Bangalore, June 10: The government today criticised civil rights activist Anna Hazare for setting August 15 as deadline for enanctment 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 Parliamentary democracy”.
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 the law.
“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 Parliament.
“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. PTI