NEW DELHI: While Anna Hazare on Thursday underlined the need to bring a law to empower gram sabhas that will be above Parliament, Team Anna members suggested setting up of a Referendum Commission on the lines of the Election Commission to seek the common man’s views in framing legislations.
In a video address to Team Anna’s seminar on ‘Rebuilding the Republic’ in the national capital, anti-corruption activist Hazare said people will have to be ready for a big agitation like the one that he headed seeking a Jan Lokpal Bill, if the government does not bring a law to empower village sabhas.
“The Lok Sabha thinks it is above the gram sabha—550 people think they are bigger than everybody else. This thinking is wrong,” said Hazare.
At the seminar, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said there is a need for changes in the Constitution to ensure peop­le’s direct participation in law making and framing policies.
“We need to have a Referendum Commission on the lines of Election Commission. If five per cent people approach the Commission asking for a law, then there should be referendum. You will have to ask people. The question is whether people wish to have a particular law,” he added.
Maintaining that holding such referendums would not be difficult, Bhushan said that the latest technology and the internet can be used for the referendum.
“Some ask whether people will understand big issues. People know many things. Their understanding on issues is better than that of our MPs and MLAs,” he said.
Referring to the process on important issues such as land acquisition or nuclear power plants, Bhushan said, “One cannot say that there is people’s participation is there in the law-making process on important issues such as land acquisition or nuclear power plants. Is it that the elected representatives will do whatever they want for the five years against the wishes of people?”
Activists B D Sharma, Vandana Shiva and Sandeep Pandey were among those who participated in the R-Day seminar.