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'Anna challenging the constitutional authority of Parliament', says Mukherjee

August 14, 2011 - Kolkata

With the wards of words between the government and the civil society activists escalating over Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike from August 16 over the Lokpal Bill issue, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday alleged that the social activist is challenging the constitutional authority of the Parliament, which is not acceptable.

"So far as the Constitution is concerned, it is the state authority to make laws and not a third authority. Nobody can be compelled that a law has to be drafted as per his or her desire. It is for Parliament to decide. And what Anna Hazare is doing is akin to challenging the constitutional authority of Parliament, which is not acceptable," Mukherjee told mediapersons In Kolkata.

"We have given a venue to Anna Hazare. It may or may not be liked by him. But the fact of the matter is there are certain places where we do not allow people to come and congregate like the Writers' Buildings and the Assembly where (Section) 144 is imposed," he added, when asked about the restrictions imposed by the Delhi Police.

Commenting on the government's stand with regard to Hazare's stir, Mukherjee further said: "We shall have to keep in mind that in indefinite hunger strike, the legal connotation of which I do not know, nobody in our society as per our law is allowed to commit suicide. It is the responsibility of the administration to look into these aspects."

Hazare had on Saturday accused the government of betraying the nation's trust by imposing restrictions on his fast and had asked the Prime Minister to intervene.

Delhi Police has asked Hazare to submit an undertaking that the agitation would be limited to three days and that not more than 4,000-5,000 people would assemble at the Jayaprakash Narayan Park, venue of the protest.

The police also made it clear that they would not give permission for Hazare"s agitation until he gave an undertaking on 22 counts.

Team Anna has termed the Delhi Police's restrictions as "unacceptable" and "unconstitutional".


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