Apex error and unfair demand
Supreme Court’s bizarre order asking Prashant Bhushan to disclose the name of the of whistleblower who apparently handed over the original entry register of the now tainted CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s official 2, Janpath residence is a real let down. The apex judicial body has justified its stand by saying that the affidavit filed by Prashant Bhushan led Centre for Public Interest Litigation to pass orders against Sinha was not in compliance with the SC rules which makes it mandatory for all pieces of information to be disclosed. In a high profile case like this which can also possibly have collateral damages if the identity of the whistleblowers is brought out in the public, the apex body’s decision can only be called as archaic. The levels of complicity can be fairly gauged from the fact that even the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011 makes it mandatory that all disclosures should be made in front of the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any other constitutional body, which the government deems fit to receive complaints against corruption. The very premise for which this act was introduced has been failed at the very onset. When a whistleblower discloses classified information, his objective is to make the world aware of the wrongdoings of not only individuals but even of powerful government and political functionaries. If the claims of wrongdoings against Sinha were to be made to the CVC or any other body which the government would have identified, it is for certain that the high profile allegations would have been lost in official paperwork and the alleged offender could be very easily let off.
India’s alleged nepotism sagas are proof enough that urgent action is need to meet rising challenges of corruption and bureaucratic inaptitude. Even before the logbook crisis had besmirched Sinha, his associations with tainted meat seller and alleged hawala operator Moin Qureshi had raised eyebrows in the corridors of power. Moreover, as the top sleuth presiding over the premier investigation agency, Sinha cannot afford to get his liaisons all too compromising. He’s clearly unsuitable to carry on in his post. Now, with the logbook scandal emerging to the fore, Sinha’s catalogue of alleged links with the criminally-scarred is veritable evidence that somewhere, something is not right. But Supreme Court’s demand to reveal the whistleblower’s name might heavily compromise the investigation.