New Delhi: Asserting that Parliament was the sole body to frame laws, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said Anna Hazare had sought to impose his version of Lokpal Bill which was "totally misconceived" and fraught with "grave consequences" for Parliamentary democracy. No wrongdoing in Anna's arrest: Chidambaram
Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament in the wake of action against Hazare and his supporters, Singh said the government acknowledges the right of citizens to hold peaceful protests but permission for these is given subject to "appropriate conditions".
Amid continued chants of "shame shame" by Opposition benches, he appealed to all political parties to ensure that the government and its processes and Parliament and its processes function smoothly and effectively.
While giving details of the sequence of events that led to civil activist's arrest and subsequent release, Singh said Hazare had been held as a preventive measure because of apprehension of breach of peace.
"Government does not seek any confrontation with any section of the society. But when some sections of society deliberately challenge the authority of government and prerogative of Parliament, it is the bounden duty of the government to maintain peace and tranquility," he asserted after demand by all Opposition parties that nothing short of Prime Minister's statement would satisfy them.
"Hazare may be inspired by high ideals in his campaign to set up a strong and effective Lokpal. However, the path that he has chosen to impose his draft of a bill upon Parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our Parliamentary democracy," he said. Singh, who spoke in Parliament soon after a Congress Core Group meeting, asserted that it is the sole prerogative of Parliament to make laws and government has gone by well-settled principles.
Insisting that "the issue" between the government and Anna Hazare is "not one of different attitudes to fighting corruption", the Prime Minister said the civil society activists "must allow the elected representatives of the people in Parliament to do the job that they were elected for.
Singh said everyone in Parliament agrees that Lokpal Bill must be passed as early as possible. "The question is, who drafts the law and who makes the law. I submit that the time-honoured practice is that the Executive drafts a Bill and places it before Parliament and that Parliament debates and adopts the Bill with amendments if necessary," he said.
"However, I am not aware of any constitutional philosophy or principle that allows anyone to question the sole prerogative of Parliament to make a law," he observed.
He said that in making a law on Lokpal, the government has "faithfully adhered to well-settled principles" and Hazare "questions these principles and claims a right to impose his Jan Lokpal upon Parliament."
"I would like to assure the House that we are determined to provide a government that is transparent, accountable and responsive at all times and determined to fight corruption," he said.
But, he maintained, "there is no magic wand by which, in one stroke, we will get rid of menace of corruption. We have to work simultaneously on several fronts."
Meanwhile, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday insisted that the government would deal with him "administratively and politically" but made it clear that his Jan Lokpal Bill was not acceptable.
Replying to a debate on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on Hazare episode, Chidambaram asserted that making laws was the sovereign right of Parliament although the views of civil society could be taken on board.
He said "respected" Hazare has the "undoubted right" to protest "as long as he wants" but subject to certain conditions and hoped he would do so.
Narrating the sequence of events that led to Hazare's arrest, Chidambaram argued that it was not the first time that Section 144 of CrPC was invoked and that the activist had been held for the intent to violate prohibitory orders.
"If there is apprehension of breach of peace, there can be arrest as a preventive measure... In this case it was quite clear that Hazare was going to violate Sec 144," he said, adding that decisions about Hazare's arrest were taken by the police and he was kept informed.
Chidambaram said Hazare had conveyed this to the police officers who met him at an apartment in Mayur Vihar locality.
"I salute him. As a true Gandhian he said he will go to Jai Prakash Narayan park and violate the prohibitory orders," he said.
"What wrong did we do? No force was used. No one was injured," he said while terming Hazare's arrest as "inevitably unfortunate".
Chidambaram said it was an administrative decision but getting him released from court was a political decision.
PM statement 'bundle of lies': BJP
Angered over the arrest of Anna Hazare, Opposition on Wednesday dismissed as a "bundle of lies" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the issue, noting that the arrest of the Gandhian has brought people on the streets all over the country.
"This government is not only corrupt but also repressive ...Corruption is a big issue and the way you have acted the people are on the streets," Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said, initiating a discussion on the issue in the Lok Sabha.
Speaker Meira Kumar allowed as a special case a debate on the issue after Prime Minister made a statement detailing the sequence of events that led to action against Hazare.
"The long statement conceals more than it reveals," Swaraj said, adding that protection of civil rights was one of the most important principles in a democratic country and the Opposition parties which are for supremacy of Parliament as also the judiciary, will fight for it.
She lamented that the Congress-led coalition protects the civil rights of separatists like S A R Geelani who had sometime back held a meet here but comes out against elderly Gandhians like Anna Hazare.
She said the way the police acted against Ramdev and his supporters at the Ramlila Maidan here on June 4 showed that this government was not a protector of civil rights.
"The government is shifting the responsibility from its shoulders to that of the Delhi Police Commissioner," Swaraj said, adding that the attitude and the conduct of the government inside and outside Parliament was beyond comprehension. Swaraj accused the government of setting aside the principle of Parliamentary supremacy and Parliamentary processes when it came to drafting the Lokpal Bill.
Govt acted like Britishers: Sharad
Sharad Yadav of (JD-U) said even the British government did not place checks, like the ones placed on Hazare, on the movements of Mahatma Gandhi.
He said the Prime Minister's statement seemed to be that of the Delhi Police Commissioner and wondered who had drafted it. "I think it was Sibal," he said, pointing towards HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.
At this, Sibal said he was holding only two portfolios and not three.
Yadav shot back, saying that Sibal has sidelined party spokespersons and had been negotiating with Hazare and even "hugging" Ramdev ahead of his agitation on blackmoney.
Claiming that the government lacked people with political background, he said situations like these have to be handled politically and not by using provisions of law.
"Sections (of IPC and CrPC) don't work here, they are for courts," he said, adding that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had heeded to the demands of late Morarji Desai seeking elections when he sat on a fast.
Govt is intolerant: CPM
Basudeb Acharia of (CPI-M) said, "Government is intolerant, where there is agitation against corruption. Situation did not warrant arrest of Anna Hazare."
"Government cannot take away right of the people granted by the Constitution to protest against any decision," he said.
Expressing similar views, B Mehtab (BJD) said, "Unnecessarily, you (govt) created a situation, which went beyond your control."
M Thambidurai (AIADMK) said, "It is not fair on part of government to present the Lokpal Bill without consulting political parties."
Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) described the Prime Minister's statement as paradoxical. "Why did the Prime Minister outsource the responsibility to Delhi Police. Point is that who has diluted the role of Parliament - this government."
Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD) said, "Parliament is supreme and civil society cannot give us dictation."
Sanjay Singh Chauhan (RLD) said government was changing its stand every minute while dealing with Hazare's protest.
New Delhi: Asserting that Parliament was the sole body to frame laws, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said Anna Hazare had sought to impose his version of Lokpal Bill which was "totally misconceived" and fraught with "grave consequences" for Parliamentary democracy.
No wrongdoing in Anna's arrest: Chidambaram