It was heartening to see some developments that promise at least an apparently secured environment for whistleblowers.
First, the Union Cabinet approved the “Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010”, which empowers the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to punish and penalize those who will reveal the identity of a whistleblower and will thus get the latter into troubles. The Bill is aimed at protecting whistleblowers from the Central, State and Public Sector employees, and entrusts the CVC with the responsibility of protecting the identity of those who will bring to the CVC’s notice the instances of misuse of government authority and funds.
Secondly, now there is news that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is mulling a proposal to make it mandatory to have a whistleblower mechanism in companies, i.e. a mechanism that will shield whistleblowers from victimization. As of now it is only optional for companies to have such a mechanism.
Personally I feel these are very significant developments. It is an open secret that the corporate world is very vulnerable to irregularities of various types, and practices that cannot be called fair. Under such circumstances, whistleblowers are likely to play a very significant role, and it is a must to ensure that they are able to share their findings/doubts without any hesitation.