Lok Sabha introduced a bill to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act

To check the issues of national security a bill was introduced to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011 in Lok Sabha on 11 May 2015. On May 2014, although the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill 2015 got President’s assent it had not come into force, so it was attacked by the opposition parties on the government for not reporting the bill.

The bill is being amended in such a way that the necessary provisions help in strengthening against the disclosure of the information which can affect the sovereignty and security of the states and the nation. Government’s stand is that these amendments or changes that are being brought must address the concerns about the states security but few of them state that it can dilute the actions.

Government said that this will help in strengthening and safeguarding the nation against any kind of disclosures which can affect the sovereignty of the nation along with security and scientific interest of the state or foreign relations which can lead to an offence. Even though there is some safeguard that is provided regarding disclosures Right to Information Act 2005 also provides certain amount of exception under Section 8(1) of the said act. Protection to Persons making the Disclosures Bill, 2011 and the Public Interest Disclosures was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2010 August, to provide statutory protection to Whistle-blowers in the nation. It was passed as Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011, on 2011 December by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also had approved it on 21 February 2014.

On May 9, 2014 bill received the assent by the President when it came for assent and was passed in Rajya Sabha, while the UPA government was ruling in the centre, BJP had asked for few amendments to the said bill. In that, there was one constraint where whistle-blowers were barred from getting information relating to national security. To protect the people’s identity who expose corruption is the main intentions of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.

Last year many whistleblowers and their family members had demonstrated outside the congress and BJP party offices demanding the passing of the Whistleblower Protection Bill.  Many friends of assassinated whistleblowers had come to Delhi from Rajhasthan, Bihar, and Gujarat to participate in the demonstration.

by Sushma Javare.