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Govt waiting for President`s nod for Whistleblowers` Protection law

Last Updated: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 23:30

New Delhi: Government proposes to bring an ordinance to keep issues of national security out of the purview of the Whistleblowers` Protection law and is awaiting the President`s nod to the bill in this regard passed by parliament.
The Law Ministry has told the Ministry of Personnel that an ordinance is not possible till the time the Bill gets President`s nod and is notified in gazettee as an Act.

Law Ministry officials explained that an ordinance can amend an Act and not a bill.
One of the two amendments in the bill proposed by BJP when it came up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha was barring whistleblowers from seeking information on national security, which the government agreed was necessary.

But UPA floor managers had requested BJP not to press for it during the bill`s debate in the upper House as an amended bill will have to be reverted to Lok Sabha for its nod, which was not feasible as parliament`s session was concluding soon.

Government is learnt to have promised an ordinance to keep the issue of national security out of the proposed Act`s purview.

The plan to bring an ordinance soon may have to wait till President Pranab Mukherjee gives his nod to the bill.

While the bill sets 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.

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 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 as the debate remained inconclusive following the death of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

First Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 23:30

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