- The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice headed by Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, M.P., Rajya Sabha presented its Forty-sixth Report on The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 to Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha on the 9th June, 2011. The report will be presented to both the Houses in the ensuing session of Parliament.
- The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the 26th August, 2010 and referred by the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha to the Committee on the 15th September, 2010 for examination and report.
- The Bill seeks to establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or willful misuse of power or willful misuse of discretion against any public servant and to inquire or cause an inquiry into such disclosure and to provide adequate safeguards against victimization of the person making such complaint and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.
- The Committee, while examining the Bill, heard the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training and various organizations/individuals/experts on the provisions of the Bill in its meetings.
- The Committee's major recommendations/observations are as follows:-
- The Committee is not in favour of keeping out the Armed Forces/intelligence and security agencies from the purview of the Bill. No organisation of Government should be left out from public scrutiny and accountability provided for in the Bill.
- The Committee desires that the Ministry should consider bringing the Members of Council of Ministers, the Judiciary, including the higher Judiciary, Regulatory Authorities etc, within the ambit of this Bill by making necessary amendments therein.
- The Committee recommends that a foolproof mechanism should be envisaged to ensure that the identity of the complainant is not compromised with, at any cost and at any level.
- The Committee recommends that the Government may consider an alternate mechanism within/outside the Bill for enquiring into anonymous complaints.
- The Committee is of the considered opinion that the identity of the complainant should not be revealed by the Competent Authority to the Head of the Department, without the written consent of the complainant.
- The Committee feels that the Competent Authority should inform the complainant about the outcome of the complaint. The Competent Authority should also give the reasons if the complaint is dismissed and further, the complainant should be given a reasonable hearing to present his case if he is not satisfied with the dismissal of his complaint/ outcome of the enquiry.
- The Committee is of the view that the Rules/Regulations under the Bill should provide for a reasonable time limit for conducting the discreet inquiry by the Competent Authority; for inquiry by the Head of the organisation/office and for acting upon the recommendations made by the Competent Authority.
- The Committee recommends that the Government should ensure that the directions of the Competent Authority are complied with.
- The Committee does not endorse the provisions of the Bill ruling out complaints on events older than 5 years.
- The Committee recommends that the term "victimization" may be defined in the Bill.
- The Committee also recommends that it should be provided in the Bill that witnesses/persons who support the whistleblower or help in the investigation/inquiry, should also be accorded the same protection against victimization as envisaged for the whistleblower, in the Bill.
- The Committee desires that a mechanism be set up for this Bill to apply particularly in respect of Centrally funded schemes when the State level authorities fail to take suitable action. The Committee hopes that all States would adopt the Bill.
- The Committee feels that the quantum of punishment prescribed in the Bill for frivolous/malafide disclosure is too high and should be substantially reduced. Disclosures made frivolously or with a malafide intention only should meet with penalty under the Bill. The Committee also recommends that the decision to impose penalty on such complaints should be appealable in High Court.
- The Committee welcomes the Bill and broadly endorses its provisions.
(The full report is available on the website of Rajya Sabha. (rajyasabha.nic.in
Committees→ Committees→ Department Related RS→ Committee on Personnel,
Public Grievances, Law and Justice → Reports)