Top Law Firm in Bangladesh
Top Law Firm in Bangladesh
Leading Law Firm in Bangladesh
Leading Law Firm in Dhaka
In Bangladesh the Law relating to whistleblower policy was enacted on 21st June 2011 namely the Public‐interest Information Disclosure Act (Provide Protection), 2011. The law is not aimed for all types of whistleblowers, rater focuses on providing adequate protection to whistleblowers who blows the whistle related to public affairs concerning public interest.
In general, this means that this law was promulgated to provide protection to those who provides information on government agencies or officers of the government agencies.
As a general rule the whistleblower is accorded protection as their identity cannot be revealed in the court unless the information provided by the whistleblower is false or baseless. Furtherance, no action can be taken against him/her for blowing the whistle in addition to any sort of on the job harassments. On the basis of the information provided by the whistle blower, actions can be taken by the relevant authority on the basis of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898). Nevertheless, there are severe and harsh punishments for providing false and baseless information which can be imprisonment from 2 to 5 years or pecuniary penalty or both.
The act although enacted almost over a decade ago has receive less to none publicity as a result of which legal practitioners as well as the general public knows very little of it. The law was enacted to stop or rein in corruption or malpractice in the public officials. However, this law can play a very important role both in the public and private sector. As to private sector where protection to corporate whistleblowers is required this law enable and provides protection to whistle blowers against any non-governmental organizations. However, needless to say most of the corporate houses in Bangladesh have their own set of regulations to accord protection to whistle blowers.
In relation to this, for corporate whistleblowing what is seen from a practical perspective is that the companies specially the foreign and multinational companies would be implementing whistle blowing policies in their employee’s handbook or the service manual. There are benefits and drawback to this approach as well. The benefit is that the harsh punishment of false and baseless allegation is not there as a result of which, more employees would be encouraged rather not discouraged from coming forward with the allegations against any sort of ill practices within the organization. However, this also opens the floodgates for a number of baseless allegations to come in which may result in the management to be overburdened with investigation of the allegations as well as leading to the alleged employee to be demotivated to work in the organization.
What we have seen from our practical experience is that most of the MNCs in Bangladesh would be following the whistle blowing policies from their globally accepted practice and the service manual in Bangladesh would have the details as to their whistle blowing policies. The policy document in Bangladesh with relation to whistle blowing generally contains provisions as the accountability and transparency provision that the company wants to adhere to as well as any set laws that the company maybe following. The policy also does contain the purposes of the whistle blowing policy which is generally to provide safeguards and protection of the identity of the whistle blower. The policy also contains provision about the locus standi of the said policy which generally in the case of Bangladesh are the concerned employees of the origination in question. As a set rule, the policy also elaborates the roles and responsibilities of the person concerned in the organization to implement the policy in the organization which involves the Managing Director, the Chief risk officer or equivalent, the Chief Human Resources office or equivalent, the Head of the relevant department, the line manager. The policy generally also mandates the as a rule of thumb that the disclosing person may disclose without identifying themselves and in the event that they are required to identify themselves, they shall not be subject to victimization and their identity as well as the disclosure made shall be kept confidential. The policy should then go on to discuss the procedure of disclosing which may include amongst others an email address where the whistle blower can write to or an address thereof including key questions that the whistleblower should mention in their allegation. Thereafter, the policy should contain the procedures that the management is to undertake based on the allegation which in Bangladesh can be done on the basis of Labour Laws or any other relevant laws like the Code of Criminal Procedure depending on the specific allegation that has been made. It is also prudent that the policy contains any sort of punishment or penalties that the organization may take to respond to the allegation that has been made.
Overall, it can be said that although there are no specific regulations in place in Bangladesh that accords protection to the whistle blower in the private sector, however because there are regulation in place that governs the public officials, this can help to model the same in the private sector i.e. to the corporate whistle blowers specifically.