Extracts from 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission on Whistleblowers

3.6 Protection to Whistleblowers
3.6.1 Whistleblowers play a crucial role in providing information about corruption. Public
servants who work in a department/agency know the antecedents and activities of others in
their organization. They are, however, often unwilling to share the information for fear of
reprisal. There is a very close connection between the public servant’s willingness to disclose
corruption in his organization and the protection given to him and his/her identity. If adequate
statutory protection is granted, there is every likelihood that the government would be able
to get substantial information about corruption.The term “whistleblowing” itself is a relatively
recent addition to our lexicon. In the United States, in the post-Watergate era, after the
trials and tribulations of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who “blew the whistle” on the so called “Pentagon papers”, whistleblowing has not only
been protected by statute but is also encouraged
as an ethical duty on the part of the citizens.
Furthermore, after the spectacular collapse of
Enron and WorldCom, the US Congress passed
the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, granting
sweeping protection to whistleblowers in publicly
traded companies. Anyone retaliating against a
corporate whistleblower can now be imprisoned
for up to 10 years46.
3.6.2 Laws providing such protection exist in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
The UK Public Interest Disclosure Act, 1998, the Public Interest Disclosure Act, 1994 of
Australia, the Protected Disclosure Act, 2000 of New Zealand, and the Whistle blowers
Protection Act, 1984 of USA are legislations providing protection to whistleblowers. All
these laws generally provide for preserving the anonymity of the whistleblower and
safeguarding him/her against victimization within the organization.
3.6.3 The Law Commission in its 179th Report has proposed a Public Interest Disclosure
(Protection of Informers) Bill, which provides protection to whistleblowers. The Bill has
provisions for providing safeguards to the whistleblowers against victimization in the
organization. It also has a provision that the whistleblower may himself seek transfer in case
he apprehends any victimization in the current position. In order to ensure protection to
whistleblowers, it is necessary that immediate legislation may be brought on the lines proposed
by the Law Commission.
3.6.4 Recommendation:
a. Legislation should be enacted immediately to provide protection to
whistleblowers on the following lines proposed by the Law Commission:
• Whistleblowers exposing false claims, fraud or corruption should
be protected by ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, protection
from victimization in career, and other administrative measures to
prevent bodily harm and harassment.
• The legislation should cover corporate whistleblowers unearthing
fraud or serious damage to public interest by willful acts of omission
or commission.
• Acts of harassment or victimization of or retaliation against, a
whistleblower should be criminal offences with substantial penalty
and sentence

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