29 Apr - 5 May 2016 #806

CIAA vs Dixit

Constitutional law expert Bipin Adhikari in BBC Nepali Service, 27 April

BBC: Many have accused the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) of overstepping its jurisdiction in Kanak Mani Dixit’s detention. Is it so?

Bipin Adhikari: If a person holding public office abuses his power, the CIAA can investigate the corruption charges against him. It is within its jurisdiction.

If so, why is the CIAA being criticised?

The CIAA is not a court, it is just an institution with a mandate to investigate corruption cases. It has to follow a due process, and there is concern that it failed to do so in Dixit’s case.

The CIAA is still investigating, but it has already made public the complaints against him. Is it legal?

If the unproved complaints are made public and the accused is later absolved of all charges, the damage done to his reputation cannot be compensated. 

The CIAA has said it had to arrest Dixit because the latter did not cooperate.

The CIAA can arrest a person who does not cooperate. But Dixit had moved the Supreme Court, claiming that the CIAA’s charge against him was an act of vengeance. And the court had ordered the anti-graft body to take action against Dixit only after collecting sufficient evidence. But the CIAA detained Dixit disregarding the apex court’s order. As a lawyer, I find Dixit’s stand logical.

As a constitution expert, do you find flaws in the two statements that the CIAA issued?

The second statement in English, in particular, is crude and ruthless. It exposes the CIAA’s negativity towards Dixit.

Dixit fought for democracy. But political leaders are silent even when he is not being allowed to meet his lawyers despite a Special Court order.

Perhaps they hadn’t seen the media reports. It is a person’s fundamental right to meet his lawyers and family members while in custody.

But his fundamental rights are being violated…

We have National Human Rights Commission and rights groups. We also have the Office of Attorney General. They should act if fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution are violated.