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India – Citizen’s Whistleblowers Forum Launched, Justice A.P Shah Chairman.

(From left) Jagdeep S. Chhokar, Prashant Bhushan, Justice (retd.) A.P. Shah, Admiral L. Ramdas (retd.) and E.A.S. Sarma at a press meet in Delhi on Tuesday.— Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

: Disappointed by the government’s track record in implementing anti-corruption measures, a group of eminent citizens has decided to take the initiative of setting up a forum to hear complaints of corruption or malfeasance from whistleblowers.

Called the Citizens Whistleblowers Forum (CWF), it would “act as a unique, credible platform to provide much-needed confidence to whistleblowers” to expose, without fear, “cases of corruption or wilful misuse of powers”, said a statement released by the founders.

The founding members of the CWF include Justice (retd) A.P. Shah, who is also its chairperson, advocate Prashant Bhushan, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, social activist Aruna Roy, Admiral L. Ramdas (retd), former bureaucrat E.A.S. Sarma and founding member of the Association of Democratic Reforms Jagdeep Chhokar.

The CWF would, if needed, protect the identity of the whistleblowers who reach out to them. After scrutinising the information received, it would decide on a course of action, the activists said. “This could include taking up the matter with the authorities concerned, filing a public interest litigation in the courts, and/or making the case public,” said Justice Shah.

‘Dismal situation’

“It has been three years since the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011, was passed in both houses of Parliament. It has also received the President’s assent. But a government that came to power on an anti-corruption plank is still not notifying this important anti-corruption law. This citizens’ forum is an attempt to partly remedy this dismal situation and encourage whistleblowers to come forward with their complaints without fear,” Mr. Bhushan said.

The CWF announced the email ID and website where whistleblowers could submit complaints:[email protected] comand citizenswhistleblowerforum. org.

Calling upon the government to demonstrate some political will to fight corruption, the CWF released a set of demands. These included, among others, the immediate notification of the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011, the framing of rules under the Act, dropping the proposed “retrograde amendment” to the Whistleblower Act, the immediate appointment of the Lokpal under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, and placing the CBI under the administrative control of the Lokpal.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/Citizens%E2%80%99-forum-to-take-up-whistleblower-complaints/article17244259.ece

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