Skip to main content

Modi govt "diluting" anti-corruption legislations in order to "protect" bureaucrats, politicians: NCPRI

By Our Representative
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), India's apex body of RTI organizations, has accused the Modi government, in office for two years, of failing to make any progress on anti-corruption legislations, insisting, “Even the existing legislations and mechanisms are being undermined.”
The Whistle Blowers Protection Act (WBP Act) was passed in 2014, after 12 years of the murder of whislteblower Satyendra Dubey after families of whistleblowers and activists of NCPRI held protests for over 20 days. The Act provides protection of identity for whistleblowers and safeguards against their victimization, NCPRI activists said in a media press conference in Delhi.
Instead of promulgating rules to operationalise the WBP law, the government has “moved an amendment bill in Parliament which seeks to severely dilute the Act”, activists pointed out, adding, the amendments seek to “remove safeguards available to whistleblowers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.”
Further, the amendments have introduced “wide-ranging exclusions by stating that disclosures should not contain information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.”
“The current status of the WBP Amendment Bill is not clear”, NCPRI co-convener Anjali Bharadwaj said, adding, “Whereas the debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha and the proposal to refer it to a select committee was not concluded, on April 28, 2016 the concerned Minister, in reply to a question in Parliament, stated that the Amendment Bill had been sent to a committee.”
Dhananjay Dubey, Satyendra Dubey's brother, said, “Despite assurances from BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad that they were committed to the WBP Act, the government had taken no steps to prevent deaths of whistleblowers. Close to 60 people have been killed in the last few years for exposing corruption and wrongdoing in the government.”
NCPRI's senior activist Sanjay Sahni added, lives of whistleblowers like his colleague Ram Kumar Thakur could have been saved if the WBP Act was operationalised. “Ram Kumar Thakur wrote to the
Police and the state government seeking protection, however no action was taken”, he said.
As for the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (LL Act), activists said, instead of operationalizing it, the activists said, as amendment bill, called the the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was deliberated upon by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, which presented its report in December 2015.
“Among other issues, the amendments seek to dilute the Act by exempting bureaucrats from declaring assets and liabilities of their spouses and dependent children”, activists said.
“Further, the amendment does away with the requirement of public disclosure of the asset declarations on the grounds that disclosure of such information might expose public servants and their families to threats and kidnappings”, they added.
Nikhil Dey, the other co-convener of the NCPRI, said, despite public disclosure of asset declarations of lakhs of candidates contesting elections across the country and of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, “no evidence of threats/blackmail had come to light and, therefore, there is no
rationale for this amendment.”
Similarly, Dey said, the grievance redress (GR) Bill, which the the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in July 2014 that it was “part of Immediate Thrust Areas of the Government”, is likely to be dropped.
“In March 2016, in response to a question in Parliament, the government made no reference to the legislation and instead stated that it was preparing a scheme known as Delivery of Services and Grievances Redressal Scheme”, he said.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.