In what may sound music for Anna Hazare’s team, a parliamentary committee has recommended bringing the union ministers and higher judiciary under the ambit of whistle-blowers bill to allow complaints of corruption to be filed against them.
The parliamentary standing committee on law, justice and personnel, in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, also recommended bringing the armed forces and intelligence agencies under the ambit of the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010.
The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August, 2010 and is commonly known as the whistle-blowers protection bill. “The committee takes note of the grave concerns raised regarding the exception created in relation to the defence/ intelligence forces,” states the report.
“In the committee’s views, the (Personnel) ministry has not furnished cogent reasons for excluding such agencies/ forces from the ambit of the bill,” it said.
Since this bill is ultimately aimed at tackling corruption, “the committee does not find any logical reason behind such an exemption,” the report said.
The parliamentary panel has asked the ministry of personnel to consider bringing the members of the council of ministers, the judiciary, including the higher judiciary and regulatory authorities within the ambit of the bill by making necessary amendments.
The committee has also recommended that a foolproof mechanism be envisaged to ensure that the identity of the complainant is not compromised with.
On the issue of frivolous complaints, the committee has rejected a stringent five-year jail term for individuals whose complaints would not found to be true. It said the punishment should not be so harsh, but has not specified the quantum.