Hazare’s proposed fast unjustified: Chidambaram

The government is ready for talks on the Lokpal bill but it is for civil society leader Anna Hazare to decide, the Home Minister said.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Friday, said that Anna Hazare’s proposed indefinite hunger-strike from August 16 to push for the Jan Lokpal Bill is unjustified.

While addressing the media here, the Home Minister pointed out that the draft has been forwarded to Parliamentary Standing Committee on law and justice.

“Parliament is the supreme body and if anyone has any reservations on any issue he/she is free to approach it,” Chidambaram said.

The government is ready for talks on the Lokpal bill but it is for civil society leader Anna Hazare to decide, the Home Minister said.

"It is for Hazare to decide (whether to take part in the discussion)," Chidambaram told the press conference.

Asked if the proposed fast by Hazare here from Aug 16 will be permitted, Chidambaram said “Delhi Police chief will have the last word.”

Notably, Delhi police on Wednesday had allotted the Jayaprakash Narayan National Park in central Delhi to hold the protest.

Earlier in the week, Hazare, along with RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and senior lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan had met members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and pressed for scraping of the bill that was moved in Parliament last week and wanted it to be replaced with a stronger anti-corruption draft law that brings the Prime Minister within its ambit.

Hazare said the decision of the Parliamentary Standing Committee to study the Jan Lokpal bill along with the government legislation was a "good thing", but made it clear that he would continue with his fast from August 16 if the panel did not take a decision by that date.

Anna Hazare said he would go on a fast if the bill is not rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee by Aug 16.

A day ahead of the proposed indefinite fast, Anna Hazare would be addressing the nation on August 15 to garner support for his movement for a strong Lokpal Bill.

The Jan Lokpal Bill draft has been prepared by Anna Hazare, eminent lawyers Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde and social activist Arvind Kejriwal.

The civil society led by Anna Hazare have been demanding inclusion of the Prime Minister, the higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament under the ambit of Lokpal.

The Hazare team is also demanding a strong public grievance redressal mechanism, Lokayuktas at state-level and independent selection, funding and removal mechanism to ensure autonomy of function.

The Lokpal, consisting of chairperson and eight members, half of them judicial, will have its own prosecution and investigation wing with officers and staff necessary to carry out its functions.

The Lokpal Bill cleared by the Cabinet seeks to keep the office of the Prime Minister outside the purview of the Ombudsman during his term in office and also exclude the higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside the Parliament.

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