Observing that the nation was at "cross-roads" in view of Anna Hazare's campaign, government today asked Parliament to consider the Gandhian's three key demands on Lokpal Bill within Constitutional framework and by preserving Parliament's supremacy.
Making identical statements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to form the basis for a debate, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the issues raised by Hazare are "important" and "genuine" which "deserve our serious consideration".
As Hazare's fast entered 12th day, Mukherjee said the situation was "moving out of hand" and "crisis" had been created as he asked lawmakers to "seize the moment and demonstrate the commitment" in dealing with corruption which is "gnawing at the vitals of our polity".
He said Parliament needed to discuss (i) whether the jurisdiction of the Lokpal should cover all employees of the Central government, (ii) whether it will be applicable through the institution of the Lok Ayukt in all states, and (iii) whether the Lokpal should have the power to punish all those who violate the 'grievance redressal mechanism' to be put in place.
These are the aspects that Hazare and his team are demanding to be included in the Lokpal Bill.
"In case a consensus emerges at the end of the discussions, the Standing Committee will, in the course of their deliberations, take into account their practicability, implementability and constitutionality.
"For, everything that we do, must be consistent with the principles enshrined within our Constitutional framework," Mukherjee said.
"We are the cross-roads, no doubt. An agitation is going on. All of us want this agitation to end," Mukherjee said.
"Please give your considered view on the issues raised. If these are resolved, perhaps it may be possible for Shri Anna Hazare to take a view. Let us have a discussion," the senior Congress leader said, asking MPs to "rise to the occasion."
Reminding the lawmakers that when they enter Parliament, they take oath to abide by the Constitution, he told them to "uphold the Constitution" and whatever they do, should be within the framework of Constitution.
Describing the debate as "one of the rare occasions when proceedings" of Parliament are drawing the attention of the entire nation and "perhaps outside also", Mukherjee said "the largest functional democracy of the world is at a very crucial stage and keeping that in view", there should be an "objective discussion".
Underlining the need for resolving the impasse in view of urgency of the matter, he urged the lawmakers to "try to find out a solution within the Constitutional framework without compromising the Parliamentary supremacy in the matter of legislature."
He asked members to give considered views on the issues like Team Hazare's demands for creation of a Lok Ayukta, Public Grievances and Citizen Charter and brining lower bureaucracy under Lokpal, urging them not to indulge in "trivialities".
Affirming government's keenness on having a strong anti-corruption law, he said, "If this House collectively leads to a process of consensus-building, we will be part of consensus-making and not consensus-breaking. We will like to go with the wishes of the House."