Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.
Gifts of money or other items of value which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery. Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities Commission involved in electric rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. If the rebate was done to influence them to look favorably on the electric utility’s rate increase applications, however, that would be bribery, and unlawful.
The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be money, goods, rights in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
Corruption in India is a major issue that adversely affects its economy. A study conducted by Transparency International in year 2005 found that more than 62% of Indians had first hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully. In its study conducted in year 2008, Transparency International reports about 40% of Indians had firsthand experience of paying bribes or using a contact to get a job done in public office.
In 2015, India was ranked 76th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, compared to its neighbors Bhutan (30th), Bangladesh (145th), Myanmar (156th), China (100th), Nepal (126th), Pakistan (126th) and Sri Lanka (85th). This is the second least corruption rank for India in the whole of South Asia. In 2013, India was ranked 94th out of 175 countries. In 2016, India was ranked 76th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.