Law to protect whistleblowers soon

July 29th, 2010 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The government Thursday said a bill to protect whistleblowers is in the final stage of formulation.
“A bill to protect the persons who make public interest disclosures is nearing finalization,” Minister of State for Public Grievances Prithviraj Chavan said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

“There have been reports in the media and government has been informed about the increased threat to RTI (Right to Information) activists. Such incidents when reported are investigated by the local police,” Chavan said.

The minister, however, ruled out any legislation to protect RTI activists specifically.

The statement comes in the backdrop of the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethava in Ahmedabad July 20.

According to official sources, in the draft being prepared under the name The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Bill, 2009, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) will be designated the authority to which complaints against any central government employee or central government-backed institution will be made.

The CVC will have the powers of a civil court, including powers to summon anybody, order police investigation and provide security to the whistleblower.

The issue of protection for whistleblowers caught the attention of the entire nation after the murder of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) engineer Satyendra Dubey who had sent a letter to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, giving an account of corruption in the construction of highways.

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