Opposition members have given notices to Rajya Sabha Chairman Md. Hamid Ansari seeking that the Whistleblowers Protection Amendment Bill and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill be referred to a Select Committee for further consideration. While Whistleblowers Protection Amendment Bill, 2015, was moved in the Upper House on Monday by Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the Juvenile Justice Bill was listed for consideration and passage on Tuesday.
Hussain Dalwai of Congress gave the notice for referring the Whistleblowers Protection Bill to the panel while another Congress member, Shantaram Naik, moved similarly on the Juvenile Bill. The notices have been signed by members from NCP, SP, DMK, AIADMK CPI-M, CPI and JD-U.
Shantaram Naik, who is also a signatory to the notice on the Whistle Blowers Bill, said that the amendments that the NDA government has introduced will discourage people from giving information. Another signatory to the notice on the anti-graft measure, KC Tyagi of the JD (U), said the bill requires to be looked by the Select Committee as a number of changes have been brought into it.
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) had a few months back written to MPs of Rajya Sabha urging them to move amendments to refer the Whistle Blowers Protection Amendment Bill, 2015, to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha to enable proper public consultation, debate and deliberation on the proposed legislation.
The ‘Vyapam scam’ of Madhya Pradesh and its subsequent fallout has necessitated a more potent law to protect whistle-blowers. The Central government seeks to amend the existing law. The amendment proposes to add ten categories under which information may not be disclosed by the whistleblower.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 perhaps the most contentious of the proposed legislations, pursues to treat offenders between 16-18 years as adults in the case of atrocious offences. This particular clause was met with opposition from the Parliamentary Standing Committee, whose report shows that according to NCRB records there is no surge in crimes by juveniles to warrant such a drastic legislation.