“I don’t consider it to be a precedent ... the government was in a particular situation”
After a not-so-pleasant experience with activist Anna Hazare's team in drafting of the Lokpal Bill, the government says that there will be no such experiment anymore.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, one of the key members of the joint committee for drafting the Lokpal Bill, also maintained that it could not be cited as a precedent.
The draft of the Bill would undergo changes after consultations with political parties and other members of the civil society.
“I don't say it is a precedent. In the given situation, the government was in, it is a decision that we took with open eyes and I don't consider it to be a precedent... the government was in a particular situation,” Mr. Sibal told PTI in an interview. He was asked what would the government do if in future some activists resorted to agitation.
Asked if it was a “one-off” episode, the lawyer-turned-politician said, “I would imagine so.”
Mr. Sibal emphasised that the draft bill prepared by the five Ministers was not the “final bill” and “it will go through changes when we get inputs not just from other political parties but also other members of the civil society.”
The government is holding a meeting with political parties on the issue on July 3.
Hazare’s fast threat
Mr. Sibal refused to comment on Mr. Hazare's decision to go on hunger strike again from August 16, but said “when that situation arises, I am sure the government will deal with it.”
Noting that Mr. Hazare's associates, Justice Santosh Hegde and social activist Swami Agnivesh, had publicly stated that the “fast is not the way,” the Minister said he was sure that the Gandhian “has the wisdom to decide what is best for him and the country.”
Mr. Sibal maintained that Mr. Hazare and his associates had wanted to create an authority outside the system which would be “accountable to nobody” and asserted that this could not be allowed to happen.