The Supreme Court today refused to intervene in the legislative process on the amendments to the law on whistleblower's protection by brushing aside the protest of activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan that these would dilute the provisions of the original 2011 Act.
The Supreme Court today refused to intervene in the legislative process on the amendments to the law on whistleblower’s protection by brushing aside the protest of activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan that these would dilute the provisions of the original 2011 Act.
The apex court said Parliament is “seized of” the matter and by asking the legislature about the proposed amendments, it cannot “breach” the limit.
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As the bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar made its mind clear that it would not keep the PIL, filed way back in 2004, pending, Bhushan, appearing for NGO ‘Parivartan’, expressed his dissatisfaction by raising his pitch.
“We can’t breach our limit. How can we say Parliament should do this or that?,” the bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, said.
During the hearing when the bench said that it would dispose of the petition, a visibly agitated Bhushan said, “I have been soft.”
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“You want to be hard,” the bench said which led Bhushan to reply, “Yes. I want to say something emphatically.”
Bhushan said that issuing direction to Parliament and the government was not same thing and submitted that he can cite a number of judgements in this regard.
The lawyer said he was not asking for a direction to Parliament, but since the President’s assent to the Act, which is yet to be notified, is awaited, certain features of the important law can be considered and a direction can be given.
As the bench was not inclined to accept his submissions, Bhushan said that he has not been allowed to place before it the problems relating to the Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011.
The bench retorted by asking Bhushan not to waste the court’s time which irked him and he banged his case files on the lawyers’ desk.
Referring to the Visakha and the Vineet Narain matters in which the apex court had framed guidelines on sexaul harassment of women at work places and functioning of CBI respectively, Bhushan said the Supreme Court itself had in past accepted such pleas.
Disposing of the PIL, the bench said, “You (Bhushan) have got a new regime. You fought for 13 years, the petition is pending since 2004. The enactment came in 2011. When it is notified, you can approach us if you still feel dissatisfied.”