Bangalore: The government on Friday criticised
civil rights activist Anna Hazare for setting August 15 as
deadline for enactment the Lokpal bill and appeared to
express doubts about meeting it.
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ashwani
Kumar also hit out at Hazare for resorting to "fast-to-death
at the drop of a hat".
The agitation by Hazare is unjustified as the UPA
government is sensitive to the issue and fighting corruption
is its "core agenda", he said.
"You (Hazare) say if you (the government) don`t bring a
legislation (Lokpal bill) by 15th August, we would go on a
fast", Kumar told reporters here in response to questions.
But he added "law making is not at will. Law making is
a functioning of a process".
Indicating that law enactment is a lengthy process, he
said one has to discuss the bill with stake-holders,
assimilate everybody`s view and also see "what the
constitution permits, laws permit".
"You cannot in the garb of being a crusader against
corruption undermine the established institutions of
He said one has to understand that there are "competing
priorities in governance".
Kumar said India has established institutions of
democracy, an independent judiciary, a free press, a
Parliament that`s a law maker and an executive that implements
"We are duty bound as the Government has to protect the
structures of the constitution and we will fight corruption
consistent with maintaining the integrity of the
Constitution," he said.
The Minister said it would be the government`s earnest
attempt to bring the Lokpal bill in the monsoon session of the
"I only hope that the kind of atmosphere that`s being
generated in the country does not lead the civil society...So
called civil society representatives to delay the presentation
of the bill," he said.
Kumar said his personal view is that the President, Prime
Minister and other constitutional functionaries like
Vice-President, Lok Sabha Speaker and Judges of Supreme Court
must not come under the ambit of Lokpal.
"...because in real terms, given the ground reality of
the way politics in the country is evolving, you cannot have
highest constitutional functionaries unable to perform their
constitutional duties on account of someone choosing to abuse
provisions of this bill," the minister said.