Caution in Whistle Blowing

Whistle blowing is one of the key tools used in corporate governance to act as a check on managerial actions. It is also recognised in India as a non-mandatory requirement under Clause 49 of the listing agreement. While whistle blowing is useful in enhancing governance standards, the recent episode at Renault suggests that it is also capable of abuse. Lessons from that episode include the need for more robust investigations into allegations made and for restraint to be exercised by the company before the matter is publicly announced.

About the author

Umakanth Varottil

Umakanth Varottil is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. He specializes in corporate law and governance, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border investments. Prior to his foray into academia, Umakanth was a partner at a pre-eminent law firm in India.


  • The subject write-up is, in the nature of things, seen to have been limited only to those areas which are directly covered in the cited court case. In my perception, however, in order to have an incisive appreciation of the concept of – whistle blowing, and use of it as an effective tool, or otherwise, for accomplishing good governance in , besides others, government, public and corporate sectors, one requires to take a note of certain other related aspects.
    To name some: –
    Is the conceptualised ‘whistle blowing’, as a public policy, good or bad from the socioeconomic point of view; that is, – either ethically or morally?
    How ‘whistleblower’ is different, and in what respects, from the other commonly known ‘informer'?
    Why it is of greater relevance and importance, especially in today’s context, while in the midst of the ongoing overtly heated debate around the globe on as to – how to take on corruption; and so on and so forth.
    Interestingly, a random search of the popular websites ( e.g. Google) reveal that they have in store a whole lot of material to serve as useful guidance on all such related or like aspects.

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