Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, who was once part of the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption, has criticised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying his protest outside Parliament House was unlawful and would set a wrong precedent.

Justice Hegde said the protestors had violated prohibitory orders. “For the law to be violated by none other than the Chief Minister sets a wrong precedent. It will encourage others to break the law,” Justice Hegde told The Hindu. He said Jantar Mantar would have been a better protest venue especially in view of the upcoming Republic Day.

Justice Hegde who is here, said he felt compelled to express his feelings after watching the protests on television. “It makes me feel very sorry. I feel disappointed that things like this should happen when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a wonderful opportunity to prove its worth. This is likely to be a setback to those who are protesting their grievances through legitimate means,” he said.

Justice Hegde said a dispute between the Centre and State should be settled by Constitutional methods. If there was a law and order violation, Mr. Kejriwal had the option of approaching a criminal court, he added.

Justice Hegde was equally critical of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti who had forcibly entered the home of four African women and detained them. “He should not have taken the law into his own hands. If the police were not listening to him, he could have complained to their seniors or gone to court,” he said.

Justice Hegde had once protested at Jantar Mantar along with Anna Hazare and Mr. Kejriwal. He was part of India Against Corruption for 18 months and quit in 2011 after Mr. Kejriwal decided to form a political party.

Meanwhile the AAP members in Maharashtra chose not to react to Mr. Hegde’s comments. “We are trying to represent the feelings of the common man who is harassed by the police,” said AAP’s State convenor Anjali Damania.

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