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Parliament passes Bill to shield whistleblowers
Govt to bring in ordinance to address BJP’s objections
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
Parliament today passed the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill, with the Rajya Sabha giving its nod to the landmark legislation on the last day of the last parliamentary session of the UPA-II government. It was one of the six anti-graft Bills that had Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s backing.

The Bill seeks to establish a mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers. It 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.

It provides safeguards against victimisation of the person who makes the complaint and also seeks to provide punishment for false or frivolous complaints.

At least 40 persons, who blew the lid in corruption cases, have been murdered, as revealed by an RTI application. The Bill will become a law after the President's assent. The historic Bill was taken up with an understanding to approve it as passed by the Lok Sabha so it does not need to be sent again to the Lower House. However, the BJP is learnt to have objected to certain provisions concerning national security. With the government keen to push the Bill through Rajya Sabha on the last day, it would bring in an ordinance to amend provisions that the BJP had objected to.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in 2011, but it was a two-year wait for it to be passed by the Upper House.

There were several amendments from the government itself, but none were moved. Some amendments were defeated by voice vote. Had the amendments been passed, the Bill would have been stuck as the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die while the Bill was being passed by the Upper House.

The Bill was of importance not only due to Rahul Gandhi’s backing but also because of intense pressure from groups campaigning for it. 

Fight against corruption

* The Whistleblowers' Protection Bill aims to encourage persons to expose corruption or malpractice by public servants and protect them

* The nod came a decade after Satyendra Dubey (pic) , a whistleblower and NHAI engineer, was killed for exposing graft in the construction of highways

* At least 40 persons, who blew the lid in corruption cases, have been murdered, as per an RTI application

Relief for cancer patients

Cancer patients will have easier access to pain-killer morphine drugs with Parliament on Friday passing a Bill that also provides for control and regulation of narcotic drugs. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday.





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