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Lessons Learnt From The Chinese Government: Is Death Penalty A Solution For Corruption?

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By Hema Vaishnavi:

A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 62% of Indians had firsthand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully. Corruption often starts from birth, literally. Fathers are forced to pay bribes to see their newborns. Others are extorted to get their child’s birth certificate. Corruption has found its roots deep into the society and people who try to bring to light such heinous crimes often find themselves begging for mercy for their lives. When the problem of corruption is seen as a grave crime, how do you think one should be punished?


Sections 169 and 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) give the provision of imprisonment of the convicted along with an appropriate fine and confiscation of acquired property and money. While it is an acknowledged fact that the anti-corruption laws prevalent in the Indian system are far from effective, we find the likes of Anna Hazare trying to bring in the concept of Lokpal into the system, one that also ensures that the Prime Minister’s office comes under the purview.

Yes, India is trying every bit to do away with this social evil called corruption. Even when some say that the laws need to be revamped, others say that we need to learn from countries like China that sentences death to the perpetrators. Certainly, China has often seemed smoothly technocratic compared with the messy, chaotic, highly corrupt reality of India. And there’s still some truth to this observation. Bureaucratic institutions do function better in China, and from what we can tell there is less corruption there than in India in the routine provision of things like licenses and permits.

In theory, China considers corruption as an act of sedition and thereby its anti-corruption laws come across as only seemingly justified. But then again, is it really the case? There seems to be some kind ambiguity to this as well. It is often said that a death sentence is given to a person in order to silence him or her from exposing corruption by the government officials who may have been involved. Also, given the Communist form of government, it is almost unheard of Chinese judges dealing with corruption cases to make independent judgements by relying solely on the judicial procedure, evidence submitted and the law.

With such an agreement, one cannot really adopt a law that is fit for a Communist government into a democracy, with a smooth transition. Again, coming back to the point of sedition, why doesn’t the Indian judiciary explore the options that this law provides us with? For instance, A Raja caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crores to India. This is almost 30% of the annual Gross Tax Receipts of the Government of India. Therefore, he almost threatened the economic sovereignty of India. Interestingly, that is not sedition. That is ‘corruption,’ which invites the same punishment as would be awarded to a food inspector who takes Rupees 1000 as a bribe to make a ration card. Interestingly, such grave offences, which have the potential of destabilizing the Indian economy, are not treated as ‘sedition’.

Although the option of a death penalty does seem lucrative, it surely seems to fail to fit into the Indian system. While the public anger is understandable, it doesn’t really make an easy way for death penalty into the system. The reasons for abolishing the death penalty are equally strong, with many suggesting that corruption is merely a social dimension that needs to be dealt with in a subtle yet firm manner. While people involved in the act of corruption should never go unpunished, it is of the common notion that the society also owes quite a bit in terms of responsibility.

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  1. K.B.Srivastava

    Property of a corrupt person should be seized & amount embezzled should be recovered with interest & corrupt persons should be punished with life imprisonment. In India, property tax is vey less, so people take bribes, embezzle the amount of government and they use this money in purchasing farm land, car, in construction their houses and purchase gold etc. If government increase property tax many times, corruption will go. In my view government should not levy any property tax up to Rs20lacks.Above Rs20lacks to Rs1crore, property tax should be 10%, and above Rs1crore it should be 20%.per year.

  2. K. B.Srivastava

    In my opinion, the families whose income is less than Rs8000/- per month are poor and due to poverty, they are unable to admit their children in schools. Under food Security Ordinance, Government of India is expecting that 16crore poor families(80crore people) of India will be benefited and I think that 16crore families of India are really poor. Therefore Government should transfer an amount of Rs4000/- per month in their accounts as pension. In India rate of property tax is very low and Government can raise its revenues by enhancing property taxes. I think that there should be no property tax Rs20lacks and above 20 lacks to 1crore, it should be 10% and above 1crore 20%. India is a rich country and many people are using vehicles amounting to Rs50 lacks, but they are neither paying any income tax nor property tax. Therefore, it is necessary that at the time of valuating property. all properties including houses, plots, farm lands, cars, gold, jewellery . If government pay pension to 16crore poor families(80crore people), they will certainly get their children admitted in schools and they will deny their children to work as a labourer.

    1. Raj

      Dude cut out the crap. Do you think printing and distributing money will help? Then why give 4000Rs? Why not give 4 crore? Make everyone crorepatis? Now everybody can go to Paris for vacations

      And why do you want more taxes? Do you like paying taxes? You have access to internet, so you are among the top 40 million people in our country of 1200 million. so everyone who has internet should pay extra 10% tax!
      Lets put the limit at 20,000 instead of 20 lakhs for property. We will get more tax revenues! Why 50 lakhs car? why not 50,000 motor cycle? Everyone who owns motorcycle should pay 20% tax extra because most people in India dont have any vehicles. Even more tax revenues!

  3. Raj

    And what about the vast majority of the uncorrupt countries that rarely use capital punishment for corruption ?

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