In legal terminology, a whistleblower is a person who raises his voice against any illegal act done by another person, or the one who reports an act of corruption. This terminology has been generally emphasized under the WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION ACT,2014. This act enables any person who may be a whistleblower to report an act of corruption or to report against those who issues their power or discretion or to report an act against criminal offences done by a public servant. The word public servant here shall include ministers’ members of parliament, the lower judiciary, regularities authority, central and state government employee (section 3(I), of whistleblower protection act, 2014)
Whistleblower protection under private sector:
There can be situation which may force any person to act as a whistleblower which could be mainly in violation of companies’ policy such as sexual harassment at work places assaults as well as corruption and other discriminatory practices. There are laws to protect whistleblower but many of them do not raise their voice either due threat directly or indirectly from their employer or due to fear of job loss and as a result many whistleblowers either wait to inform someone in position in power or just drop the idea to act as whistleblower.
Whistleblower protection under public sector
As stated above public sector whistle blowers are less likely to protected as compared to private sector once as protection law in private sector where enacted much earlier but every sector has its own consequences and hence public employees or servants also fear before exposing anyone else misconduct illegal or dishonest activity as they would consider it as going against their government and country. There are laws made to protect whistleblower in public sector also sech as federal whistleblower legislation is statute which protect the government employees and hence the government is prohibited from threatening any employees just because employees disclose information about any unreasonable thing happening in surrounding
Penalty and offences under this act
Chapter 6 of whistleblowers act, 2014 deals with the offences and penalties
- As stated under section 15 (a) where any competent authority find that official concerned is not furnishing the report within the specified time or malafidely refuses to submit then a penalty of 250 rupees fie each day is provided in the provision till the report is furnished but penalties shall exceed 50000 rupees
- As stated under section 16: any person who negligently or malafidely revels the identity of complain will be punishable with imprisonment of a term of three year. Or less and also to fine of 50000 or less
- As stated under section 17 any person who make any discloser which is false and misleading shall be punished with an imprisonment of three years. Or less and shall be charged with a fine of 30000 or less
Highlights of the whistleblower protection (amendment) bill, 2015:
There where some changes introduced by the bill which can be implemented in various working sectors and thereby this bill has reduced the ambit of the act. In the previous act, there was no procedure for enquiry into the publicinterestmatterbut now the bill proposes to enquire into cases related to corruption misuse of power or criminal offences by the public servant. but it prohibits any person to report any corrupt act if it relates to economic growth of India such as if it promotes the GDP growth of India, scientific interest related to discovery of new principle in which suppose if one country sells its invention to another country and the taxes and other miscellaneous charges are higher then the actual rate, then this must be overlooked as in corruption security of India such as if to protect the country from terrorism acts, if there is any information related to cabinet patent and thus hindering the right of the patent holder or any information received by any person fiduciary capacity
NB: This bill as of now does not permits discloser of those act which are prohibited under official secrets act, 1923, although prior to the amendment this was allowed
Conclusion: It may be concluded that whistleblower have been given protection in India by certain rule and regulation both in public and privateer sector but still they are not able to revel what they can because of fear in mind. However, there have been amendment which restrict whistleblower to reveal acts such as discloser of any public interest matter if it benefits the country and also prohibit the discloser of act mentioned under official’s secret act. Hence, we can say that due these amendment in the act or certain restriction also, the whistleblowers feel suppressed to act.