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Frustrated anti-graft lawmaker in India proposes ‘Right to Bribe’ law

A lawmaker in the Indian state of Bihar has proposed new legislation to legalize corruption in the state. He did it to embarrass his own ruling Janata Dal (United) party.

Rajiv Ranjan said he was driven to make the extreme and unusual demand out of frustration and anger he felt about the Bihar government’s inability to control corruption, according to the Hindustan Times.

“The fair thing to do in the prevailing situation is to legislate and adopt a new law by the name of Right to Bribe, on the lines of [the Right to Information Act] and right to service,” said Ranjan, pictured, a senior member of Bihar’s legislative assembly.

“If you can’t rein in corruption, you should legalize it,” he said.

He told the Hindustan Times Monday that he’ll propose a bill legalizing the taking of bribes during the next session of the legislature.

Ranjan’s proposal did indeed embarrass his party’s leader.

“Severe disciplinary action will be taken against [Ranjan] who has crossed the limit of our tolerance by his call on corruption,” the Bihar parliamentary affairs minister Sharvan Kumar said.

Kumar said Ranjan is in the habit of embarrassing the party and government and then rushing to the leadership to apologize.

“But this time it won’t work,” Kumar told the Hindustan Times.

Ranjan said the threat of party discipline wouldn’t deter him from fighting against corruption.

“I am ready for any sacrifice,” he said.

Ranjan, who headed two local public electricity boards, said corruption has been worsening in Bihar despite the local government’s professed “zero tolerance” for graft.

He said that to win public contract in the state, vendors have to pay between 12% and 20% of the work value as a bribe, the Hindustan Times reported.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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