Supreme Court protected Whistleblower against prosecution for revealing Confidential documents

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New Delhi: Supreme Court of India has protected, Whistleblower, who reveals confidential documents and secrets of the Government or its agencies, saying that if the same is revealed in the interest of public and also if it is for exposing corruption, then whistleblower cannot be prosecuted.

It was sought by the Former Chief of Central Bureau of Investigation- CBI, Mr. Ranjit Sinha in his plea that there should be an action against the Whistleblower who reveals confidential documents of CBI, such as file noting to Senior Advocate, Mr. Prashant Bhushan. The Bench of honourable Court, while turning down the said plea of Mr. Ranjit Sinha, held that the said disclosures on the part of Whistleblower were sought in the interest of public.

It was also observed by the Court that, if whistleblower uses the documents for the purpose which being outrageous or is of such nature to cause damage to the interest of public, then the matter will be of such nature as where, the Court can take appropriate actions against it.

As such, the Top Court has pointed that, there is no damage to the interest of public in case of revealing confidential documents and secrets of the Central Bureau of Investigation by the Whistleblower and thus the case not falls within the category of outrageous purpose. However, not only this the Court has also stated that the Whistleblower, whoever it is, has acted purportedly in the interest of public by seeking for bringing out ‘what he or she believes is an attempt by Mr. Ranjit Sinha to scuttle the investigations into the affairs of the Dardas or others in the case of Coal Block Allocation.

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Also the Apex Court has observed that the meetings of Former CBI Chief, Mr. Ranjit Sinha, with some accused in the case of Coal allocation when there was absence of Investigating Officers, were totally inappropriate. It was alleged that he was having meeting several people who were investigated by the CBI, till he was retired.

The Court said that there cannot be any justification for him to meet any such accused persons, when there were no investigation officers present.

The Top Court’s Bench comprising of Justice, M. B. Lokur, Justice, K. Joseph and Justice, A. K. Sikr has required the Central Vigilance Commission- CVC to assist the Court in determining the question that whether Mr. Sinha’s meetings with those accused persons, will have any bearing on the investigations. The Court requires CVC to respond on the same on or before 6th day of this July.

However, Mr. Sinha has declined to comment, when called and similarly, the CBI’s Spokesperson also refused to comment by saying that Mr. Sinha is now retired.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.