Where’s Justice?

Exactly one month ago, I called on the Royal Civil Service Commission requesting them to reverse their decision to terminate (without retirement benefits) seven education officials from their jobs. The basis of my request was that the RCSC had violated Section 10.2 of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2006.

Section 10.2 declares that: “Only one penalty shall be imposed in each case.”

I haven’t heard from the RCSC yet. But in the meantime, I’ve learnt about another case, this time involving three officials of the Paro NIE.

They too had been caught “adjusting” their accounts, supposedly to meet workshop expenses. They were penalized. Then they were taken to court. And after the court’s verdict, the RCSC reinstated all three of them in their earlier jobs.

One of them decided to resign. He applied for, and received his retirement benefits.

The other two decided to continue in their jobs. But the RCSC reversed their earlier decision and terminated them both. They didn’t receive their retirement benefits.

Where is Section 10.2? Where is justice?

This is their story: [Continue Reading…]

Supremacy of law

Every now and then a reader will leave a comment that is completely unrelated to and has nothing to do with a topic being discussed. This is okay. After all, one should be allowed to raise important issues even though they are not being discussed here. So I try to acknowledge these out-of-the-blue comments.

Deo recently made one such comment. This is what deo wrote in CDG unconstitutional: “OL, since you seem to have an opinion on everything, and has become a self-appointed legal expert, what is your take on the Jemina case? In your opinion, who is correct – ACC or high court? Both cannot be right.”

I can’t say that I have an opinion on everything. But I do admit to having opinions on some things, including issues concerning the law though I’m no legal expert. And I hope that my opinions matter, even if you disagree with them. As far as your opinions are concerned – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – I take them seriously. They matter.

Now about the Bjemina case: who’s correct, ACC or High Court? The High Court, without a doubt. After all, our courts are the supreme authority to interpret and apply the laws of our land. We may not agree with their interpretation, but we are bound to accept them. That is what the rule of law is about.

Article 21.1 of the Constitution: The Judiciary shall safeguard, uphold, and administer Justice fairly and independently without fear, favour, or undue delay in accordance with the Rule of Law to inspire trust and confidence and to enhance access to Justice.

So as long as the High Court is faithful to the Constitution – and as far as I know, we have no reason to doubt that – we must accept that they are correct. And that their interpretation of the law prevails over everybody else’s.

But what if our courts, guardians of the law, themselves choose to deliberately ignore the law? Or break the law? Article 32 of the Constitution outlines the procedure to impeach the Chief Justices and Drangpons of the Supreme Court and the High Court.

Back to the Bjemina case: I don’t know the details of the case, and I haven’t studied the relevant laws. So my trust and confidence in the Judiciary instinctively makes me believe that they are correct. But I suspect that Deo feels otherwise. It would be good to know why.