Personnel, Grievances and Pensions
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill seeks to protect whistleblowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offence by a public servant.
Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission.
Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant.
The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary. The Bill penalises any person who has disclosed the identity of the complainant.
The Bill prescribes penalties for knowingly making false complaints.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Bill aims to balance the need to protect honest officials from undue harassment with protecting persons making a public interest disclosure. It punishes any person making false complaints. However, it does not provide any penalty for victimising a complainant.
- The CVC was designated to receive public interest disclosures since 2004 through a government resolution. There have been only a few hundred complaints every year. The provisions of the Bill are similar to that of the resolution. Therefore, it is unlikely that the number of complaints will differ significantly.
- The power of the CVC is limited to making recommendations. Also it does not have any power to impose penalties. This is in contrast to the powers of the Karnataka Lokayukta and the Delhi Lokayukta.
- The Bill has a limited definition of disclosure and does not define victimisation. Other countries such as US, UK, and Canada define disclosure more widely and define victimisation.
- The Bill differs on many issues with the proposed Bill of the Law Commission and the 2nd Administrative Reform Commission’s report. These include non-admission of anonymous complaints and lack of penalties for officials who victimise whistleblowers.