The approval of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill (“Anti-Corruption Amendment Bill”) by both houses of the parliament in India is a significant development with major implications on individual and business behavior in dealing with corruption. This brings the anti-corruption laws in India closer to those in the U.S. (the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UK (The Bribery Act).

The most significant change in the amendment is the focus on the “giver” of the bribe. Givers of bribe, individuals and commercial organizations, will now face not only financial penalties but will also be subject to criminal prosecution and/or imprisonment. Executives of the commercial organizations such as a director, manager, secretary or other officer, may also be held liable if their consent or connivance can be proved in a court of law.

The law makers have judiciously also added provisions in the bill to give immunity to the bribe givers, if such givers report the demand and / or payment of a bribe subject to certain conditions. Commercial organizations have also been given a legal defense if they can prove existence of “adequate procedures” designed to prevent corruption.

The Anti-Corruption Amendment Bill will deter citizens and corporations from paying bribes and has the potential of being that one substantial act this year that will help the government to reduce corruption in the country.