Pass key Bills in Parl session: Rights activists to Rahul

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 21:02

New Delhi: Civil rights activists on Tuesday staged a dharna outside the Congress office here pressing for the passage of the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill and the Grievance Redressal Bill with certain amendments in the upcoming Parliament session which begins on Wednesday.
 Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi later met National Campaign for People`s Right to Information (NCPRI) workers and the families of whistleblowers from across the country and assured them that his party was committed to the passage of the above Bills.
According to an NCPRI release, Gandhi told them that the Parliament was not being allowed to function and that was the reason why the Bills were not being taken up.

 "He (Gandhi) said he understood that without these Bills, the framework for transparency and accountability would remain incomplete.

 "He said that RTI users are information warriors and that Congress will try and ensure that people are empowered and their safety assured through the (passage of) the Bills," the release said.

 "We also suggested (introduction) of an ordinance in case the two Bills do not get tabled in Parliament, to which Gandhi seemed supportive," said Shekhar Singh of NCPRI.

 Terming them "key" for fighting corruption, the activists demanded inclusion of several amendments before the two Bills were passed by Parliament.

 "The introduction of the Grievance Redressal Bill in Parliament in December, 2011, was a positive step. However, some lacunae need to be addressed in order to ensure effective and timely redress of grievances," said Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convener, NCPRI.

 They said that the above Bill in its current form does not include setting up of a designated authority at the district level to ensure a decentralised appellate mechanism.

 Activists also demanded expansion of the definition of victimisation of the whistleblower as one of the crucial amendments in the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill.

 "More than 40 whistleblowers have been killed for exposing corruption. It is crucial that the Bill gets passed in this session with amendments for the setting up of a stipulated timeframe, inclusion of private sector, penalty for victimisation and compensation for victims," Bhardwaj said.

 The activists said they will also hold a demonstration in front of the BJP office to demand the party`s support for the smooth passage of the two Bills, he said.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 21:02

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