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Sunday, August 21, 2011

ANNA HAZARE ARREST: Government failed to read people’s mood - By Soli J Sorabjee!

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Anna Hazare’s arrest last Tuesday was legally untenable and politically a gigantic folly. It has made him an icon and generated a tremendous wave of support for him throughout the country and also internationally. Annaji was arrested as he came out of his residence in the morning by policemen in plain clothes who swooped down on him and spirited him away. Annaji had not breached any prohibitory order imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) nor had he committed any offence. The justification offered by the police is that Annaji had said he would be proceeding to J P Park, where a prohibitory order was issued, to begin his fast and therefore the arrest was made under Section 107 read with Section 151 of the CrPC to prevent the commission of an offence.

A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan has recently explained the rationale of these provisions. The court ruled that the power of preventive arrest is to be exercised only when there is imminent danger to peace or likelihood of breach of peace, and arrest should be made only when the apprehended commission of offence cannot be otherwise prevented. The court concluded that “if arrest is made without fulfilling these conditions, the arresting authority may be exposed to proceedings under the law for violating the fundamental rights inherent in Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution”. In Annaji’s case, none of these conditions was fulfilled. His arrest violated his fundamental right to personal liberty under Article 21 and was unconstitutional.

Moreover, his arrest betrayed total miscalculation on the part of the government and proved to be immensely counterproductive. People who were critical of the Jan Lokpal Bill and Annaji’s ultimatum of going on an indefinite fast rallied round and spoke with one voice in his support. The support was spontaneous and emanated from different segments of our people—lawyers, doctors, public figures, housewives, teachers, students, cab drivers, rickshaw walas, dabba walas et al. It is absurd to suggest that some foreign power or the RSS is behind the movement. The unifying factor is disgust with corruption coupled with admiration for Annaji. The Congress government’s attempt to denigrate Annaji through its spokesperson Manish Tewari, who maligned him as being corrupt from top to toe and described his associates as neo-fascist and Maoists, miserably back-fired which establishes that the Government completely failed to read the mood of the people. This is a dangerous symptom for any democratic government which is supposed to be run by the people and for the people.

Full Article at,

Works of Soli J Sorabjee:-

Soli J Sorabjee (Hardcover)

The emergency, censorship and the press in India, 1975-77
Soli J Sorabjee (Paperback)

03) How to Be Happy: Despite Failures & Frustrations
Soli J. Sorabjee (Paperback - Dec 31, 2010)
How to Be Happy: Despite Failures & Frustrations
04) IIC Quarterly Summer 2002
Soli J. Sorabjee (Paperback)
IIC Quarterly Summer 2002

Soli J Sorabjee (Paperback)

Soli J Sorabjee (Paperback)

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