The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The lower house adjourned its Monsoon Session proceedings till 11 am on Wednesday soon after passing the bill.

On July 19, the Rajya Sabha passed amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which will make giving bribes to a public servant an offence. The amendment bill had been first floated in 2013, by the Congress-led government at the Centre.

According to PRS Legislative Research, the amendment bill also redefines criminal misconduct to cover just the misappropriation of property and the possession of disproportionate assets. It narrows definitions and penalties for a range of offences, and outlines powers and procedures for seizing the property of public servants accused of corruption.

The bill also removes the provision that protected bribe givers from prosecution for statements they make during a corruption trial.

Minister for State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said the bill was aimed at increasing the stringency of the law’s provisions, PTI reported. “Not only taking bribe, but giving bribe would also be a crime,” Singh said.

The bill provides for prior approval to be sought before an investigation is initiated against any government officer. The earlier version made approvals necessary only for inquiries against officials above the rank of a joint secretary. The legislation also provides immunity from arrest to all officers, as against the previous provision of immunity to officers above the level of a joint secretary.

The amendment also seeks to set a time frame for a court to decide on the matter.