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The right to expose wrongdoing | The Indian Express

This refers to ‘Curtains on Saifai event as stars praise CM, Mulayam’ (IE, January 10). But the question before employees is whether whistleblowing is completely safe. Whistleblowers play a significant role in any civil society. In their efforts to report misdeeds,whistleblowers often face a risk to life and adverse consequences,such as losing their jobs,getting sued,blacklisted,arrested,threatened and,in extreme circumstances,assaulted or killed. There have been tragic cases in the past where a whistleblower has paid with her life for disclosing corruption in the public interest. A decade after the fatal whistleblowing act of Satyendra Dubey a project director in the National Highways Authority by writing to the then prime minister divulging gross contractual irregularities in the Golden Quadrilateral highway project ended in his death in 2003,the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosure Bill,2010 is in the final process of enactment. For corporate whistleblowing,the Companies Act,2013 now provides that Every listed company or such class or classes of companies,as may be prescribed,shall establish a vigil mechanism for directors and employees to report genuine concern in such manner as may be prescribed. Such a provision is welcome,coming as it does against the backdrop of an increasing number of corporate scams,rising instances of investors being cheated,corporate defaults on payment of interest on borrowings leading to non-performance assets in banks and public financial institutions. As per the act,an audit committee should be constituted in a company to act in accordance with the terms of reference specified in writing by the board of directors. The terms of reference should specify wide responsibilities,which should include those responsibilities specified in the act. The audit committee should have the power of recommendation for the appointment of auditors,their remuneration and terms of appointment,of reviewing and monitoring the auditors independence,the performance and effectiveness of the audit process and the examination of the financial statement and auditors report thereon. The committee is also duty bound to examine the approval of any subsequent modification of the companys transactions with related parties. It should scrutinise inter-corporate loans and investments,the valuation of undertakings or assets of the company,the evaluation of internal financial controls and risk management systems. The audit committee is legally responsible for monitoring the end-use of funds raised through public offers and related matters. The committee shall also have the authority to investigate any of the matters specified in the act. The act makes it mandatory to not only establish a vigil mechanism but also provide for adequate safeguards against victimisation of persons who use such mechanism and make provision for direct access to the chairperson of the audit committee in appropriate or exceptional cases. In those companies where the audit committee is not in o.
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