Ravi Shankar Prasad BJP misquotes S.13, Prevention Of Corruption Act

Today heard, BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad demand the dismissal of Pawan Bansal from the post of Union Railways Minister. Mr. Prasad, who is also a lawyer; demanded the dismissal by quoting the section 13 of The Prevention Of Corruption Act, 1988. On the grounds of Section 13 of The Prevention of Corruption Act 1998, Mr. Prasad not only called Mr. Bansal Corrupt, but the entire government controlled by brokers and corruption syndicate.

This made me look for the Section 13 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The idea was to see how Section 13 makes Mr. Bansal fit for dismissal.

Here’s Section 13 of The Central Government Act — The Prevention of Corruption Act:

Criminal, misconduct by a public servant.-

(1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct.-
(a) if he habitually accepts or obtained or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person for himself or for any other person for himself or for any other person any gratification other than legal remuneration as a motive or reward such as is mentioned in section 7; or
(b) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain for himself or for any other person, any valuable thing without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate from any person whom he knows to have been, or to be, or to be likely to be concerned in any proceedings or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with the official functions of himself or of any public servant to whom he is subordinate, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or
(c) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do; or
(d) if he,–
(i) by corrupt or illegal means, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or
(ii) by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or
(iii) while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public, interest; or
(e) if he or any person on his behalf, is in possession or has, at any time during the period of his office, been in possession for which the public servant cannot satisfactorily account, of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income. Explanation.– For the purposes of this section,” known sources of income” means income received from any lawful source and such receipt has been intimated in accordance with the provisions of any law, rules or orders for the time being applicable to a public servant.
(2) Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than one year but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

Going through the Act, I found that Section 13 doesn’t actually apply to Mr. Pawan Bansal.

The reasons are:

Pawan Kumar Bansal Congress1) Mr. Pawan Bansal is not a habitual offender of this kind of criminal misconduct.

2) It has not been proved that he received any gratification in this particular incident, wherein his nephew(sister’s son) is arrested today.

3) One sub-section which I wanted to see in the Sec 13 was the one related to Conflict of Interest. Wherein the family members are involved in some conduct which conflicts with the position held by the incumbent. Interestingly, the section doesn’t include the conflict of interest.

This means that even if Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad wants to see the nephew as Mr. Bansal’s immediate family (which Vijay Singla, the nephew of Mr. Bansal, obviously is not); he can’t quote Section 13 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. He can quote some other Section, or some other Act; but quoting Sec 13 is misinformation to the Indian citizens.

Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad is actually using an important principle of communication:

Ravi Shankar Prasad BJPYou may be wondering, Why Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted an article which doesn’t give grounds for the dismissal or resignation of Union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Actually Mr. Prasad is using an important principal of communication. The principle is:

When you include numbers, dates, sections; In short, hard to remember canonical attributes in your assertions, you make the listener respond to your talk more positively (in other words believe the speaker).

But, it’s not good. This is misleading the listener(s). Actually, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad did not stop at quoting a wrong legal section; he coupled it with another important communication principle. He linked the said section to loudly call the entire government corrupt and controlled by brokers.

Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad’s clever statement today, is akin to considering every Indian a Moron. When many out there, are not.

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