Companies Act, 2013 defines whistleblowing as an action intended to bring to the attention of interested parties the occurrence of unethical practices within an organization. In accordance with central law relating to allegations against public officials, a whistleblower is a mechanism for the receipt of complaints concerning allegations of corruption or the willful abuse of powers or discretion. Whistleblowers can be any individual who wishes to bring to light unethical practices and who has evidence to back up their claims. They may be individuals within or outside of the organization, including current and former staff, shareholders, outside auditors, lawyers, etc.


In 2001, the Law Commission of India suggested the need for a law to protect whistle-blowers in order to curb corruption. It also proposed a bill to this effect. In 2004, following a petition filed against the murder of an NHAI official, the Supreme Court directed the Central government to put in place administrative machinery for taking cognizance of complaints from whistle-blowers until a law was enacted. In response, the government notified a resolution named ‘Public interest disclosure and protection of informers resolution’ in 2004.This resolution empowered the central vigilance commission to act on Whistleblower Complaints. According to the report of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission of 2007, a specific law is needed to protect the whistle-blowers. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which India has been a signatory since 2005, requires states to facilitate the reporting of corruption by officials and to protect witnesses and experts from retaliation. The UNCAC also provides safeguards against the victimization of the whistle-blower. In order to comply with these rules, a draft Whistleblower Protection Bill was introduced in 2011. It was finally enacted in 2014.Companies Act, 2013 and Securities and Exchange Board of India Regulations have made it compulsory for companies to take cognizance of all such complaints.


The Whistleblower Protection Act establishes a system to receive complaints relating to the disclosure of corruption allegations or willful abuse of power or discretion against any public servant and to investigate or cause an investigation into such disclosure. It also provides adequate safeguards to protect the person making the complaint from victimization. The Act allows any individual, including a public official, to make a disclosure in the public interest before a competent authority. The Act has defined various competent authorities in detail.

This law lets anyone, including a public official, make a public disclosure to a competent authority. The law has different authorities at different levels of government. For example, the Prime Minister is the one to complain against Union Ministers, the Speaker and Chairman for Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for District Court judges, and the Central and State Vigilance Comm for Government Servants. The Central Vigilance Commission is the one to get and act on complaints about allegations of corruption or abuse of office by central government employees, but it can also include any corporation set up under a central act or any government company, society, or local authority owned or controlled by it. Special Protection Group staff and officers are exempt from this law. When making the disclosure, whistle blowers have to reveal their identity, but the authorities have to make sure they’re anonymous and protected from victimization afterwards.


The act isn’t quite up and running yet, but there’s a new proposal that would make it illegal to report corruption-related info. It would cover any one of 10 categories of information, which was already banned for 5 categories. This could mess up the whole point of the act.


When someone puts a society in danger, everyone has a right to know. Whistleblowers have to be really strong to do this, and it’s done by people whose conscience doesn’t allow them to stay quiet about other people’s misdeeds. When someone reveals corruption or any other wrongdoing that could hurt someone, it helps protect the society, promote the public interest, and improve law and order. That’s why their safety is so important, and it’s up to the government to make sure they’re protected. On the other hand, if something has serious consequences for the world, it’s in the public’s best interest not to reveal or share it. That’s why the government needs to make sure they have the right balance between openness and protecting the public.

Author: Akshita jain, A student at Bharati Vidyapeeth institute of management and research

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