The special CBI judge Vinod Kumar hearing the teachers' recruitment scam said the sentencing of IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar "troubled me" as it may send a wrong message that a whistle-blower is not appreciated by law.
The erstwhile director of primary education in Haryana, it was Kumar's plea in the Supreme Court that exposed the scam initially, but during the CBI probe he too was found to be involved. Kumar along with former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and 52 others have been sentenced to varying jail terms for illegally recruiting 3206 junior basic teachers (JBT) in Haryana in 2000.
While sentencing Kumar, the special CBI judge observed that had he spoken the truth, at least in the final stages, the court would have treated him differently than the other convicts who were overseeing the execution of the entire conspiracy.
"What troubled me was to decide the question of sentencing Sanjiv Kumar. I have held him to be a 'whistle blower'. There is no law at present to protect the whistle blowers. Had Sanjiv Kumar not taken the step to approach the Supreme Court and had he not produced the second set of award lists, this scam would not have come to light," the court said in its 34-page order.
"The dilemma before this court in deciding the question of sentence is on account of simple reason that sentencing such a person may send a wrong message that a whistle blower is not appreciated by law, rather, he is put to trial and tribulation," the court said, while suggesting principles to govern law for protection of whistleblowers.
"Law welcomes whistle blowers. If the whistle blower is innocent but only was a victim of circumstances, he must be cited as prosecution witness. If the whistle blower had a minor role in the commission of the offence or in the conspiracy for the commission of such offences, the courts should come forward to his rescue and in appropriate cases should not hesitate to make him an 'approver'," it said.