specific offences and restrictions
What are the key corruption and bribery offences in your jurisdiction?
The following actions qualify as key corruption and bribery offences under Indian law:
- a public servant taking illegal gratification as a reward or motive for undertaking (or forbearing to undertake) an official act, or for showing (or forbearing to show) any favour or disfavour to any person in the exercise of his or her official functions, or for rendering any service or disservice to any person;
- an individual taking illegal gratification to influence a public servant for the abovementioned actions;
- an individual taking illegal gratification to exercise personal influence over a public servant, to induce such public servant for the abovementioned actions;
- a public servant obtaining a valuable thing without consideration from a person in connection with business dealings with such person;
- a public servant dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriating or converting for personal use any property entrusted to him or her or under his or her control, or any public servant allowing another person to do as such;
- a public servant obtaining a valuable thing or monetary advantage for himself or herself or any other person by corruption, abuse of his or her position of authority or any other illegal means; and
- a public servant holding property or resources disproportionate to his or her known sources of income.
Abetment or attempted abetment of the abovementioned offences may be prosecuted as an offence under the relevant anti-corruption laws.
Actions such as the acceptance of foreign contributions without prior government approval or registration, money laundering, concealment of foreign income and assets, dealing with benami property and committing fraudulent acts against a company are also punishable.
Are specific restrictions in place regarding the provision of hospitality (eg, gifts, travel expenses, meals and entertainment)? If so, what are the details?
The government has formulated guidelines and monetary thresholds for certain public servants regarding the acceptance of gifts, business courtesies and hospitality. The key guidelines are contained in the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1964 and the All India Services (Conduct) Rules 1968. These rules must be followed by public servants employed in specified government services. Similar conduct rules have been introduced separately by state governments and specific government departments (eg, the railways and defence services) and apply to their respective employees.
As a general rule, members of the government services should avoid accepting lavish or frequent hospitality from persons having official dealings with them, or from industrial or commercial firms beyond the specified thresholds. The guidelines also provide that a public servant should neither accept any gift nor permit any member of his or her family or any other person acting on his or her behalf to do the same. The term ‘gifts’ includes:
- free transport;
- free boarding;
- free lodging; and
- any other service or pecuniary advantage provided by a person other than a near relative or personal friend who has no official dealings with the public servant.
However, the definition of ‘gift’ does not specifically include casual meals, casual lifts or other similar social hospitality.
No such rules are prescribed for dealings between private parties. However, to avoid any potential liability, most companies internally determine their policies and monetary thresholds in connection with the offer and acceptance of gifts, business courtesies and hospitality, particularly during religious and festive occasions.
What are the rules relating to facilitation payments?
There is no specific exception for making facilitation payments to public servants in India; any such payment amounts to bribery under the anti-corruption laws.
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