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Updated: August 18, 2011 03:41 IST

Hazare's path is misconceived: Manmohan

Vinay Kumar
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Anna Hazare had been held as a preventive measure because of apprehension of breach of peace. File photo
The Hindu
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Anna Hazare had been held as a preventive measure because of apprehension of breach of peace. File photo

Says social activist, his associates were held because government apprehended breach of peace

Even as Gandhian Anna Hazare's anti-corruption crusade continued, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament on Wednesday that the path chosen by the social activist to “impose his Jan Lokpal Bill upon Parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our parliamentary democracy.”

Making an identical statement in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, he acknowledged that Mr. Hazare might be “inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a strong and effective Lokpal,” but clarified that the issue between the government and the social activist was not one of different attitudes to fighting corruption. “In my Independence Day address, I spoke at length about the need to deal effectively with corruption.”

Assuring Parliament that “we are determined to provide a government that is transparent, accountable and responsive at all times and determined to fight corruption,” Dr. Singh referred to his Independence Day address, wherein he had stated that there was no “magic wand” by which the menace could be made to disappear. He invited all sections of Parliament to join hands with the government to deal with the problem.

On the events related to the arrest on Tuesday of Mr. Hazare and his supporters, Dr. Singh said a functional democracy must allow multiple voices to be heard. “But differences of opinion must be resolved through dialogue and consensus. Those who believe that their voice — and their voice alone — represents the will of 1.2 billion people should reflect deeply on that position. They must allow the elected representatives of the people in Parliament to do the job that they were elected for.”

Stating that he was performing the “painful duty” of reporting to Parliament on the events, the Prime Minister explained that Mr. Hazare and six of his associates were held because of the apprehension of breach of peace, although the government acknowledges the right of citizens to hold peaceful protests, permission for which could be given with “appropriate conditions.”

Dr. Singh insisted that the government did not seek any “confrontation” with any section. “But when some sections of society deliberately challenge the authority of the government and prerogative of Parliament, it is the bounden-duty of the government to maintain peace and tranquillity.”

He appealed to all parties to ensure that the government and Parliament and their processes worked smoothly and effectively.

A larger part of his statement was devoted to the sequence of events that led to Mr. Hazare's arrest and subsequent release.

Dr. Singh said it was the sole prerogative of Parliament to make laws, and the government had gone by well-settled principles. Everyone in Parliament agreed that the Lokpal Bill must be passed as early as possible. “The question is, who drafts the law and who makes the law. I submit that the time-honoured practice is that the Executive drafts a Bill and places it before Parliament and Parliament debates [on] and adopts the Bill with amendments, if necessary.”

“However, I am not aware of any constitutional philosophy or principle that allows any one to question the sole prerogative of Parliament to make a law,” he said. By making a law on the Lokpal, the government had “faithfully adhered to well-settled principles,” and Mr. Hazare “questions these principles and claims a right to impose his Jan Lokpal upon Parliament.”

Pointing to India's economic progress, he cautioned: “There are many forces that would not like to see India realise its true place in the comity of nations. We must not play into their hands. We must not create an environment in which our economic progress is hijacked by internal dissention.”

He appealed for smooth functioning of Parliament. “There is no substitute for that. If some people do not agree with our policy, there will be a time when they will have an opportunity to present their points of view to the people of India.”

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I have a question for Manmohan Singh: When was the last time that politicians got together in the parliament to fight against corruption? Please give me the answer. Please..

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: Aug 31, 2011 at 13:26 IST

It is misconceived and therefore a dilemma of means and ends is seen by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister seems to have lost besides his control over administration, his control over the 'attitudes and behaviours' of his colleagues towards all those voicing their opposition to the draft Lokpal bill. Occasions do arise when 'ends justify the means'.

from:  Dr.C.S.Rangarajan
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011 at 07:34 IST

Prime Minister may be a very good person, but he is certainly not a good leader. He is surrounded by some self-centred people who want huge power to rule and gather what makes their life comfortable.

from:  Ranajit Dey
Posted on: Aug 20, 2011 at 14:36 IST

Mr Manmohan singh does not realise the pains of poor. He does not understand the pulse of public. He needs to keep in mind what happened in Egypt and Libya although for a different cause.

from:  BMNaik
Posted on: Aug 20, 2011 at 10:06 IST

You are right Mr. Prime Minister - the elected representatives must do the job they were elected for. But what happens when they fail to do so?

You should not forget that the Lokpal Bill did not see daylight for decades and the present hotchpotch bill is being introduced in a hurry only when the people's voice started to be echoed by the social activists.

What is the need for preparing the bill in a hurry? This is a matter in which those in power are sought to be policed. Is it left to them to decide how they should be policed?

The elected representatives are what they are - mere elected representatives. They cannot become dictators and when the question of their own activities being put to scrutiny arises, they are without an iota of doubt required to go back to the people who elected them.

Let them make this an election issue and seek votes, if they dare!

from:  V. Janardhanan
Posted on: Aug 19, 2011 at 08:13 IST

The Prime Minister is a man tied to dishonest men. He cannot tell the truth. Suggest he look at himself each morning and ask himself: Am I strong enough to be honest!!!!

from:  Shivi Singh
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 10:24 IST

"The issue between the government and the social activist was not one of different attitudes to fighting corruption". That's the greatest lie ever told by a prime minister to a nation. By any stretch of the imagination, the government's Lokpal bill cannot be considered an honest effort at curbing corruption.

from:  K Palaka
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 09:26 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - It's you who is misconcieved and not Anna. You are still thinking that this is a family owned country, but no its not. It was great idea of congress and you to put Anna in Tihar Jail and then conduct a meeting between PM and Rahul and then announce through few paid media news that Rahul is the decision maker. Didn't you feel ashamed of this drama? Congress plan is to bring Rahul as next PM as India in a family owned country. Why then all maharajas were asked to give up their states? This inheritance to Rahul gandhi is worst then the old times Rajas.

from:  Indian in US
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 09:16 IST

With all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, I believe the people's voice or rather, their discontent with things has been expressed by Anna Hazare in a manner in which even the government could never express it. And, as far as 'breach of peace and law and order' is concerned, how else would you suggest a country show its displeasure with the government, other than by peaceful protests and fasts? If you have forgotten history, the is the way all the peaceful protests have taken place, even during the Independence of our country.

from:  Abhilash
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 09:11 IST

You are right Mr Singh when you say that 'an opportunity to present their points of view to the people of India' will be given to the citizens, well I say, bring it on, let the election decides who will rule this 1.2 Billion strong Indians. If you are true to your conscience, bring on the election and let the people decide whether they want corrupt politicians or ordinary citizens who will look after the welfare of every citizens.

from:  suresh nayak
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 08:07 IST

I do not question the procedure for making laws. The question is - is the executive drafting the bill keeping in view the will of the people or is it drafting the bill to protect the politicians? What is the remedy, then?

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Aug 18, 2011 at 07:52 IST
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