August 23, 2011
Letter from PM
The Prime Minister has written to Shri Anna Hazare on the Lokpal issue.
The text of the letter is as follows:
"Over the last few days, I have watched with increasing concern the state of your health. Despite thedifferences between the Government and your team, I do not think that anybody is or should be in anydoubt about the deep and abiding concern which I and our Government share about your health, arisingfrom your continuing fast. I have no hesitation in saying that we need your views and actions in theservice of the nation, from a robust physical condition and not in the context of frail or failing health.I have maintained that your and our object is identical viz. to reduce significantly, if not eliminate, thescourge of corruption from this country. At worst, our paths and methodologies may differ, though I dobelieve that even those differences have been exaggerated. The Government is committed to passing aconstitutionally valid and the best possible Lok Pal legislation with inputs from Civil Society with thebroadest possible consensus. We are ready to talk to anybody. However, we will have to keep in mindParliamentary supremacy and constitutional obligations in matters of legislation. As a Government werespect and are responsible to the Will of the Indian People as represented by Parliament.
As you are aware, the Lok Pal bill is now before a Standing Committee of Parliament. I have made itclear earlier and would like to restate that all options are open before the Standing Committee.Undoubtedly, they would be entitled to consider, in detail and clause by clause, subject to theirdiscretion, not only the Bill introduced by us but the Jan Lokpal Bill and other versions like thoseprepared by Ms. Aruna Roy. Equally, I do maintain that they are fully entitled to make any changes tothe Bill introduced by the Govt. and referred to them. In that view of the matter, the formal nonintroduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill version by the government is irrelevant and would largely boil down toa semantic debate.
Nevertheless, in view of the concern repeatedly expressed by your team that the Jan Lokpal Bill versionshould be before Parliament, but more particularly and more importantly, in view of my deep andabiding concern for your health, our government is prepared to request the Speaker, Lok Sabha toformally refer the Jan Lokpal Bill also to the Standing Committee for their holistic considerationalongwith everything else. Furthermore, if you have any anxieties about time and speed, theGovernment can formally request the Standing Committee to try, subject to its discretion and thenecessity to reflect deeply and spend adequate time on an important Bill, and fast track theirdeliberations to the extent reasonably feasible.
I would like to say that this letter and each suggestion herein is actuated solely by the twinconsiderations of deep and genuine concern about your health and the emergence of a strong andeffective Lok Pal Act in accordance with established constitutional precept and practice.
I do hope that you will consider my suggestions and end your fast to regain full health and vitality."