Bangalore: Karnataka pontiff Vishvesha Tirtha Wednesday defended the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by activist Anna Hazare and his team to check the menace of corruption.
"I feel the draft Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by Hazare and his team is more to the purpose and deserves acceptance. I am in full agreement with the opinion of the people that the government drafted Lokpal Bill lacks teeth and will be ineffective," the pontiff said in statement from Udupi in Dakshina Kannada district, about 400 km from here.
Condemning the arrest of Hazare Tuesday in New Delhi to prevent him from undertaking fast, the Pejawara Adhokshaja mutt head said he was pained by the magnitude of corruption and the distress it was causing in society.
"As members of Parliament are bound by the whip of their respective parties, public opinion will not be reflected in the debate on the Lokpal bill in the house. Still, we are obliged to be bound by resolutions passed by Parliament," Tirtha said.
Extending support to Hazare going on fast for a strong Lokpal bill against corruption, the pontiff said if the government drafted bill was passed by parliament without the prime minister and the higher judiciary in the Lokpal ambit, the issue should be taken to the people for a national referendum.
"If the government drafted Lokpal bill is accepted, the fight against corruption should be decided by the people as they are the supreme authority in a democracy. People should join Hazare in holding an indefinite fast for a national referendum on whether the prime minister and the judiciary should be included in the act. Let the people decide on what type of law we should have to check corruption," the pontiff added.