Law for Protection of Whistleblowers
The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making Disclosure Bill, 2010 (the Whistleblower Bill) has been tabled in the Lok Sabha on 26th August 2010. The issue of protection to whistle blowers has assumed special significance earlier in the light of the murder of National Highways Authority of India's Deputy General-Manager, Shri Satyandra Dubey, who raised his voice against the prevalent corruption in awarding road building contracts under Golden Quadrilateral Projects. Another brilliant officer of Indian Oil Corporation, Shri A. Manjunath, had to lay down his life for highlighting adulteration and mafia operations in the functioning petrol pumps. There are numerous cases in our country which speak volumes of the need for such a legislation. Even the Law Commission has recommended the need for a Whistle Blower Protection Act which will ensure transparency in the administration and will also provide a sense of security to the whistle blower.
There is no denying the fact that corruption is rampant in our country. Be it Government, public sector or private sector—everywhere, it has crept into the system. It is so deep rooted and channelised that when a whistle blower tries to raise his voice against corrupt practices from within the system, his voice is scuttled and he is made to suffer. Several countries have already put in place laws to protect whistleblowers or are in the process of doing so. However, the level of protection and the way in which the law operates differs from country to country.
The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Bill, 2009 was prepared by the department of personnel and training (DoPT). As per the draft law, any person can make a complaint of corruption or disclosure against any central government employee or central government-backed institution to the CVC. The CVC, which would be designated as the competent authority for complaints, would have the powers of a civil court, including powers to summon anybody, order police investigation and provide security to the whistleblower. The CVC would not reveal the identity of the complainant but would have the authority to ignore complaints of vexatious or frivolous nature.
However, the proposed law does not deal with corporate whistleblowers, though as per the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, the scope of the proposed law could be enlarged to deal with corporate whistleblowers too.