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People are supreme, no one else: Santosh Hegde

Bangalore: Government can ill-afford to ignore popular sentiment for Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign otherwise it may have to pay a ”heavy price”, Santosh Hegde, lokpal bill drafting committee member, said on Friday.

He said any sensible government should pay heed to the “feelings” of the people.

“Otherwise, just see what happened after the Emergency in 1977. A certain government in power may loose power,” he told PTI while flaying the government’s flip-flop on the detention of Hazare.

On Prime Minister’s statement that Parliament alone can make laws, the former Supreme Court judge, who till recently served as Karnataka lokayukta, said it’s supreme to the extent that legislations can be passed by majority in the House.

“And the Prime Minister saying law can’t be made in maidan…Law cannot be made through satyagraha…They are misleading the people. We are not making the law. We are (only) giving suggestions,” Hegde said.

He said the government has to understand that Hazare’s campaign has no personal agenda and it’s all in the public interest.

He said the government should have also sent “our bill” (jan lokpal) to the Standing Committee of Parliament, in addition to the version cleared by the Cabinet.

Hegde said the government asking civil society members to refrain from making their views known on the bill as it was going to Parliament is not correct.

While there is a principle of sub-judice in jurisprudence, there is no such procedure in Parliamentary proceedings, he said.

“We can go on talking (about the bill) even when discussion is going on (in Parliament)…criticise the discussion. Therefore, asking us to keep our mouth shut…who are you talking…Parliament is supreme…it’s audacity on their part”, he said.

“Can a law made by Parliament be challenged in court or not? It can be challenged and it can be declared as unconstitutional by Supreme Court or even by a high court. Does it mean then that Parliament is supreme? It’s not,” Hegde said.

He said the government should understand that Constitution is drafted by Constituent Assembly but it’s the people of India who have accepted it.

“It (Constitution) is not given by a politician. Under the Constitution, we have accepted… This Parliament, Legislature, Executive and Judiciary is created. Therefore, who is the creator of these institutions? It’s the people. Therefore, ultimately, in the true sense of the word, it’s the people who are supreme, not anybody else”, he said.

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