- February 22, 2014
- Press Release
The NCPRI welcomes the passage of the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill by the Rajya Sabha on February 21, 2014. The bill had been earlier passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011. The passage of the bill by the Rajya Sabha has paved the way for the Bill to become a law. The bill would have lapsed if it had not been passed in the recently concluded session of Parliament.
The NCPRI had been demanding the enactment of a strong Whistle Blowers Protection Bill to ensure a robust mechanism for protection of whistleblowers and to promote an environment to encourage people to blow the whistle about wrongdoings/corruption. In the last few years, more than 40 people have been killed for seeking information and exposing corruption and malpractices. Families of whistleblowers who had been killed for exposing corruption campaigned along with the NCPRI over the last several sessions of Parliament to push for the passage of the Bill. Since the 4th of February 2014, the families along with NCRPI held demonstrations every day outside the offices of the political parties and organized a ‘Parliament Watch’, in collaboration with other civil society groups.
The NCPRI had suggested several key amendments to the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill to overcome some of the deficiencies in the bill. However, as the bill was passed on the last day of the Parliament session, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill without amendments. The concerned minister, Shri V. Narayanasamy, while speaking about the bill in Rajya Sabha on the 21st of February 2014, made a commitment that amendments to the bill, proposed by the opposition, will be brought in within ten days of the passage of the bill. The minister had stated-
“As for the amendments which I propose, which have been given by the hon. Leader of the Opposition, which the Government has accepted, I would like to withdraw them; otherwise, the Bill will lapse. Therefore, Sir, I give an assurance on the floor of the House that we will fulfil the appropriate constitutional requirement within a period of ten days, not 15 days, in complying with whatever commitments we have given to the Leader of the Opposition, and also to this House.”
As the Minister has proposed to move amendments, the NCPRI believes that certain key amendments to strengthen the Whistle Blowers Protection Act must be brought in. Members of NCPRI Aruna Roy and Anjali Bhardwaj met with the Minister, Shri V. Narayanasamy today, and submitted a note of the suggested amendments. The key amendments relate to the designation of competent authorities, definition of victimisation, provision for compensation, penalty for victimisation, jurisdiction of the bill and inclusion of the private sector. During the debate in Rajya Sabha, several MPs had also highlighted these points and suggested amendments.
The note submitted to the Minister is enclosed (here).