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Congratulations! Finally, Whistleblower Act got passed

Postby dheerajjain » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:51 am

Finally, Whistleblower Act got passed which provides protection to activists who expose corruption in Govt. offices. Bill got passed on last day of Parliament in Rajya Sabha without change after it was passed by Lok Sabha 2 years back. Politicians of all parties were taking no interest in getting this law passed. Thanks a lot to Mr. Rahul Gandhi who took pains and efforts in getting this anti-corruption legislation passed. ... 815449.cms

NEW DELHI: At the very fag end of the forgettable existence of the 15th Lok Sabha, Parliament on Friday passed the Whistleblower Protection Bill. The Rajya Sabha cleared this crucial anti-corruption law a good two years after it was passed by the Lok Sabha.

The delay was not because the elders brought some new wisdom to the proposed law. In fact, the Bill, seeking to ensure the safety of those exposing corruption in government, was passed exactly the way it was cleared by the Lower House. In any case, any amendment would have required the Bill to be sent back to Lok Sabha for approval but the Lok Sabha had already been adjourned sine die by then.

Another important Bill that squeaked past on the last day was one amending the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act to ease the availability of morphine (an opium derivative) for medicinal purposes. Morphine is used for pain management in cancer and AIDS cases, but was difficult to procure because of the stiff provisions of the NDPS Act.

The Whistleblower 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". The Bill will also ensure punishment for false or frivolous complaints.

Anti-corruption activists have been campaigning for the Bill for many years now, but despite both the Congress and BJP promising to pass the Bill, it was kept hanging for two years. Eventually, it took Rahul Gandhi's intervention to get this Bill passed, although Parliament failed to pass the other Bill he was rooting for: the Grievance Redress Bill.

In his reply, minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy said the legislation would supplement the RTI Act in checking corruption in the country. He conceded that some members had sought to bring some amendments. However, since it was the session's last day, he was not pushing them as the bill would lapse.

"But appropriate steps will be taken to address concerns of members within constitutional methods in 10 days," he said.

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 because of the death of Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
To a suggestion that steps should be taken to protect those who had blown the whistle on corrupt practices prior to the bill being passed, Narayanasamy said the government has already brought a resolution in 2004 under which the CVC was empowered to protect the whistleblowers.

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.
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