Published On: January 6, 2023 08:35 AM NPT By: Akhilesh Tripathi
KATHMANDU, Jan 6: The Supreme Court has asked the government why it shouldn’t scrap the legal provision that prevents the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the constitutional anti-corruption watchdog, from investigating the policy decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.
Holding initial hearing on a writ petition filed by a group of lawyers including Advocate Raju Prasad Chapagai, the constitutional bench of the apex court has asked why Section 4(b) of the Commission for the Investigation into Abuse of Authority Act 1991 that is said to contravene the Constitution of the country should not be scrapped.
The apex court has asked the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, CIAA, Office of the Attorney General and the National Human Rights Commission to furnish a written response to the question. The constitutional bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki and Justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Dr Anand Mohan Bhattarai. Prakash Raut and Spana Pradhan Malla issued the ‘show cause’ notice.
Section 4(b) of the CIAA Act 1991 states, “The Commission, pursuant to the Act, shall not take any action in matters relating to any business or decisions taken at meetings of any House of Parliament or of any committee or anything said or done by any member at such meetings, or any policy decisions taken by the Council of Ministers or any committee thereof or judicial actions of a court of law.”
“We filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking an order to scrap this provision in the CIAA Act that provides immunity to corruption in the name of “policy decision” by the Council of Ministers. This provision has been largely misused and, as a result, many decisions that should be taken at a lower level reach the Cabinet and corruption gets immunity in the name of policy decisions of the Council of Ministers,” Chapagai told Republica.
In the writ petition, the petitioners have claimed that though the legal provision of preventing a CIAA probe into decisions taken by parliament and courts sounds alright, it is arbitrary to provide legal immunity to the decisions taken by the cabinet or any other committee thereof.
“The CIAA should be allowed to investigate cabinet decisions. The provision of the CIAA Act that prevents CIAA probe into cabinet decisions must be scrapped as it is against the constitution,” Chapagai told Republica.
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