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Unrepresentative Voices on the Lokpal

The "civil society" initiative on the Lokpal arrogates to itself the power to decide on the shape of the institution.

We are faced with the demand of a few individuals, called “civil society” by the press, for a “strong” Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed in the monsoon session of Parliament. First, it is important to note that what the media refers to as Team Anna represents no one but themselves. Calling themselves “civil society” does not give them the right to represent the Indian citizen. Since they claim to do so, and claim to do so better than elected Members of Parliament, it has become important to reiterate this point. That there is sympathy for the cause – a fight against corruption – does not alter this basic fact.

Ours is a representative democracy, and bills must originate in Parliament. Bypassing Parliament and contempt for elected representatives – however well deserved it may be in individual cases – is destructive of the institution of representative democracy. Unlike Team Anna, these are people who have been elected to hold office. They have been elected by us. And we can vote them out next time if we choose. We have no such relationship with Team Anna.

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