ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Will Truth Prevail?

In its current form, the whistle-blowers' bill will simply not do.

The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010 was recently tabled in the Lok Sabha. The Law Commission of India had first drafted a bill on providing protection to whistle-blowers in 2001. Since then the murder of two whistle-blowers (Satyendra Dubey in 2003 and Manjunath Shanmugham in 2007) brought the issue of the vulnerability of those who expose corruption into public focus. Following a Supreme Court order in 2004, the government issued the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers’ Resolution. Since this resolution is not sufficient to provide statutory protection to people who report corruption, a law was required to provide effective protection to those who expose corruption and wrongdoing.

Everywhere in the world whistle-blowers have to be unusually committed and unafraid of risks, but strong protection laws go a long way in reassuring them of safety. However, given the endemic proportions of corruption in public life in India and corruption-related violence (eight Right to Information (RTI) activists have been murdered since January this year), the moot point is how far it will be possible to implement the provisions of the proposed legislation and how far the infrastructure available will support effective implementation.

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