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Whistle Blowers Bill Tabled in Loksabha…Will the Loop Holes be Plugged !!

10 March 2011 No Comment

The Whistle Blowers Bill which is meant to  empower the Citizens who expose Corrupt Government Officials has been tabled in the Loksabha,the bill is supposed to be a strong step for the protection of the Common Man who have started exposing Corruption either in form of Written Complaints to Higher Authorities or by filing Right to Information Applications,which make mandatory for disclosure of relevant documents pertaining to the subject if asked for.

Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclousres Bill,2010, basically took its birth with the attack and killing of  Satyendra Dubey, an Indian Institute of Technology engineer who was killed in 2003 in Gaya district after he blew the whistle on corruption in the NHAI’s Golden Quadilateral project.

Satyendra Dubey had Complained to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the Corruption in the  NHAI’s Golden Quadilateral project. and had named the project director and a retired army brigadier to be the Culprit of it,for which he paid with his life.

The current bill which is tabled now in the Loksabha is supposed to be a landmark legislation to protect Whistle Blowers and mete out severe punishment to those who reveal their identity or try to Victimise them.

But there are several Loop Holes in the Bill which has been tabled, The Bill suggests punishment for revealing the identity, either negligently or with malafide intention, of the person who reports matters regarding corruption by a public servant with the penalty for revealing identity of complainant is imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and also a fine of up to Rs 50,000, the Bill seeks punishment of imprisonment up to two years and fine of up to Rs 30,000 for false or frivolous disclosure.

While the Bill is a matter of rejoicing for the common man and the RTI Activist’s, but the  loopholes which exist still send shivers down everybody.

There is a Limited coverage of reportable actions, Only one Authority prescribed for receiving public interest disclosure ,The  Central Vigilance Commission(CVC) is permitted to disclose the identity of whistleblowers to the Head of the Department, The Bill does not apply to the private sector , Armed Forces have been exempted from it, False complainants will be imprisoned but no policy has been drafted for rewarding the Whistle Blowers, There is no clarity on the kinds of protection that a whistle blower is entitled to receive.

The CVC or any other authority as the Centre may, by official notification specify as a Competent Authority which will be the nodal authority to handle complaints against the state, Central government or PSU employees.The Competent Authority will have power of a civil court in summoning any person, receiving evidence on affidavit and requisitioning any public record or copy from any Court or office.

Initially the government had empowered the CVC, through a resolution, to hand down harsh penalty to people revealing the identity of Whistle Blowers but with cases of Corruption emerging out against the CVC itself,its become a Big Question Mark on providing a Authority to the CVC as well.

Its to be seen now how the Peoples Representatives keep the Trust of the Country Men by Keeping afloat the basic need of the Public-Interest-Disclosure-and-Protection-to-Persons-Making-the-Disclosures-Bill2010

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