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Union Cabinet Approves Amendments to Whistleblowers Act

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The union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Whistlebowers Protection Act, 2011 aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Amendment is being done with a view to incorporate necessary provisions aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of the state.

Safeguard has also been provided in respect of such disclosures which have been exempted under section 8(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Government will now move an amendment bill in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session itself.

Highlights of the act :

  • The Bill seeks to protect whistleblowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offence by a public servant.
  • Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission.
  • Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant.
  • The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary.  The Bill penalises any person who has disclosed the identity of the complainant.
  • The Bill prescribes penalties for knowingly making false complaints.
  • The Bill also provides safeguards against victimisation of the person who makes the complaint.

Timeline :

–  2010 : The Public Interest Disclosures and Protection to Persons making the Disclosures Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August, 2010.

–  2011 : The bill was passed by Lok Sabha, in December 2011, as the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011.

–  2014 : The Rajya Sabha had passed it on 21 February 2014.

–  2014 : It had received the assent of the President on 9 May 2014.

–  2015 : Union Cabinet Approves Amendments to Whistleblowers Act.