The Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee appears to have fizzled out as 'civil society' and the government failed to find common ground.
The culmination of this was a press conference held by an angry 'civil society' in which they shouted and threatened the government for over an hour, hurling accusations and claims and coming up with such droll phrases like 'joke'pal.
It ended with Hazare declaring that if the Lokpal bill wasn't created to HIS satisfaction by August 16, he would renew his 'fast to death' techniques.
But in this fight the government, though it is corrupt and inefficient, has an advantage. It is undeniable that the making of laws is the sole jurisdiction of Parliament and the interpretation of those laws is the sole jurisdiction of the courts.
Trying to create a body that is higher than the courts or create a law without parliamentary approval is the first step towards anarchy. Our democracy is supposed to be above such arbitrary changes and our constitution was written by several hundred very, very learned men and they knew what they were doing.
In any case, the so-called 'civil society' is not willing to remain civil any longer. Anna Hazare has threatened the government with further agitation in the hope that he can blackmail the UPA into hurriedly passing his version of the Lokpal bill.
Let us hope our democratic institutions are not fractured so easily.
Text: Sify News desk, Agencies