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New Delhi, Dec 26 : Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has warned that if basic principles were incorrectly applied, a Lokpal can potentially "destabilise the nation".
"I don't say there is no corruption in the country. But that does not mean that the basic philosophy (of the constitution) and due process should be thrown away in tackling it. If this happens, there is a problem. Not today, tomorrow any Lokpal can, if it wants to, destabilise the nation. It can," Ravi told IANS in an interview.
"I don't want to blame anybody, but some kind of maturity is necessary. Understand democracy. Understand balance.
"One judicial pronouncement (in 1975) disqualified Indira Gandhi, a sitting prime minister. This is not a joke. For a small, petty issue you disqualify the prime minister. It is almost like an army coup.
"I'm telling you it depends on individuals. Anyhow, I am for a Lokpal bill, but it should be reasonable," he added.
The minister's comments came ahead of a three-day fast Anna Hazare is launching in Mumbai Tuesday to demand what he says should be an effective Lokpal to check widespread corruption.
Asked how he felt about Team Anna's demand for the inclusion of the prime minister and the Central Bureau of Investigation within the Lokpal, Ravi countered: "My question is: Is there any scarcity of anti-corruption laws in India? Don't we have enough investigative agencies?"
"What if one were to act on some complaint, issue a notice without proper investigation or inquiry. The point is this parliament and system today is the product of the Indian constitution.
"The constitution is itself the product of the freedom struggle. It was written and approved by some of the most brilliant men of those days. They could foresee what could happen in the future."
Asked why the Jan Lokpal movement had gained popular traction, Ravi said: "I disagree with certain groups of people who say they can undo corruption through such a mechanism. I don't agree with that.
"These people do not constitute even 10 percent of the people of our country. They are saying, 'forget the constitution, forget parliament, we dictate, you agree'. Sorry, I don't agree to that kind of approach."
Asked if the idea wasn't germane to governance, he replied: "The whole attack is on the political class. I believe and I claim that you can count the number of corrupt leaders of the political class.
"Don't think that everybody is corrupt in the political class. No!"
- by K.G. Sreenivas - (can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)