Bhushan in bind due to Supreme Court rule
New Delhi : Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan is in a bind in protecting his source of information he used to expose CBI director Ranjit Sinha hobnobbing with the 2G scam accused in secret nocturnal meetings at his home and moved the Supreme Court for his recuse from the scam probe.
His affidavit was termed as “not in consonance with the Supreme Court rules” by Justice H L Dattu, heading a 2-judge Bench on Monday, who insisted on proceeding further only after he gets the name of the whistleblower who provided a diary to Bhushan listing names of the visitors to Sinha.
The judge was banking on Rule 13 in the Supreme Court”s Order No 9 that mandates affidavit to convey any information and provide the source of such information.
When Bhushan expressed fears that the disclosure of the whistleblower’s name may put him at risk and got the case adjourned to the next Monday to first take consent of the whistleblower, the judge sought the name in a sealed envelope only for the eyes of the judges on the Bench to protect his identity.
Bhushan’s reliance on the Whistleblowers Protection Act was also misplaced as it has not yet come into force. Though the 2011 Bill passed by Parliament in February was assented as an Act by President Pranab Mukher-jee, the rules for Eimplementing it are still not framed.
Even if the rules had been notified, it would not have helped Bhushan to protect the identity of the whistleblower since the Act does not provide for denying his identity to any court.
As a senior advocate pointed out, the Act envisages the Central Vigilance Commission to protect identity of the whistleblower, but it makes it clear that the Commission will entertain any disclosure about an act of corruption, misuse of power or criminal offence by a public servant only when the complaint includes the identity of the complainant.
Also, the Act stipulates that the Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department, if he deems it necessary.
The issue of the CBI chief’s secret parleys with the accused persons will again hot up on Friday when Bhushan argues another affidavit by NGO Common Cause, praying for directing him to keep his hands off the coal scam probe.
The Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha had last Tuesday deferred hearing in this case and adjourned it to Friday, hoping that the Bench headed by Justice Dattu will pass order by that time and hence there is no inconsistency in the identical prayers in two petitions to recuse the CBI chief from probe into the two mega scams.