ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Whistle-blowers: Urgent Need for Legislation

On March 26, a district court in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh convicted a petrol pump owner and his seven accomplices responsible for the murder of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) sales executive Shanmugham Manjunath, whose death became a cause celebre as he was a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow. It was inevitable that the murder on November 29, 2003 of another young whistle-blower, Satyendra Dubey, an engineer for the National Highways Authority of India, should come to mind.

Manjunath was killed for attempting to expose a well entrenched oil adulteration racket. His case puts the spotlight on many aspects: the salutary fast pace of the conviction after he was killed on November 19, 2005, the role of the media in keeping the issue alive, the lukewarm response from Manjunath’s employers, the IOC, as opposed to that of his fellow-alumni from IIM, the system that helps the unscrupulous procure cheap kerosene in the black market and mix it with petrol and diesel and, most significantly, the fate of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Informers) Bill, 2002 as drafted by the Law Commission.

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