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An estimated 2-minute read

BLOWING THE WHISTLE- hard but safe...

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Roopali Adlakha
The term ‘Whistleblower’ is a comparatively recent addition to our lexicon. It traces its origin to the post-Watergate era USA. It emerged after the trials and tribulations of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who “blew the whistle” on the ‘Pentagon Papers’. His Indian counterpart who brought to limelight the issue of protection and security of ‘whistleblowers’ was Satyendra Dubey, a Project Manager at the National highway Authority of India (NHAI). He discovered and unravelled corruption and wrongdoings in the Golden Quadrilateral Highway Construction Project. The tenders which were supposed to be given to only highly experienced firms and were contracted to Larsen & Tourbo were further subcontracted to low experience firms. On finding this out, he complained to his Project Director S. K. Soni and Brij Satish Kapoor. When no action was taken he was urged to send a letter to the Prime Minister and attached his bio-data separately with the letter and requested that his identity should not be revealed. He also suffered constant threats and CBI lodged an FIR naming both Soni and Kapoor. His identity was invariably revealed and subsequently he was murdered in Gaya.

Another such story is that of Manjunath Shanmugam from Indian Oil Corporation (IOL) who fought against the adulteration of petrol by the petrol pump owners and refused bribes and ignored threats. He then had to pay a heavy price for his ‘audacity’. He was shot dead on November 19, 2005. These are not stray, isolated incidents in which a person exposing corruption or wrongdoings was assaulted or even murdered. Various such incidents paved way for the recently in news- Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making Disclosure Bill, 2010 popularly known as the Whistleblowers (Protection) Bill, 2010.
This Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on August 26, 2010. Ever since, it has been subject of much controversy. The contents of the bill were not being revealed to the public and the secrecy around the same raised many eyebrows. Under Section 4 (1)(c), Right to Information Act, it is mandatory for the parliament to publish the contents of the bill being considered by either of the houses but this rule was not followed and no substantial explanation for such non-conformity was ever given. After much hue and cry by various NGOs and other activists the contents of this controversial bill were made public but only r

The bill is drafted more or less on the lines of the recommendations of the 179th Law Commission Report- The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers, December, 2001. The most important.......Read More
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