Security and sovereignty to be taken out of Whistleblowers’ Act in India

New Delhi(IANS/PTI/ANI): Aspects related to national security and sovereignty are set to be taken out of the ambit of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act which provides a mechanism for protecting the identity of those who expose corruption. The Act was a part of a bouquet of legislations brought by the previous UPA government to check corruption but its implementation had been put on hold by the Modi government for removing issues related to national security and sovereignty.

Amendments to the law, enacted in May last, are expected to be taken up by the Union Cabinet soon, sources said here on Thursday.

It was passed by Lok Sabha in 2011 but the Rajya Sabha could clear it only on February 21 last year.

The Presidential assent to it was given in May last but the Modi government, which came to power in the same month, had decided against implementing the Act till the necessary amendments on national security and sovereignty were made.

The issue of safeguarding information on national security was first raised by BJP when the then Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy had tabled the Bill in Rajya Sabha. After back-channel talks, the UPA government had agreed to the amendments.

But UPA floor managers had requested BJP not to press for it during the bill’s debate in the Upper House as an amended bill will have to be reverted to Lok Sabha for its nod, which was not feasible as Parliament’s session was concluding soon.The then UPA government had planned to bring an ordinance to carry out the amendments but the plan had not materialised.

Meanwhile, the Centre is planing to introduce more than 10 new bills in the next Parliament session. The proposed bills include the amendment in the National Commission for Women (NCW) Act in which the women’s body will get more teeth except the power to arrest and penalise people guilty of harassing women and ignoring summons.

Earlier, to make the NCW more effective and bring it on par with National Human Rights Commission , the ministry of women and child development has sought more power to the women’s body. The law ministry, however, has raised objection to the proposal to arrest and penalise people for allegedly harassing women saying that only the courts are empowered to issue such orders of arrest.

The WCD ministry was asked to reconsider its proposals.

—With agency inputs

Posted by on January 2, 2015. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.