Legal experts have stressed the need for making people aware of the Whistleblowers' Protection Act, 2011, which was enacted over six years ago with the aim of checking corruption in government offices.
Experts said a well-coordinated campaign should be launched to make people, particularly government officials, aware of the law to motivate them to reveal the corruption that takes place inside their offices. The law ensures protection of their legal rights by concealing their identities.
“An effective awareness campaign is needed involving media, particularly broadcast media, to make people aware of the law,” said ACC panel lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan. “The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should make a well-coordinated effort to inform people,” he added.
ACC spokesperson and deputy director (public relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee told the news agency yesterday that the national anti-graft agency had received many corruption allegations from government offices, but admitted that the ACC did not file any graft case under the Whistleblowers' Protection Act.
The law empowers a person to disclose information on ministries, divisions, departments or any other government offices, and all kinds of non-government organisations, to the authorities concerned.
As per the law, also known as the Public-Interest Information Disclosure Act (Provide Protection) 2011, no criminal, civil or departmental proceedings can be initiated against a person for disclosing information in the public interest to the authorities, and his or her identity will not be disclosed without his or her consent.
Whistleblowers cannot even be made witness and produced before a court in connection with the criminal or civil cases to be filed after the information is disclosed. The information also cannot be produced before the court as evidence in order to keep the person's identity secret, according to the provisions of the law.
Advocate Oliur Rahman Nayon said, “This law helps combat institutional corruption, especially big scams.”
Experts hoped that the law would help the anti-graft watchdog work on the basis of specific information instead of assumptions.