A group of RTI activists today urged Rajya Sabha members to refer the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill to a select committee for detailed deliberation, claiming the legislation was diluted in the present form. The bill is scheduled for discussion in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. The National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), which has written a letter to various Members of Parliament, said that the bill in the present form was diluted. "The amendment bill seeks to remove the clause which safeguards whistleblowers from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) if they make a disclosure under the Whistle Blowers Protection Act," NCPRI said in a release. The bill also states that no disclosures should contain information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, the release added. "As the bill severely dilutes the provisions of the original Act and there has been no formal platform for public discussion on the amendments, it is critical that the amendment bill be referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha," it said. According to the data issued by NCPRI, since 2007 around 350 people have been harassed, assaulted, killed or had committed suicide for taking up information activism. "The Whistle Blowers Protection Act (WBP Act), which was passed by Parliament and received the assent of President on May 9, 2014, has not been operationalised till date.
Instead of promulgating rules to operationalise the law, the government has moved an amendment bill in Parliament," the release said.
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