‘Civil society has no right to override Parl’



New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday acknowledged the need for governments to work in coordination with civil society on matters of social importance but said nobody has the right to "over ride" the people's representatives in a democracy.

Dikshit, whose government in Delhi is often lauded for the Bhagidari initiative of consulting civil society, also said Indian society and its aspirations were too diverse to be represented by any single civil society group.

Enough checks and balances are in place in the system though they may have weakened and may need strengthening or upgrading to meet challenges of the time, She said here at a seminar to discuss the civil society's role.

However, she said that any change that needs to be brought about, should be done by the elected lawmakers.

"In a democracy, if a set up needs to be changed, it needs to be done by the parliament duly elected by the people. Others have the right to say, but no one has the right to override Parliament, they can though overthrow it every five years," she said.

Contending that civil society too has its limitations and no particular group can be representative of aspirations of all the country, she asked, "Can even five lakh representatives in a population of one billion claim to be representing the country or the 500-odd lawmakers who have been directly elected?"

Amidst a debate on a strong Lokpal bill, Dikshit also touched upon her not very good experience with the Delhi Lokayukta.

"Our experience has been that the Lokayukta felt that he or she must perform and must do something, so they went off the tangent. If they looked for corruption, they couldn't find it. Then they came to the issue that intention was not right," she said.

PTI