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Question- 2. “Ignoring the fact that Right to Information users are facing death for keeping democracy alive is a threat to democracy itself”. Explain

 

AnswerIn the struggle for transparency and accountability, whistleblowers play an invaluable role. Increasingly, policymakers, media outlets, and many types of civil society organizations recognize the value whistleblowers provide and the need to protect them.

Unfortunately, despite increasing efforts in many jurisdictions, whistleblowers still fear retaliation and worry about whether their concerns will be addressed.

Whistleblowing

  • Whistleblowing is defined as an act of disclosing information by an employee or any concerned stakeholder about an illegal or unethical conduct within an organization.
  • A whistleblower is a person who informs about a person or organization engaged in such illicit activity.

Protecting rights of whistleblowers

  • The Law Commission of India in 2001, had recommended that, in order to eliminate corruption, a law to protect whistleblowers was necessary. It had drafted a bill as well to address this issue.
  • In 2004, in response to a petition filed after the infamous murder of NHAI Official, the Supreme Court of India directed the Central government that, ‘administrative machinery be put in place for acting on complaints from whistleblowers till a law is enacted.’
  • The UN Convention against Corruption to which India is a signatory (although not ratified) since 2005, encourages states to facilitate reporting of corruption by public officials and provide protection for witnesses and experts against retaliation.
  • There is an urgent need to enact effective legislation to protect whistleblowers.
  • In 2016, a Supreme Court bench criticised the Union government for its reluctance in notify the Whistleblowers Protection Act of 2014, but unfortunately to no avail.

Thus, suitable legislation must be enacted to provide protection to innocent whistleblowers. Strengthening of the whistleblower protection mechanism will help in ensuring that the integrity of democracy is protected, cherished and upheld.

Tags: GS 2 (Governance)
BY- Prashant Tiwari

Updated on 02 Aug 2022 |   Added on .01 Aug 2022  |  by admin