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THE CONCEPT OF WHISTLEBLOWING

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Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Kanakkupillai

Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing dates back to the 7th century and originated in England with a term called “qui tam,” which means that the person prosecuting is acting on behalf of themselves and the king. In the United States, the False Claims Act was enacted by Congress on March 2nd, 1863. This act emphasizes the role of the applicant who sues a contractor for fraudulent activities. If the applicant sues the contractor on behalf of the government, they can receive a reward equal to half the amount of money the government recovers. The False Claims Act was further amended in 1986 during the Cold War between the US and USSR. This article aims to cover the concept of whistleblowing and its role in India.

How India Adopted Whistleblowing Laws?

The protection of whistleblowers was first discussed in India in the year 2001. The primary function of these laws is to protect individuals who come forward with information regarding fraudulent activities such as corruption committed by the government. The Law Commission of India initiated discussions on whistleblower protection in 2001, but the government did not take immediate action. However, the Supreme Court stepped in to protect the rights of whistleblowers and ordered the federal government to protect them until a law was enacted.

In 2004, the Central Investigation Wing passed the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers Resolution (PIDPIR) to protect the rights of whistleblowers due to an increase in petitions seeking to safeguard their rights. Subsequently, in 2011, the Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed, and in 2014, a law was enacted to protect whistleblowers.

Whistleblower Protection Act 2014

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2014 safeguards individuals who provide evidence of corruption or raise complaints against government authorities who misuse their power. This act ensures that the complainant is protected from victimization.

Satyendra Dubey Case Study

The case of Satyendra Dubey had a profound impact on the formation of whistleblower laws in India. Satyendra Dubey, a project manager in the Indian Engineering Service, was assigned to supervise the construction of the national highway NH2. During his supervision, he exposed the true financial details and the extent of exploitation that was taking place. As a result of his report, three contractors were arrested.

Despite being aware of the risks involved, Satyendra Dubey bravely exposed the wrongdoers involved in the fraudulent handling of money in the government project. Tragically, while returning from a wedding, he was shot dead by a group of criminals in a preplanned murder. Despite his efforts to conceal his identity, his name became known due to the inefficient system. This case prompted law enforcement authorities to take whistleblower protection more seriously.

Major Criticisms of Indian Whistleblower Laws

The Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed in 2011 and enacted in 2014. However, the law has been functioning without any amendments since then. There are certain restrictions on the information provided by whistleblowers in India. Whistleblowers are required to disclose their identity when submitting information, which increases their fear of retaliation. In contrast, US whistleblower laws provide strong protection and allow for anonymous submission of information. Whistleblowers in the US are also rewarded for their services. Indian law must be amended to protect better and safeguard whistleblowers.

Conclusion

The protection and safeguarding of whistleblower rights is an important topic that the government needs to prioritize. When people believe that the law will protect them from exposing the truth, it reflects positively on the Indian law enforcement authorities and discourages fraudulent activities. Encouraging whistleblowers can help secure the legal system and prevent individuals from engaging in fraudulent activities.

FAQs

1. What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the act of exposing or reporting illegal or unethical activities within an organization or government entity.

2. When did whistleblowing laws come into effect in India?

The discussion on whistleblower protection started in 2001 in India. The Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed in 2011, and a law was enacted in 2014.

3. Who is Satyendra Dubey?

Satyendra Dubey was a project manager in the Indian Engineering Service who exposed financial irregularities and corruption in the construction of the national highway NH2. He was tragically murdered for his efforts to expose the wrongdoing.

4. How are whistleblowers protected in India?

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2014 safeguards individuals who provide evidence of corruption or raise complaints against government authorities. However, there are still criticisms regarding the level of protection provided.

5. What are the major criticisms of Indian whistleblower laws?

One major criticism is that whistleblowers in India are required to disclose their identities when submitting information, which increases their fear of retaliation. Additionally, the US whistleblower laws provide stronger protection and allow for anonymous submission of information.

6. Why is it important to protect whistleblowers?

Protecting whistleblowers encourages individuals to come forward with information regarding illegal or unethical activities. It helps expose corruption, prevents fraud, and strengthens the legal system.

G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

G Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons) is a registered trademark attorney with extensive experience as an Advocate for a period of 8 years. She possesses expertise in trademark law, including trademark filing and trademark hearings. Additionally, she is skilled in contract drafting and reviewing, providing legal advice and opinions, particularly in the areas of Company Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and Goods and Service Tax Law (GST). Her experience encompasses both litigation and non-litigation aspects of these laws.