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Parliament nod to whistleblowers' protection bill

Friday, 21 February 2014 - 7:04pm IST | Agency: PTI

A bill to provide for setting up a regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers, was passed by Parliament today.

The Whistleblowers' Protection Bill also seeks to provide "adequate protection to persons reporting corruption or wilful misuse of discretion which causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant."

While the measures set out the procedure to inquire into the disclosures and provides adequate safeguards against victimisation of the whistleblower, it also seeks to provide punishment for false or frivolous complaints.

In his reply, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said the legislation would supplement the RTI Act in checking corruption in the country.

He said based on some recommendations of Parliamentary Standing Committee and other members, who had sought to bring some amendments. However, since it was session's last day, he was not pushing them as the bill would lapse.

"But appropriate steps will be taken to address concerns of members within constitutional methods in 10 days," he said.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in 2011 and was taken up by the Upper House in 2012 for consideration. However, it could not be passed because of the death of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

To a suggestion that steps should be taken to protect those who had blown the whistle on corrupt practices prior to the bill being passed, Narayanasamy said the government has already brought a resolution in 2004 under which the CVC was empowered to protect the whistleblowers.

The definition of 'disclosure' has also been amended to include wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion which leads to demonstrable loss to the government or demonstrable gain to the public servant or any third party.

The definition of competent authority to which a complaint can be made has also been expanded. 


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