Protection of whistleblowers and activists

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICUATURE AT MUMBAI CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION WRIT PETITION NO. 466 OF 2010

Court on its own motion … Petitioners

Versus

The State of Maharashtra and Anr. … Respondents

Mr. D.D. Madon, Sr. Counsel with Mr. Sanjay Udeshi, Amicus Curie present.

Mr. Ravi Kadam, Advocate General with Mr. N.P. Deshpande, A.G.P. for R. No.1.

Mr. I.J. Nankani i/by M/s. Nankani & Associates for Intervener.

Mr. D.N. Salvi for C.B.I.

CORAM : F.I. REBELLO &

A.A. SAYED, JJ.

DATED : MAY 07, 2010

P. C.:

Upon considering the Recommendations made by the Amicus Curiae and after having studied the Affidavit in Reply of the Additional Chief

Secretary (Home), this court does direct that the following interim provisions/measures regarding the protection of social activists and whistle

blowers be implemented forthwith :

1. The State shall provide as and by way of immediate interim relief, police protection to any identified person and or organization that complains of the threat of use of force and/or of having been attacked in connection with his/her or as the case may be their social activism; till the application for police protection is finally disposed off.

2. The State Government shall set up a special committee,which committee shall have as its mandate the task of identifying social activists and whistle blowers; be they individuals and or organizations. These individuals and or Organizations shall be identified by a tansparent process and guidelines for the determination of the same shall be disclosed and placed in the public domain prior to the said special committee taking charge of its commission.

3. The State Government shall ensure that all criminal cases/investigations currently pending against social activists and or whistle blowers be reviewed by the said special committee, on the basis of the parameters stipulated in the aforesaid guidelines.

4. The Sate shall furthermore within a period of 90 days make provisions for :

i) The Investigation of cases where there have been made allegations and or reports of threats and attacks against individual social activists and or collective organizations by a Senior Police Officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police.

ii) A monitoring system that will ensure that such cases are speedily investigated, which system shall incorporate within itself an adequate review process to ensure the integrity and thoroughness of the investigations;

iii) All necessary cooperation shall be provided before by the State to courts and Human Rights Commissions in this regard.

iv) A database shall be prepared consisting of the names of all identified social activists and or organizations that have in the past complained of threats and of the use of force against them and furthermore a database of high risk individuals and or organizations shall be prepared by the aforesaid committee on the basis of the guidelines framed for the purpose. The said guidelines shall ensure that the mechanism opted for ensures the maintenance of confidentiality with regards the identity of the individual and or the organization;

v) The State shall set up an appropriate mechanism for quick response to complaints by social activists and whistle blowers about the threat and or use of force against them. The said mechanism will be headed by an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police.

5. The matter stands adjourned to 16 th June, 2010 for further orders and directions on interim provisions/measures regarding the protection of social activists and whistle blowers. Stand over to 16th June, 2010.

(A.A. SAYED,J.) (F.I. REBELLO,J.)

Submitted by Promod Chawla

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