Committees to decide protection to whistle-blowers: Govt to HC
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has decided to form committees at various levels to scrutinise applications of whistle-blowers who seek police protection in wake of threats received by them from anti-social elements.
The committees would be set up at different levels -- state and district-wise -- Assistant Government Pleader Nitin Deshpande informed the Bombay High Court which yesterday heard a suo motu (on its own) petition concerning safety of social workers and whistle blowers.
If a whistle-blower apprehends or receives threat to his life from some quarters, he or she may approach the committee functioning in his district and seek protection. However, the committee would scrutinise his application and may or may not recommend interim police protection to him.
After a whistle-blower gets interim protection, his case would be referred to the state-level committee, which would decide whether to continue the protection or not, the court was informed.
The state committee may even decide to discontinue the protection granted earlier and in such case the concerned whistle-blower would not be asked to pay fine or compensation for the protection given to him, the government pleader said.
In case of crimes committed against a whistle-blower or a social worker, cases would be registered in the concerned police station. In rural areas, the probe would be conducted by a policeman not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and in urban areas by an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
The investigations in such cases would be monitored by the respective committees.
The committees would meet periodically and also review the cases where protection had been already granted to the whistle-blowers. In other words, it would decide whether protection should continue or not, the court was told.
After the murder of Satish Shetty, a social worker and RTI activist of Pune, the High Court had taken up a suo moto petition on protection to be granted to whistle-blowers. Shetty had blown a whistle on a series of land scams in and around Talegaon, Lonavala and Pune.
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