The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of the Centre and the Chief Labour Commissioner on a plea by a labour enforcement officer claiming he was not protected despite being a whistleblower. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government to place on record whether it carried out any inquiry on his complaint alleging corruption against the Regional Labour Commissioner at Ranchi and that he was manhandled by some of the staff there.
The court issued notice to the Ministry of Labour and the Chief Labour Commissioner and sought their reply by May 9. “He has raised issues relating to protection of whistleblowers. I am only looking at your (the government’s) policy regarding that. If any inquiry has been carried out by you on his complaint then file it,” the judge said. During the hearing, the ministry contended that an inquiry was held, but nothing as alleged by the whistleblower was found.
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The court was hearing a petition by Pawan Kumar who has levelled corruption charges against the Regional Labour Commissioners at Ranchi, Dhanbad and in the head office in Delhi and has sought an inquiry against them by an independent agency.
In his plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, he has said that he had sent several representations to the government and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) but no independent inquiry was held.
The petitioner, who works as a Labour Enforcement Officer, has alleged that he was beaten up by four staffers at the office of the Regional Labour Commissioner at Ranchi in May 2016 when he was posted there and thereafter, instead of taking action against the attackers, he was transferred to Chennai.
The petitioner has sought that he be protected, as per the whistleblowers’ notification, by ensuring he is not victimised by way of punitive action against him by his administrative authority. He has also sought disciplinary action against those officials who had assaulted him.