Corruption – Meaning of

Corruption has various shades and many a times it is not a mere give and take money in cash but it can be practiced in a variety of ways. Normally, it is difficult to prove corruption by direct evidence unless one is caught red handed accepting undue advantage. Though in a civilized society, corruption has always been viewed with particular distaste to be condemned and criticized by everybody but still one loves to engage himself in it if finds opportunity, ordinarily, since it is difficult to resist temptation. It is often, a kind, parallel to the word ‘bribery’, meaning whereof in the context of the politicians or bureaucrats, induced to become corrupt.

            The Greek Philosopher Plato, in 4th Century B.C. said, “in the Republic that only politicians who gain no personal advantage from the policies they pursued would be fit to govern. This is recognized also in the aphorism that those who want to hold power are most likely those least fit to do so.”

            While giving speech before the House of Lords William Pitt in the later half of 18th Century said, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

            Corruption is a term known to all of us. Precise meaning is illegal, immoral or unauthorized act done in due course of employment but literally it means “inducement (as of a public official) by improper means (as bribery) to violate duty (as by committing a felony).” It is a specially pernicious form of discrimination. Apparently its purpose is to seek favourable, privileged treatment from  those who are in authority. No one would indulge in corruption at all if those who are in authority, discharge their service by treating all equally.

            Corruption also violates human rights. It discriminates against the poor by denying them access to public services and preventing from exercising their political rights on account of their incapacity of indulging in corruption, of course on account of poverty and other similar related factors. Corruption is, therefore, divisive and makes a significant contribution to social inequality and conflict. It undermines respect for authority and increases cynicism. It discourages participation of individuals in civilized society and elevates self interest as a guide to conduct. In social terms it can be said that corruption develops a range bound field of behavior, attitude and beliefs.

            Corruption is antithesis of good governance and democratic politics, It is said, when corruption is pervasive, it permeates every aspect of people’s lives. It can affect the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay v. State of U.P., 2019 (134) ALR 347.

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