Need to change Whistleblowers Act to protect witnesses: CVC
CVC said a whistleblower is the one who has the direct and personal information or leads which are very useful in an investigation.
New Delhi: There is a need to bring some provisions in Whistleblowers Act to protect witnesses that would provide confidence to those who expose corruption, Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary said here on Monday.
He also emphasised upon making public aware on the procedure to file complaints under Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer (PIDPI), widely known as whistleblower resolution.
Chowdary said a whistleblower is the one who has the direct and personal information or leads which are very useful in an investigation.
"In my view it is only that category of people need to be brought into the whistleblower not anybody and everybody who files petition.
"The other important thing and I am concerned more about is the witness protection. The witness is a person or an expert is a person who stake their life. They stand in a witness box and tell the truth. They tell the truth that could lead to a conviction," he said addressing a roundtable interaction with Chief Vigilance Officers of public sector undertakings and Chief Compliance Officers of private companies.
Chowdary said witnesses may have to face consequences whether it is a criminal case or civil.
"We need to bring some provisions in our Whistleblowers Act which would have an overriding effect on the Evidence Act...Some mechanism unless we bring in, it may be difficult to give confidence to whistleblowers or witnesses," he said.
There is a need to apply some filters as to who needs protection under the PIDPI or whistleblowers Act "not anybody and everybody who files petition" should get it, he added.
"This is not relevant for public sector alone. In the private sector also, there is a huge amount of whistleblowing which needs to be answered," the CVC said.
He said there is a need to make people aware as to how to file complaint under PIDPI resolution. "Not only we need to make these laws, but we need to take these to people and then guide them how these should be used. How to make it so that people do get the benefit and they don't take the backlash of making the complaint," Chowdary said.
A bill to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014 has been passed by Lok Sabha.
Parvez Hayat, President of Vigilance Study Circle (Delhi and NCR), said private companies need to focus on having forensic tools to check corruption and illegal practices there.
"The companies need to focus how to check misuse of technology to prevent illegal activities," he said in the event organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).