Maharashtra promises interim protection to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers will now get free-of-cost interim protection soon after raising the red flag.

Written by NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE | Mumbai | Published:March 6, 2013 1:04 am

Whistleblowers will now get free-of-cost interim protection soon after raising the red flag. In an affidavit filed before Bombay High Court on Monday,the state government said a detailed policy to ensure protection to whistleblowers facing threats had been framed.

It said three committees — at the district,commissionerate and state levels — had been formed to look into complaints filed by activists.

Whistleblower Protection Policy of Maharashtra,framed recently after High Court pulled up the government for not protecting activists,gives the state commission the power to suo motu take cognizance of a case and receive complaints from whistleblowers.

The commission will meet on a regular basis and review whether or not to continue the interim free-of-cost protection.

The state policy further lays down that cases involving whistleblowers will be investigated by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police or assistant commissioner of police. The investigations will be monitored by the state committees.

The High Court had taken suo motu action after the murder of Pune RTI activist Satish Shetty,who uncovered several alleged land scams in the city and nearby areas,including Talegaon and Lonavla,in January 2010.

Taking serious note of the matter,the High Court questioned on December 17,2012,delay in framing the policy to ensure protection to whistleblowers and asked the state to provide interim police protection to activists facing threats.

The case will be further heard on March 18.

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