Security, Sovereignty To Be Taken Out Of Whistleblowers' Act

01/01/2015 9:20 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 9: Jitendra Singh Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions addressing a press conference to highlight the work undertaken by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in the first three months of his assumption of charge on September 9, 2014 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

New Delhi: 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 today.

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.

"As the Bill was taken up on the last day of the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, the official amendments to the bill (aimed at safeguarding against disclosures affecting sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state) were not moved. The proposed amendments are of crucial nature...," Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha last month.

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