On December 27, 2011, Lok Sabha passed the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill which seeks to provide for setting up a regular mechanism to encourage persons to disclose information on corruption or wilful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers.
The Bill also seeks to provide “adequate protection to persons reporting corruption or wilful misuse of discretion that causes demonstrable loss to the government or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant”. While the measure sets out the procedure to inquire into the disclosures and provides adequate safeguards against victimisation of whistleblowers, it also seeks to provide punishment for false or frivolous complaints.
A major amendment cleared by the Union Cabinet is the inclusion of ministers, MPs, defence services, intelligence agencies, bank officials and PSUs under the ambit of the Bill. The Special Protection Group (SPG) has been kept out of the ambit of the Bill.
The definition of “disclosure” has also been amended to include wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion that leads to demonstrable loss to the government or demonstrable gain to the public servant or any third party.