LAW RESOURCE INDIA

PRIME MINISTERS STATEMENT ON THE LOKPAL CAMPAIGN AND ANNA HAZARE ARREST

Posted in ACCOUNTABILITY, CONSTITUTION, CORRUPTION, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, GOVERNANCE, JAN LOKPAL by NNLRJ INDIA on August 17, 2011
Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India.

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Following is the text of the statement made by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in the Lok Sabha today:

Hon’ble Speaker,

It is my painful duty to report to this House certain events that took place yesterday in New Delhi.

 Hon’ble Members are aware that after extensive consultations and discussions, including deliberations in a Joint Drafting Committee and a meeting of all political parties represented in Parliament, the Government has introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha on the setting up of Lok Pal. The Bill has been referred to the Standing Committee concerned.

Notwithstanding the introduction of the Bill, Shri Anna Hazare and his supporters have persisted with their demand that the Jan Lok Pal Bill drafted by Shri Anna Hazare should be introduced in Parliament and that the Jan Lok Pal Bill should be the Bill that must be passed by Parliament. In support of this demand, Shri Anna Hazare had announced some time ago that he would undertake an indefinite fast beginning August 16, 2011.

On August 2, 2011, an application was made to Delhi Police by an organisation called India Against Corruption for permission to hold a month-long fast beginning August 16, 2011 at New Delhi. Delhi Police held discussions with the applicants in order to identify a suitable place and to formulate the conditions under which the permission could be granted for holding a fast at that place. Eventually, on August 13, 2011, Delhi Police informed the applicants that permission would be granted for the protest at Jai Prakash Narayan Park, near Ferozshah Kotla, subject to permission being granted by the land owning agency and subject to certain conditions.

 Delhi Police also informed the applicants that they would have to give an undertaking to abide by the conditions.

However, on August 15, 2011, the organisers refused to accept six of the conditions, including the condition that the protest fast would be limited to three days. Hence, Delhi Police informed the applicants that, since they had declined to accept some of the conditions and refused to give the undertaking to abide by all the conditions, permission would not be granted to hold the protest fast at Jai Prakash Narayan Park. Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were also imposed on August 15, 2011 in and around Jai Prakash Narayan Park and some other areas.

On the evening of August 15, 2011, Shri Anna Hazare, through public statements, made it clear that he and his supporters would converge at Jai Prakash Narayan Park and defy the prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC. Yesterday morning, Delhi Police reviewed the situation. Delhi Police came to the conclusion that it was clear that Shri Anna Hazare and his supporters would commit a cognizable offence and there was a likelihood of a breach of peace. Hence, Shri Anna Hazare and six others were arrested, as a preventive measure, under section 151/107 CrPC. They were taken to the Delhi Police Officers’ Mess at Alipur Road and, subsequently, produced before a Magistrate. Delhi Police did not seek the police remand of the arrested persons. The Magistrate offered to release the arrested persons on their personal bonds subject to the condition that they would undertake not to violate the prohibitory orders. However, Shri Anna Hazare and others refused to give such an undertaking or furnish personal bonds. Hence, the Magistrate remanded the arrested persons to 7 days’ judicial custody.

Meanwhile, during the course of yesterday, about 2,603 persons were detained in Delhi when they were proceeding to or were in areas where prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were in force. All of them were released later in the evening yesterday.

Late yesterday evening, Delhi Police received information that Shri Anna Hazare intended to move the Supreme Court challenging the orders of Delhi Police. Delhi Police also received information that the petition was likely to be mentioned before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, i.e. today, for urgent hearing. Since there were reasonable grounds to believe that Shri Anna Hazare had opted to seek legal remedies, Delhi Police did not apprehend any imminent breach of peace or imminent disturbance to tranquillity if the arrested persons were released. Hence, Delhi Police moved the Magistrate concerned to review his earlier order and the Magistrate was pleased to release Shri Anna Hazare and the other arrested persons at about 7 p.m. yesterday. The jail authorities informed Shri Anna Hazare and others that orders for their release had been received. However, Shri Anna Hazare and others (except one) declined to leave the jail premises unless the Government gave an undertaking that they would be permitted to hold their protest fast at Jai prakash Narayan Park without any condition.

Our Government acknowledges the right of citizens to hold peaceful protests. In fact, Delhi Police have allowed several such protests, but in each case appropriate conditions have always been imposed and the organisers were always required to give an undertaking to abide by all the conditions. Shri Anna Hazare and his supporters would have been allowed to hold their protest fast if they had accepted the conditions under which the permission was granted and had undertaken to abide by the conditions. Since they declined to do so, Delhi Police was obliged to refuse permission to hold the protest fast.

The Government wishes to stress that the issue before the nation is not whether a Lok Pal Bill is necessary or desirable. All of us in this House are agreed that a Lok Pal 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 that Parliament debates and adopts the Bill with amendments if necessary. In the process of adoption of the Bill, there will be opportunities for Shri Anna Hazare and others to present their views to the Standing Committee to which this Bill has been referred by the Hon’ble Speaker. The Standing Committee as well as Parliament can modify the Bill if they so desire. 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. In making a law on Lok Pal, the Government has faithfully adhered to the well-settled principles. As far as I am able to gather, Shri Anna Hazare questions these principles and claims a right to impose his Jan Lok Pal Bill upon Parliament.

I acknowledge that Shri Anna Hazare may be inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a strong and effective Lok Pal. However, the path that he has chosen to impose his draft of a Bill upon Parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our Parliamentary democracy.

Our Government does not seek any confrontation with any section of the society. But when some sections of society deliberately challenge the authority of the Government and the prerogative of Parliament, it is the bounden duty of the Government to maintain peace and tranquillity. Delhi Police, as the authority charged with the responsibility, took the minimum steps necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the capital city. Inevitably, though unfortunately, it led to the arrest and subsequent release of Shri Anna Hazare and some of his supporters. I sincerely hope that the incidents of yesterday will not be repeated today or in the future.

I should also make it clear that the issue between the Government and Shri Anna Hazare is 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. I would like to assure the House that we are determined to provide a Government that is transparent, accountable and responsive at all times and determined to fight corruption. But as I said on 15 August at the Red Fort, there is no magic wand by which, in one stroke, we will get rid of menace the of corruption. We have to work simultaneously on several fronts. In my 15 August address, I have outlined some of the measures we intend to put in place to strengthen our fight against corruption. I invite all sections of this House to join hands with us to deal with the cancer of corruption.

 With respect to the events of yesterday, I will only say that a functional democracy must allow multiple voices to be heard. But differences of opinion must be resolved thorough 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.

India is an emerging economy. We are now emerging as one of the important players on the world stage. There are many forces that would not like to see India realize 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 dissension. We must keep our mind focused on the need to push ahead with economic progress for the upliftment of the ‘aam aadmi’.

I appeal to all sections of this august House to ensure that the Government and its processes, and the Parliament and its processes function smoothly and effectively. 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.

I request all political parties to ensure that Parliament functions smoothly. There are very important legislative measures that are required to be passed. If we do not pass them, we will do great injustice to the people of India and in turn hurt the ‘aam aadmi’. We are willing to debate every issue in Parliament, and we have demonstrated that we are co-operating with the Opposition in every possible way to ensure that Parliament functions smoothly.

We as elected representatives of our people should do nothing to weaken our people’s faith in the capacity of our democracy, our institutions and our social ideals and values to overcome all difficulties. We should have faith that we can build a promising future for ourselves. Let us unite in that faith.”

6 Responses

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  1. Narendersingh Kharayat said, on August 17, 2011 at 14:41

    The P.M. and top Politicians Judicial Authorities are afraid of Jan Lokpal Bill and they want them to be excluded from any probe under the Bill that is why they want softer lokpal bill which gives amnesty to all the corrupt persons like them. It is very sad that they dont want to listen the good things proposed by Shri Anna Hajare and his team. which they can include the bill which was tabled in the Parliament.
    As to kill corruption demon they will have to crush its head to kill it. That means you have to suppress the top Hierarchy in the power to make it successful against corruption

  2. Anil Gupta,Meerut,India said, on August 17, 2011 at 15:38

    Sir, I would like to ask the Prime Minister since when he has become an elected representative of the PEOPLE.He has never contested an election. He has always gained entry into the parliament through the backdoor of Rajya Sabha which is shameful for a person who claims to represent his people. This corruptest government of India should go immediately. The Congress party has no regard for democracy. Few examples below:-
    When Jawaharlal Nehru decided partition of India at the prodding of Edwina Mountbatten,a decision was taken by the Congress working committee that only that person will become Prime Minister of independent India who gets majority votes of Presidents of State Congress units. There were fifteen state units of Congress at the time out of whom fourteen voted for Sardar Patel and only one went in favor of Nehru. But Nehru was so infuriated by the outcome that he boycotted the meeting and went to Gandhiji. He told Gandhiji that if he was not made the PM he would break the Congress and then the British will refuse to grant freedom. At this Bapu asked Patel to forgo in favor of Nehru. Bapu told Patel that if as warned by Nehru Britishers refused to grant freedom history would blame Patel and Bapu for stalling freedom for the post of PM. At this Patel withdrew from the fray and proposed the name of Nehru. Thus it is clear that Nehru became first PM of independent India by blackmail only.
    When Chaudhry Charan Singh opposed the co-operative farming proposal of Nehru at Avadi session of Congress he was made a person non grata.
    When Indira Gandhi faced the prospect of loosing the PM’s post after Allahabad High Court declared her election null and void due to corrupt practices she declared internal emergency in the country and sent lacs of people in prisons.
    Again presently when this government of Manmohan Singh is facing a popular upsurge against the rampant corruption at high places they have resorted to draconian methods and sent almost 1.42 lac people all over the country in jails. Now he is trying to justify the murder of democracy by his statement. Shameful. he should immerse himself in Yamuna to atone for this sinful act.

  3. Akash said, on August 17, 2011 at 18:46

    “with great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben in the movie “Spiderman”

    Though the cause mr. anna hazare stands for is virtuous and noble indeed, i feel he hasnt been able to carry out the task at hand with enough dignity. the support shown by the people of india shows our frustration with the system and he has hit the right chords and generated phenomenol public interest. but is that enough???? im sure if a bollywood movie star say salman khan were to go on a fast unto death, the public would be more supportive of him. Mr. Hazare should consider the trust reposed in him by the people and act on it and not merely try to establish himself as another Mahatma Gandhi( who was a political genius, a man of extraordinary spiritual insight and as a lawyer, familiar with the nuances of law). The supremacy of the constitution and rule of law need to be respected. The legislature in a parliamentary democracy is the institution responsible for making laws and not merely a signatory authority. his insistence that the jan lokpal bill be made law in its exact form is a very immature thing on his part. considering he has a quite a few debatable clauses such as the inclusion of the higher judiciary under the ombudsman to prevent corruption. a procedure already exists for the same and im sure honourable justice soumitra sen who is facing impeachment proceedings can endorse the efficacity of the same.
    This post is in no way supports the steps taken by the ruling party, on the contrary they have time and again shown weakness and a lack of enough imagination to handlle the smallest of situations.one is forced to wonder whether they are competent enough to run a young nation of over a billion and wonder what they would do if times actually get hard.

    what im actually trying to say is:

    1. Mr Hazare should use this campaign as a tool for the greater good of this nation. Maybeform a political party and contest elections.
    2. The media and an incompetent government have also contributed to the ANNA PHENOMENON.
    3. If Mr. Hazare calls himself a leader he has to live like one.( GANDHIJI🙂 )… seeing him on an episode of Saregama llittle Champs saying the right stuff with wrong body language is not one of them.
    4. He has a right to peaceful protest and the government just dug its own grave by arresting him. Acted out of panic i suppose…. the anchor of this ship Soniaji is out of the country and our PM probably feels like a kid lost at the zoo.
    5. i was very bored and thought id write this out.

    JAI HIND

  4. June Lipton said, on August 17, 2011 at 19:45

    If n e 1 thinks he can do good by setting up a parallel government called ‘lok pal’, he might as well stand for elections, win seats and set up a corruption-free governing body; bcoz fouling an entire constitution and forming a body oppressively, and undemocratically is not what this country wants…
    Public menace is not sumthing tht influences strategic decisions….and what is the guarantee tht an accountability lacking body such as the ‘lok pal’ wont be equally corrupt as the governemet that it is challenging?

    T O A N N A’S S U P P O R T E R S…..do yall even know what exactly the lok pal is? are yall ready to limit yor democracy for this unaccountable body?? If it would have been that easy to get bak the 1,456 lac crore rs, n e ruling pasry cud hav done it, and even 0.0001% (which wouldnt be difficult to steal out) of this amount would make the ruling party plenty richer! First find out who will rule you sitting inside the lok pal and how much more corruption opportunities will they have than your current government…then sit and broadcast messages about supporting a man who has no idea of the cons of setting up a parallel government!

    A N D F I N A L L Y. . . .A n n a…yeh sab bhaashan-baazi, stunt-baazi sab kar saktey hain…jail mei jaane ka sabko bada josh hai….par khudki chalaani hai, toh election jeeto….aur jab election ke liye ladoge, tabb aate-daal ka bhav pataa chal jayega!!

  5. Venkatesh P. Dalwai said, on August 17, 2011 at 23:29

    Its the delay to act and pass Lok Pal bill has resulted in present protests. PM should ensure that Bill is tabled in the next session of Parliament. If the bill has any short comings then such unconstitutionality is to be challenged with principles of constitution. But authorizing to arrest Anna Hazare was not required and idea has backfired. No one undermines the Parliamentary Democracy but protest is an indication of mood of the people who voted MPs to sit in Parliament to implement people’s wishes. When PM made statement that grave consequences on authority of Parliament, probably it was forgotten that its we the citizens have voted them to sit there. And any parliament without responsive to wishes of people is like dead log which comes to alive only when votes are sought.

  6. Devender kumar Dubey said, on August 18, 2011 at 20:51

    We have proper and well established law for fighting against corruption,There is no need to made Lok pal Bill because already have so many law and also have efficient system to follow rules and procedures ,but the problem is this the person who administrate in the system they are corrupt and made corruption from bottom to higher level in the system .so that there is not proper implementation of law and not take any action .
    In my opinion, all person are part of corruption and all are corrupt from bottom to top level so its impossible to deal corruption with lok pal bill , If you really want to do something, change the thinking of people and do work properly. If you fail to changing the thought of people about his work then you never ends corruption even you change the Constitution
    and if the Lokpal bill enacted as Shri Anna JI want then the situation like constitutional imbalance will be come.


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