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Can whistleblowers be protected?
Whistleblowers play an important role in bringing out illegal activities in the open, but whistelblowers find it hard to breathe under extreme political pressure. One such example being pressure tactics applied by the Haryana government on a senior IAS officer, Ashok Khemka where a CBI probe has been recommended on a contract that was awarded by the officer to a Gujarat firm. It was last year itself that the govt. had asked a probe for changing the terms and conditions of the said contract.

Such kind of situation would not have come to the surface, had Ashok Khemka not cancelled the mutation of a land deal between DLF and Robert Vadra in October 2012. But, the officer challenged the high-handedness of the Haryana government and has since landed in thick soup. The officer has been transferred several time ever since. After the episode broke out, Ashok Khemka has stated that he has been hounded by Congress for bringing the land scandal into the open.

This is not the only case, where such state government have flexed their muscles, as such cases were also witnessed mid-year in 2013. IAS officer, Durga Shakti Nagpal was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government for breaking the wall of a mosque in Kadalpur. But such high-handedness only reflects the sorry state of people who wants to bring a fair change in the society, including whistleblowers. Can such whistleblowers be protected?

There is a serious need for legislation in such cases, which has been realised as the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011 was approved by the cabinet, later passed by Lok Sabha with an objective of bringing corruption to halt. But, the upper house of the parliament has still not cleared the bill. Imran Ali, Advocate, Supreme Court said, ''The problem is that the government does not pass such bills, which can land them in trouble.'' It is more or less certain that politicians are involved in cases of corruption. One wonders, whether the bill is ever going to be passed.

A bill similar to that of Whistleblowers is the RTI act, which has empowered people to put a check on corruption. Still, RTI has not been able to bring corruption and other illegal activities to an end. There has been a number of attacks on RTI activists, leading to a number of deaths. The same can be said for whistleblowers as well, as there has been instances when whistleblowers have been murdered and threatened.

A whistleblower, Satyendra Dubey was murdered for blowing the corruption case in the National Highway Authority of India's Golden Quadrilateral project in 2003. Talking about Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal said, ''It is nice, as the bill can provide protection to whistleblowers. But, one also has to remember that it is not a complete protection for whistleblowers.''

If protection is not provided to whistleblowers, then a time may come where people would not risk their career and lives to expose the malpractises in the system. Aam Aadmi Party has been a major force of late trying to cleanse the Indian system. The party encourages people to take active part on their personal front to eliminate corruption. Ramjan Chaudhary, Haryana Executive member strongly supports whistelblowers. He said ''If there are no whistleblowers, then the it would be difficult to preserve and protect the Indian democracy, also threatening the pillars of the democratic structure.''

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