Whistleblowers India


Saving whistle-blowers

Posted by ekavi on June 17, 2006

Saving whistle-blowers
Dubey’s fate should not befall others



AS expected, the government has empowered the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to be the designated agency to receive complaints from government servants or members of the public on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office by any employee of the government or public sector organisation. The CVC would conduct preliminary investigation into the alleged charge and if it was of the opinion that either the complainant or the witnesses needed protection, it would issue directions to the government. The Supreme Court had sought such a mechanism recently. Given the lawlessness prevailing in some parts of the country, it is not certain how effective the step will be in reassuring the potential whistle-blowers. After the murder of National Highway Authority of India’s Satyendra Dubey, there are many misgivings in the minds of those railing against corruption. After all, he had requested none other than the Prime Minister’s Office to protect his identity but this was not done. It will take a lot of cajoling to make those willing to expose corruption to accept that the CVC’s office would not be found to be similarly wanting.

Because of such fears, many persons may not be willing to stick their neck out and disclose instances of corruption. They may like to do so without revealing their names. But there is a hitch. The CVC is not to act on anonymous complaints. This precaution has been taken to avoid the possibility of fake complaints but may deter many people from coming out with facts. Cannot some arrangement be made to have at least a cursory glance at the complaints which do not mention the senders’ names for obvious reasons? There may be a grain of truth in them demanding a full enquiry.

The corruption challenge is so daunting that the CVC may not be able to tackle it fully. Ultimately, the government just has to go in for the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Bill, popularly known as the Whistle Blowers’ Bill if it wants to ensure probity and transparency in the administration.


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