New Delhi: A landmark legislation to protect
whistleblowers who report corruption and provide for severe
punishment to those who expose their identity or try to
victimise such people was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons
Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 also provides for setting up
a regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose
information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public
servants to cause "demonstrable losses" to the government.
The bill, introduced by Minister of State for Personnel
Prithviraj Chavan, brings under its ambit employees of central
and state governments, public sector firms, local authorities
and societies among others.
According to its Statement of Objects and Reasons, the
bill 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 it sets 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.
The bill provides for punishment for revealing the
identity, either negligently or with malafide intention, of
the person who reports matters regarding corruption
by a public servant.
The legislation was necessitated as it was felt that there
were impediments in eliminating corruption in government due
to "lack of adequate protection" to complainants, the
Government had earlier empowered the Central Vigilance
Commission, through a resolution, to hand down harsh penalty
to people revealing the identity of whistleblowers.
But it was felt that a standalone legislation was needed
to protect the whistleblowers as the resolution empowering the
CVC did "not suffice", the statement said.