In the past two days the nation has its eyes focused on the Lokpal issue. Although the crowd turn out for the latest round of protest has not been on expected lines, some members of the Anna team feel that the issue of fighting corruption has not lost its sheen. However the general perception is that it is time to get out of Urban India and move to Rural India debating this subject.
Justice Santhosh Hegde, member of the drafting panel, Lokpal bill says for starters that anyone associated with this issue would be able to comment only once they understand what is going on in parliament. I am unable to understand this Lokpal Bill and its present position. In fact no one knows what the Parliament is doing. There are so many amendments, many accepted and many rejected. The present shape of the Lokpal Bill has no clarity what so ever, he says.
Regarding Anna Hazare and his protest, Justice Hegde feels that one must be appreciative of what he is doing. Many are critical of his stubbornness and feel that the Parliament must be given some time. He is struggling over there and let us support him instead of criticising him. Every issue has its pros and cons.
I was with him yesterday. Yes the crowd turn out has not been very impressive. However that does not mean that issue has died down. There was a lot of enthusiasm that people showed to the lead up to the protest, People came out in large numbers when the procession passed.
Well it is difficult to say as to why the crowd turn out has been lower when compared to the last time. It could well be fatigue in my opinion. I would not say that the low turn out is not something that can be ignored. When fighting such an issue it is extremely important that there is peoples’s participation. The cause if lost if people do not take part.
The crowd turn out however should act as a deterrent. What is more important is that we keep the issue alive. In my view Anna Hazare should keep travelling to different parts of the country. I guess the issue has to now be raised in the rural parts of the country. There is a need to create awareness in those areas and for this Anna needs to travel more often to the rural belts.
On the numerous petitions that have been filed in the courts against this protest, Justice Hegde says that there is no bar in discussing this subject in the open. Unlike a matter before court which is sub judice, there is no such bar in discussing the proceedings that are going on in Parliament. Well, the Parliament has protection under the guise of a privilege motion, but then again that cannot be applied over here. There are so many from the Parliament who speak about this issue in public and they have not been pulled up for privilege and hence that cannot be applicable to the public as well. I firmly believe that it is the people who create the Parliamentarians who are bigger than the Parliament.
Speaking about the Lokpal bill, Justice Hegde points out that it cannot go in for a judicial scrutiny, unless there is a Presidential accord for the same. Even if someone does manage to get an assent from the President, the court would never go into the amendments and additions into the bill. The court can only look into the factor of constitutionality of the bill and in case it is found to be unconstitutional the court can strike it down. However in the instant case it becomes clear that the judiciary will not interfere with the proceedings in parliament.