Arrested under a draconian anti-corruption act, which gives the Commission for the Investigation Abuse of Authority (CIAA) unlimited powers to put any citizen behind the bar, noted journalist Kanak Mani Dixit was finally released under an order of the Supreme Court.
After the release, journalist Dixit was freed from detention. However, the provisions in the draconian act are such that CIAA can choose and pick any citizen for investigation. As journalist Dixit fought for individual freedom, he needs to continue his struggle against the misuse of unaccountable powers against individuals.
The Supreme Court ordered the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to release noted journalist and Sajha Yatayat Chairman Kanak Mani Dixit.
Responding to a habeas corpus petition filed by Dixit's wife Shanta, a division bench of the Acting Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justice Jagadish Sharma Paudel scrapped the Special Court's decision to remand Dixit to a 10-day judicial custody.
The apex court stated that the Special Court's order to remand Dixit did not mention the jurisdiction and purpose of the investigation and did not care whether the investigation was satisfactory or not. The apex court ordered that Dixit be released unless there are other cases or reasons to arrest him.
The division bench also ordered the CIAA to investigate and prosecute Dixit in the corruption case while releasing him.
Dixit's spouse Shanta had registered the petition at the apex court claiming that the arrest was illegal. She had named the CIAA and the Special Court as defendants.
The Special Court on April 24 had remanded Dixit to a 10-day judicial custody. Dixit was arrested on April 22 on the charge of amassing property through illegal means.
Earlier, in a writ petition filed by Dixit against the CIAA's investigation against him, a division bench of the then Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha and Justice Om Prakash Mishra on January 5 had reminded the anti-graft body that no action should be taken against anyone without mentioning the jurisdiction and purpose in line with the existing laws.
Though the bench had denied issuing an interim order against the CIAA's investigation into Dixit's property, it had asked the CIAA to mention its jurisdiction and purpose of any action it takes against anyone. Had the court earlier issued the interim order, the investigation authority would not have violated its limits.
Although the CIAA had said that it started the investigation against Dixit last year after a large number of complaints were filed against him claiming that he had misused his authority as chairman of Sajha Yatayat for illegally amassing property, journalists had demanded his release criticizing the CIAA's action.
They argued that it was an action of the CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki motivated by vengeance since Dixit had led street protests against Karki's appointment at the constitutional body.
As long as any investigative institution like CIAA has enormous powers, citizens like Dixit will have the individual freedom always under threat. As Lord Acton said Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Absolute power is always a threat to human liberty.