Civil rights activist Anna Hazare on Sunday announced his decision to approach the Supreme Court to seek protection for his indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar from August 16 and against any action the government might intend to take to “crush” his agitation seeking the appointment of a Lokpal to deal with corruption-related cases.
Mr. Hazare told journalists that he would file a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday to seek its protection.
Mr. Hazare has given time till August 15 to the government to come up with a bill on the Lokpal and warned that if it turned out to be an eyewash, he would resume his indefinite fast from August 16. Earlier, he maintained that he would court arrest and go to jail if the police disrupted his indefinite fast.
He said he was seeking legal recourse to start his agitation in the wake of the “threat” that his agitation would be “crushed” the same way the government used the police to disrupt the indefinite fast of yoga guru Ramdev at Ramlila Maidan in June on the issue of corruption. “The government says it will crush my fast the same way that it crushed Baba Ramdev's agitation. Is this a democratically ruled country or dictatorship?” He said the government had no right to crush any agitation as the Constitution guaranteed the right to protest.
Mr. Hazare was one of the five civil society members on the Joint Drafting Committee on the Lokpal Bill, which concluded its proceedings on a discordant note with no consensus on contentious issues such as inclusion of the Prime Minister, judiciary and the entire bureaucracy and the MPs under the ambit of the Lokpal.
The government and the civil society members on the panel agreed to present their separate versions of the bill. But Mr. Hazare warned that if the bill was not introduced by August 15, he would resume his indefinite fast.
Mr. Hazare first started his indefinite fast in April which he called off after the government accepted his demand to set up a committee to look into his demand for setting up a Lokpal.
The government, after holding an all-party meeting, said it would introduce a bill in Parliament and revise it on the basis of the consensus that would evolve at the Parliamentary Standing Committee level for enacting the law.