Saturday, February 16, 2013

Government Business Practices Act

All of us know that our parliamentarians have totally devoted their lives to the welfare of all Indians. MPs cannot afford to let the Parliament function and thereby get their attention diverted. It is therefore not surprising that we do not expect any new laws to be enacted by the Lok and Rajya Sabhas.

This is the reason why we have overlooked the swift passage of a momentous legislation by the worthy MPs. This new law was passed as "Government Business Practices Bill" by both Houses unanimously. In our illustrious legislative history, no other bill has received such an enviable bipartisan support. The bill is brief and is worthy of our reading in full.

The preamble is precise and absolutely transparent. "Whereas GOI is keen to sustain the nation's reputation as one of the most corrupt in the world and with a view to educating the corporates, both domestic and foreign, how to conduct their business with government institutions strictly in accordance with law, be it enacted in the 63rd year of the Republic as follows"

"Section 1: This bill is called 'Government Business Practices Bill' and is applicable to any transaction by whatever name called with any part of the Government of India.

Section 2: Corporates, domestic and foreign, are hereby put on notice that breach of any section of this bill will ab initio render the relative transaction null and void.

Section 3: While participating in any government tender, corporates must have their Board-approved inviolable policy of offering bribe to parties mentioned in Section 4 hereunder to a minimum extent of 10% of contract amount. This is without prejudice to the sovereign right of GOI to prescribe a higher minimum in appropriate cases.

Section 4: It is the patriotic duty of the following entities to receive without demur the bribe amount specified in Section 3 supra:
a) Cabinet ministers, ministers of state including those holding independent charge and any other person occupying the rank of a minister, cabinet or otherwise. For removal of any mischievous doubt, it is hereby clarified that chairpersons of councils like National Advisory Council are covered in this sub-section. It is also clarified that ministers may or maynot hold any portfolio.
b) Any executive in any government department of the rank of under-secretary and above.
c) Chiefs of the army, navy and the air-force, serving or retired (it is clarified that 'retired' also includes sacked, dismissed, terminated or in whatever manner his or her service had come to an end.)
d) Leaders of any political party recognised by the Election Commission of India.
e) Any other entity notified by GOI either ahead of a tendering process or with retrospective effect.

Section 5: Any corporate supplying any material to any institution of GOI is obligated to cooperate fully with GOI in any matter resulting from any transaction. This obligation includes consistent refusal to provide any information, relevant or otherwise, relating to any business with GOI to any investigator by whatever name called and more particularly CAG.

Section 6: Non-observance of obligation mentioned in Section 5 and refusal to offer the stipulated bribe (refer Section 3) will automatically result in blacklisting of the corporate for any further dealings with GOI and make assets of such corporates liable for confiscation by GOI.

Section 7: Notwithstanding anything contained herein or any other law, present or future, the provisions of this bill are non-justiciable and any attempt by any person to approach any court of law against the provisions contained herein will be deemed as breach of parliamentary privilege and as an act against national security and honour and will attract punishment including levy of fines, imprisonment and capital punishment."

The Honourable President who is no more His Excellency was pleased to sign this Bill as soon as it was delivered to him and thus the bill became an Act.

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