Whistleblower Issue in India

  • More than 15 whistle-blowers have been murdered in India in the past three years.
  • The new amendments to Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014. would fundamentally dilute the law


Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2014.
  • It protects people who bring to the notice of the authorities concerned allegations of corruption, wilful misuse of power or commission of a criminal offence against a public servant.
  • The WBP law has provisions for concealing the identity of a whistle-blower
  • The law affords protection against victimisation of the complainant or anyone who renders assistance in an inquiry.
  • This is critical as whistle-blowers are routinely subjected to various forms of victimisation, suspensions, withholding of promotions, threats of violence and attacks.
  • The law empowers the competent authorities to accord them protection, which includes police protection and penalising those who victimise them


The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015
  • It seeks to remove immunity provided to whistle-blowers from prosecution under the draconian Official Secrets Act (OSA) for disclosures made under the WBP law.
  • Issues involved are:
    • Offences under the OSA are punishable by imprisonment of up to 14 years.
    • Threat of such stringent penalties would deter even genuine whistle-blowers.
    • If whistle-blowers are prosecuted for disclosing information as part of their complaints and not granted immunity from the OSA, the very purpose of the law would be defeated.
  • Amendment Bill says that complaints by whistle-blowers containing information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security or economic interests of the state shall not be inquired into.
  • Certain categories of information cannot form part of the disclosure made by a whistle-blower, unless the information has been obtained under the RTI Act.
  • These exemptions have been modelled on Section 8(1) of the RTI law which lists information which cannot be disclosed to citizens.


RTI Act v/s WBP Act
  • The RTI Act seeks to provide information to people.
  • While the WBP Act provides a mechanism for disclosures to be made to competent authorities within the government to enable inquiry into allegations of corruption and provide protection to whistle-blowers.
  • Conflating the two laws is inappropriate and would preclude genuine whistle-blowing in several scenarios.
  • If the intention was to ensure that sensitive information pertaining to national security and integrity is not compromised, instead of carving out blanket exemptions, the government could have proposed additional safeguards for such disclosures such as requiring complaints to be filed using sealed envelopes to the competent authorities.



1 thought on “Whistleblower Issue in India”

  1. PRSIndia says that the the vigilance commission does not have powers to impose penalty on officials who victimise the complainant .

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