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Bribe payer is an equal Criminal, Agree?

86 users have liked.
42% (13 votes)
48% (15 votes)
Can't say
10% (3 votes)
Total votes: 31


silkboard's picture

To keep my response short, I put a no

88 users have liked.

To me, if a guy worth 5000 Rs a month throws 100 rupee notes to get his work done, he is equal or more criminal than the bribe taker. I hate the fact that he dislikes the "hassles", and buys his way out in "just get it done yaar" fashion.

But if a 5000 Rs a month guy has to shell out 100 Rs bribes, he is probably not at fault. The money means a lot to him, so he would be more willing to try out some help from Lokayukta and alike. But he bribes as he doesn't have many options.

Not that the bribe takers are not "sensitive" to this. I tested this out at K R Puram RTO. Wasn't really the bribe takers, but the agents. Went on  a bike once and once on a car to get the same work done. Biker rate - Rs 800. Car Rate, Rs 2200. I used my broken Kannada on both the occasions, so that was a constant factor on both occasions.

As far as the urgency and importance of getting work done is concerned, everyone's work is equally important.

swamy's picture

demand or supply?

90 users have liked.
What comes first, demand or supply? think maadi, then vote.
Naveen's picture

I Vote "Yes"

90 users have liked.
I put "Yes".

My logic is as follows :

1) For each bribe-taker, there may be several, if not hundreds of bribe givers from the public, who will all get away.

2) The very large no. of bribe givers will be tempted to do it again since they get away anyway & the chances for the system to correct itself or remain in check will be jeopardized.

3) Not punishing bribe givers will also encourage them to violate more rules & other procedures.
Photoyogi's picture

No, Not really

105 users have liked.
Consider a trivial case:
I have a Child going to nursery school.
If i pay the Aaya 100 Rs as a token of gratitude it isnt a bribe paid is it?
But however if the Aaya demands being paid to do the job and i pay 100 Rs that might be termed as a bribe.
I could go to the principle and report the issue and had the aaya loose the job and a warning to the other staff.

When you extend this to a more serious issue like getting a Khatha certificate from BBMP (essentially a computer printout)
I was demanded 1000 Rs. Ridiculous i said and said let me wait for the prescribed 3 days and then poke around if there is an issue.
Eventually i got the khatha certificate without having to pay the bribe but i was inconvenienced 2-3 times.
In this case, if i did paid the bribe i dont think am  a party to the crime as i was victimized and the bribe was demanded.
So this generally would mean lack of education on the part of the citizens that result in Bribe giving.

In continuation with what i was given to understand with the meeting with Lokayukta chief, These offences MUST be reported to Lokayukta, least tell the offending official that you will go to Lokayukta i am sure he/she will know you mean business.


-- PhotoYogi

Naveen's picture

Promotes Educative Trends

77 users have liked.

My view is that discouraging bribe givers by punishing them for paying also educates them not to pay gratitudes in return for official favors - & will promote the correct principle that this practice is wrong.

I am not sure if giving Rs.100/- to an aaya without any demand for favors can be quantified as a bribe. Such instances are many. Even in other parts of the world, we do offer tips to stewards after a meal & to hotel drivers when they pickup or drop us off, though they are supposed to be free transfers by the hotel, dont we ? Can we call these bribes - I think not.

In India, the difference between bribes & tips is somewhat obscure & the dividing line between the two is too blurred. In any case, paying tips & paying bribes for khatas is quite different & the latter clearly goes against principles of fair practices.

Being ignorant & paying a bribe to get work done, followed by condoning it on the basis of the individual's ignorance will only compound the problem further, whereas punishing all will set the trend to educate all.
bijeshkrishnadas's picture

imho No

85 users have liked.
If I paid a bribe to use a "shortcut" or get my work done faster, then I agree I am a criminal. This is not the case 90% of the time. Usually it is "pay the bribe or your work won't get done". If by not paying a bribe all I had to do was wait for the process to take its course, there is no problem. But if not paying a bribe means you are made to run around for no reason and the process is stalled/delayed/ignored, what then?


Naveen's picture

Nobody Can Ignore Your Work

90 users have liked.
Nobody can ignore your work, though they will try to stall it or delay it to try to extract money. Most people lose patience & pay up - this is where the problem is since this encourages them to demand a bribe from everybody.

There are ways to get over this stalling. An appeal can be filed, or a call to LokAyukta or the next higher authority can be of help. If this still does not work, an official, written complaint can be filed & a receipt asked for.

The problem is that most people do not want to go through these processes, but simply pay up to save themselves the burden of "lost time" & to avoid any "headaches", & life goes on !

If most of us do not pay for fear of punishment, there are better chances of righting the system, but if bribe givers are let off as "innocent", there will be too many such "innocents" & the system will never improve.
murali772's picture

bribes & mamools

96 users have liked.
Mine is a definite no!

I had made a convenient differentiation between bribe and 'mamool'. Bribe was when you wanted to jump the queue, whereas 'mamool' was for getting your rightful position in the queue. I had little option other than to come to terms with paying 'mamools'. Check: (comment no 10 - raaj-less inspection).

When the demand became far higher than the term would normally imply is when trouble arose. There were plenty of instances; I can write reams on those. Once, I even went on National television, Nalini Singh interviewing me, and stated it all, inviting the government to arrest me since as the 'giver', I am equally guilty.

It's on the back of all these experiences that I am saying that the only solution is less government. Check:

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Paying a Bribe = Accepting Coruption

88 users have liked.
I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say that "mamool" is not the same as a "bribe".

A bribe is :
1) Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position to influence that person's views or conduct; or
2) Something serving to influence or persuade or to gain influence through corrupt means.

If you condone the practice of paying "mammol" (I prefer to call it a bribe, & do not see any difference), such payment would still be encouraging corrupt practices, would'nt it ?

Elsewhere, you had also mentioned that you were against high amounts as fines for traffic violations. Do you also consider the smaller bribe amounts that traffic cops demand now (since fines are also not severe) as "mamools" ?

In neighbouring Chennai, fines for traffic violations are much higher than in Bangalore - may be this explains why traffic is better disciplined there. So, I really do not understand your position.

Could you please clarify, thanks.
silkboard's picture

bribe vs mamool

88 users have liked.

I think Murali is saying this. You pay money in two situations

  • You either can't wait for your turn, or want to get a leg up on those who are ahead of you in the queue. For example, paying the gas agency to get your cylinder before others waiting in line. Or paying up Rs 1000 to get an address change done in your driving license where as it would take just Rs 30 and perhaps 20 extra mins of your time if you would have the patience to just go and ask at the "help me" counter.
  • the other type of bribe is to get in the queue itself. Example: paying a bribe to get your pension. My mom gets some from a public sector company my dad was employed with. The pension stopped showing up. I had two options. Visit the pension office in a city 2000 km away from Bangalore a couple of times to get it sorted out (a stupid name spelling error) the right way, or 'pay up' via my friends there. Seeing the Bangalore residence address, I guess some smart guy there must have figured out that I might prefer to go for the 'cheaper' option.

The second case is where I don't think the bribe payer is an equal criminal. When people on the other side of the counter misuse their access to information, and when the complaint mechanisms don't work or exist- the consumer/citizen is just too disadvantaged to put up a fight.

But in the first case, perhaps the bribe giver is more at fault than the taker. You pay our way out to get things done fast, and by doing that 1) you encourage bribe-takers, 2) make life difficult for others who line up fair and square.

Go to any RTO and see how the agents working for big name car dealerships walk free with registration applications in their hand, as if they were the RTO employees themselves. Thats your "Rs 1000" misc vehicle registration charges at work.

Mind you though, that of late, government has figured out ways of legalizing such cases. Pay more, and get priority service - what are tatkal tickets? what are VIP and VVIP passes to say Tirupati Balaji temple? You are getting faster service at the expense of slowing down others - is that an acceptable argument?

Naveen's picture

Get Yr Point

114 users have liked.
I get the point, but there is some difference - the tatkal schemes, etc. are legal & the proceeds go to the govt, whereas "Mamool" goes to the individial's pocket.

I think the term has been picked from street vendors who hawk on footpaths on roads in "No Hawking" zones, & pay "Mamool" to the cop for permitting them to continue. If they dont pay up, the cop will chase them off !

Anyway, this would still be a bribe, as defined above, though there is a subtle difference between the two.
murali772's picture

pleading guilty!

82 users have liked.
SB - Thanks for the elaboration; they were quite apt.

Naveen - I don't know if you read my entire post on 'raaj-less inspection'. While I had admitted to having been paying 'mamools', I was in no way justifying it. What I had stated was that I had made a 'convenient' differentiation between the two evils, and had come to terms with the lesser of the evils. Without that, it would have been impossible to carry on a business. You can check this out with any businessman. The so-called 'clean businesses' engage agents to do their dirty jobs.

As for not supporting heavier fines - Like I have stated earlier, I would like to see the traffic police enforce rules impartially across all classes of vehicles - particularly yellow board ones, autos, and govt vehicles, before they start increasing the fine levels. Isn't that a reasonable expectation?

Muralidhar Rao
Muralidhar Rao
Nitinjhanwar's picture

Fees is not a bribe.

98 users have liked.
Lets put it this way: You either beg or "bribe".

Begging doesn't work always.

The most recent example is that of Condella Rice- GOI begged for her support.
She gave it.

Pakisthan Government told her we can't give you our troops to fight the Aghanis if we go to war with India.
She gave them their support and according to her- GOI has to work together with GOP.

So you see the so called outdated word "bribe " is basically paying a fees.

After the fees is paid and THAT work is not done than whose liability it is?




songbird3's picture

Bribe payer etc.

97 users have liked.
At the outset I hold that bribe has become a way of life and governance in our country. It has not spared even a basic sector like education. Expenditure required to get even admission into institutions of higher learning has grown astronomically beyond the capacity of an ordinary citizen. One cannot get anything done in government offices at all levels without reference to bribe in one form or another. In sum we have become a democracy of the nethas, by the nethas, and for the nethas. It needs a sea change to hope for good governance aimed at welfare of the subjects.
murali772's picture

yes, Mr Basu

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Chief Economic Advisor, Kaushik Basu (in a paper that he clarifies has been written in his private capacity) argues that there is a class of bribes that people often have to pay to get what they are legally entitled to. He calls these “harassment bribes”.

Currently, both the bribe giver and the bribe taker are criminally liable according to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Mr Basu says this should change and the entire punishment should be heaped on the bribe taker and the bribe giver should not be penalised at all, at least not for the act of offering or giving the bribe. Such a change in the law will cause a dramatic drop in the incidence of bribery because once a bribe is given, the giver and the taker become partners in crime. It is in their joint interest to keep this fact hidden from the police and to be fugitives from the law, because, if caught, both can expect to be punished.

A public servant who takes the bribe is the gate keeper who violates his responsibility and sells the property he is supposed to protect. “Since bribery is not a case of theft but of collaboration between two agents, the primary moral responsibility for it rests on the shoulder of the bribe taker,” he says.

For the full report in the Business Standard, click here

Looks very much like Mr Basu has gone through the debate here. The question that arises is can he as the CEA to the government bring about the all-important change?

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