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The present Lokpal Bill has no clarity: Justice Hegde

Last updated on: December 28, 2011 14:13 IST

The present Lokpal Bill has no clarity: Justice Hegde

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

In the past two days, the nation has its eyes focused on the Lokpal issue. Although the crowd turnout for the latest round of protest has not been on expected lines, some members of Team Anna feel that the issue of fighting corruption has not lost its sheen. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa talks to Justice Santosh Hegde, who was part of the drafting panel of the Lokpal Bill.

"For starters, anyone associated with this issue would be able to comment only once they understand what is going on in Parliament," says Hegde.

"I am unable to understand this Lokpal Bill and its present position. In fact, no one knows what the Parliament is doing. There are so many amendments, many accepted and many rejected. The present shape of the Bill has no clarity whatsoever, he says.

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Image: Justice Santosh Hegde


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'Low turnout can be a deterrent'

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Regarding Hazare and his protest, Hegde feels that one must be appreciative of what he is doing. "Many are critical of his stubbornness and feel that Parliament must be given some time. He is struggling over there, and let us support him instead of criticising him. Every issue has its pros and cons," he adds.

"I was with him on Tuesday. Yes, the crowd turnout has not been very impressive. However that does not mean that issue has died down. There was a lot of enthusiasm that people showed to the lead up to the protest. People came out in large numbers when the procession passed," he says.

"It is difficult to say as to why the crowd turnout has been lower if we compare it to the one in New Delhi. It could well be fatigue in my opinion. I would not say that the low turnout is not something that can be ignored. While fighting such an issue, it is extremely important that there is peoples' participation," he says.

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Image: At MMRDA ground, Mumbai
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'We need to take the fight to rural areas'

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"The cause if lost if people do not take part. The crowd turnout however would act as a deterrent. What is more important is that we keep the issue alive. In my view, Hazare should cover more of the country. I guess the issue has to now be raised in the rural areas of the country. There is a need to create awareness in those areas," he adds.

On the numerous petitions that have been filed in the courts against this protest, Hegde says that there is no bar in discussing this subject in the open.

"Unlike a matter before the court which is sub-judice, there is no such bar in discussing the proceedings that are going on in Parliament. The Parliament has protection under the guise of a privilege motion, but then again that cannot be applied over here," he says.

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Image: At MMRDA ground, Mumbai
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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The judiciary will not interfere with Parliamentary proceedings

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"There are so many parliamentarians who speak about this issue in public and they have not been pulled up for privilege, so, it should not be applicable to the public. I firmly believe that people who create the Parliamentarians are bigger than the Parliament," he adds.

About the Lokpal bill, Hegde points out that it cannot go in for a judicial scrutiny, unless there is a Presidential accord for the same.

"Even if someone does manage to get an assent from the President, the court would never go into the amendments and additions into the Bill. The court can only look into its constitutionality factor, and in case it is found to be unconstitutional the court can strike it down. However in the instant case it becomes clear that the judiciary will not interfere with the proceedings in Parliament," he adds.


Image: Parliament of India


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