Whistleblower Protection – UPSC Ethics

Critically examine why the presence of functioning whistleblower  protection regime is important in public administration in India. (200 Words)
Whistle Blower is anyone providing undisclosed information to expose wrongdoings and corruption. As emphasis on transparency and accountability increases acts of whistle-blowing too need to be encouraged and a protection regime needs to be institutionalized .
Significance of such mechanism is visible in several avenues
  1. The protection regime can safeguard the person’s identity providing safety through anonymity
  2. Increasing cases of violence, murder and intimidation of whistle blowers which has a chilling effect on such acts of public interest disclosure can be addressed effectively. Manjunath , Satyendra Dubey had to pay with their lives for exposing the corruption in their departments.
  3. An institutional mechanism ensures people know which agencies to report these acts of indiscretion and can demand protection for themselves and family.
  4. It encourages people to go for public disclosure knowing that they will be safe and won’t be harassed by administration or office seniors.
The protection regime should also include provisions for automatic protection mechanism kicking in place -with strength and duration of protection provided adequately factoring in threat perception .
While a Whistleblower bill has been passed by parliament its rules haven’t been notified preventing any effective implementation at the grassroot. Financial constraints and lack of manpower plagues bodies like Central Vigilance Commission. These excuses forwarded to express helplessness in implementing the provisions will result in an opaque, inefficient public administration .



A principal charge levelled against civil servants who reveal wrongdoing by their political bosses, post-retirement, is that they speak up too late. Do you think civil servants while still serving should blow the whistle against their colleagues or political bosses even if the latter is powerful? Critically comment on the issue. (200 Words)

The long existing and recently heightened trend of post-retirement disclosure about the wrongdoing of their political bosses need to be seen in the context of existing environment for whistle blowers. Yet the result, relevance and intent of such disclosure are varied and complex.
The outcome of such revelation are often modest or many a time a lost opportunity. The intent of this practice might have varied such as an unfavourable environment, lack of concrete proof, lack of fighting spirit, awakening of subconscious post retirement, tendency to play safe. Many a time politically ambitious civil servants brings in such revelation, to prepare a political ground for their future prospect. The timing and content, of such disclosure is opportune, highlighted by media or often the catch line of their autobiography. Also the news come at a time when the politician or bureaucrat is undergoing proceeding or in the days of waning glory and power.
The working civil servant can take a practical approach based on the ground situation.
Case A
If the they have the concrete proof of wrongdoing in documentary proof, audio, video or text which shall prove it worthy for inquiring agency or judiciary to bring required seriousness, he shall move ahead. But as he is raising the voicing against much powerful official, he shall be prepared well. First he shall discuss the case with few of his most trustworthy and capable friends or colleague. All the angles and outcome based on rules, regulation may be detailed analysed so as to strengthen his standing. Also he shall prepare himself and his family mentally, to face the worst of time ahead.
Case B
Even if he knows the case but evidence are not concrete or verbal and with missing link, he shall avoid and wait for the appropriate evidence. An immature decision to go with vague evidence might bring undue stress on him and his case which is already weak might bring sub-optimal result.
A civil servant shall perform his duty to the nation with utmost integrity and righteous manner, bus at the same time shall practice it with prudence and in practical manner.


“Many see Whistle-blowers as a snitch or a low life who betray a sacred trust largely for personal gains. “ How far do you agree with the statement? Substantiate with suitable examples. (150 Words)

The statement cannot be agreed as it is well known that several whistle-blowers have lost their life after revealing the crimes and matters of public importance. Moreover, before whistle-blowing they would be well aware of the worst consequences they would be facing and are in fact boldly taking risks that would disrupt their peaceful life forever.
  • Corruption cases such as 2G spectrum could be proved only if whistle blowers are protected and motivated. A real life story of a young and honest engineering graduate‘s revelation of malpractices and his subsequent tragic death is a good example of whistle-blower’s sacrifice and determination of serving the country.
  • Satyendra Kumar Dubey was the Deputy Manager in NHAI on 2002. He found many wrong doings in the golden quadrilateral project in Bihar and so sent a letter to PMO addressing the PM about the loot of public money and poor implementation of the highway project.
  • Since letters of a common man are usually not treated with seriousness, he had revealed his identity and emphasized the need to probe into the project’s working.
  • Unfortunately, he was killed by some ‘unknown’ persons and it sparked wide protests across the country calling for a legislation to protect whistle-blowers who expose corruption.
  • Mr. Dubey did what he must in spite of the personal consequences, obstacles, dangers and pressures. Not only Dubey, some other informants like S. Manjunath, Amit Jethwa, Shehla Masood, etc were also killed dubiously after whistle-blowing.
Will a person consider popularity or any other selfish reason to take risk of his/her own life?
The laws around the world are being strengthened to encourage whistle-blowing of corruption at the highest levels and in India dishonesty by public officials would become virtually undetectable if whistle-blowers are not encouraged.


Is it ethical to protect whistle-blowers? Justify. (150 Words)

Whistleblower is the one who exposes documents, activities or information which are proof of illegal and unethical practices taking place in an organisation whether it is private or public. It is done in PUBLIC INTEREST. E.g. Satyendra Dubey, Edward Snowden, Brad Birkenfeld, Vijay Pandhare
If we do not protect whistleblowers then their life may become miserable or they may be killed. In order to check CORRUPTION, FRAUD, UNETHICAL practices these people show COURAGE, if they are not protected then a time will come when nobody will dare to be a whistleblower. Their action’s imprint can be seen in 2 ways; 1st – people dare to stand against wrong and 2nd –organisations are trying to act with more TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY.
It is ETHICAL as well as DUTY of a government to provide protection to whistleblowers. By whistleblower’s protection act countries including India is doing so.


  • Citizens Whistleblowers Forum (CWF): A Forum created by a group of eminent persons which will hear complaints from Whistleblowers.

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