HC seeks status of amendments in anti-graft law

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has sought status report about the amendments made in the Prevention of Corruption Act to make it more stringent and effective.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar directed the government to file status report within two weeks in light of the suggestions proposed by the court on July 4 last year.
The court had asked government to consider at least seven suggestions concerning the amendments in the provisions of anti-graft law including awarding of maximum of 20 years and minimum of 6 years in jail under Section 5 (2) of the Act and making bail provisions stringent and parallel to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.
In January this year, the court had rejected as “eyewash” the recommendations made by a high-level panel headed by Chief Secretary of the state and had directed government to file the latest status report.
“There is no response filed with regard to the amendments in the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act in light of the suggestions made by the court in the order (on July 4, 2013),” the bench observed before passing the latest directions.
While making the offences pertaining to corruption cases non-bailable, the panel had proposed awarding jail term from existing six months minimum and three-year maximum to one year minimum to five-year maximum for first time offenders and two years (minimum) to seven years (maximum) for habitual offenders.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation—Mohammad Amin Beigh Vs State and Others—the Division Bench in another direction also sought status about the implementation of its directions regarding grant of benefits to the needy girls.
The direction followed a request for adjournment of the hearing by the state counsel on the ground that a meeting headed by the Chief Secretary has been convened by the government.
“We accept the request and adjourn the matter for two weeks with the direction to file that status report regarding the implementation of directions of this court be filed,” the Bench said.
As reported exclusively by Kashmir Reader in its May 7 issue, the Supreme Court of India directed the state government to give effect to the directions given by the High Court for a comprehensive scheme for the betterment of poor girls in the state.
On December 30 last year, the High Court had asked government to give poor girls a minimum of Rs 25,000 each and five grams of gold at the time of their marriage to enable them live a dignified life and prevent their exploitation.
As government has already identified 373,086 poor girls, the court had also asked government to formulate an exclusive scheme for them.
Subsequently, the state government moved Supreme Court by filing a Special Leave Petition against the order.
While disposing of the SLP, a Division Bench of the apex court comprising Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen said that there was ‘no illegality’ in the directions by the High Court, observing it to be in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution.
While appreciating the work done by the state government for carrying out various schemes for the betterment of the girls, Supreme Court had directed government to give effect to the directions given by the High Court.