Maintenance of secrecy: MGP pats MCC

In a press release here, Dr T N Manjunath of MGP has said if anyone complains to any government department on  violation of the law, the department usually issues a notice to the offender saying that such and such a person has complained against him.

Disclosing the name and address of the complainant to the offender frequently results in threats to the former. Therefore, many people, even if they notice a violation every day and are affected by it prefer to keep quiet rather than face threats. This is one of the main reasons for the ever increasing number of violations of the law.

Such a situation existed till now in MCC. When people brought violations to the notice of MCC staff (such as building bylaw violations, encroachment of public land, stray dogs and cattle, etc.,) which the staff should have noticed by themselves and taken action, their names were released to the offender and the complainants were made to suffer. The MGP had raised this issue with  the commissioners of the civic body, but none bothered to take action. But the incumbent Commissioner of MCC, K S Raykar has reacted favourably and issued a notice to his subordinates.

The order says “when the public lodge complaints at the  civic body about violations of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, especially, violations of  building bylaws,  it is necessary in the interest of good administration to maintain secrecy and you are hereby instructed not to disclose the name and address of the complainants. Any violation of the instruction will be considered seriously.”

Dr Manjunath said, laws protecting the identity of persons who raise their voices against the anomalies  exist in all the developed countries. Even in our country, such a bill (Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making The Disclosures Bill) was introduced in the Parliament on August 26, 2010.

If the bill is passed and takes shape of a law, all government staff must protect the identity of whistleblowers, otherwise they will be punished.

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