English | Dzongkha Friday, August 17, 2018

High Court dismisses Wangdue NC candidate’s petition

Changa Dorji, Thimphu
May 23, 2018

The High Court dismissed the petition submitted by Wangdue Phodrang National Council candidate Passang Thrinlee against NC elect Chairperson Tashi Dorji yesterday.

The court stated Passang Thrinlee has not submitted the petition as per the Election Act and Election Dispute Settlement Rules and Regulation of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

According to the election act and election dispute settlement rules, any election related petitions must be first put up to the Dzongkhag Election Dispute Settlement Committee.

If the parties are not happy with the decision taken by the dzongkhag committee, they can then appeal to the Central Election Dispute Settlement Body within five days.

The Central Election Dispute Settlement Body has to come out with a decision within five days and if the parties are still happy with its decision, the next step is to appeal to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

If the parties are still not happy with the decision made by the CEC, only then can they appeal to a court.

The High Court said candidate Passang Thrinlee has bypassed these procedures by directing appealing to the court. The court added the case is also being dismissed as per the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan.

National Council candidate Passang Thrinlee filed the petition early this month in which he stated the National Council election in Wangdue Phodrang was not free and fair. He accused NC elected Chairperson Tashi Dorji of several unlawful practices, which he said, undermined the fairness of the election.

But last week, in a four-page rebuttal, Tashi Dorji refuted all allegations. He said neither has he given permission to Gase Tshogongm Gup and Tshogpa to be at the polling station to help him, nor did they do him any election favours, as alleged by Passang Thrinlee. 

He also denied having deployed representatives during the election.

On the allegation concerning soelra given to Richending public, NC Chairperson elect Tashi Dorji said he was invited as Chief Guest by the public of Rinchengang at a local ritual ceremony on the last day of his constituency visit where he gave Nu 10,000 as soelra to the gathering. The amount, he said, was from the discretionary allowance.

As for the issue of Bolero vehicle given to Rada Phenday Tshogpa and Manjushree statues to 15 gewogs in 2013, Tashi Dorji argued the Dzongkhag Election Dispute Settlement Committee had cleared him of all charges.

The election commission’s legal officer, who represented ECB at last week’s rebuttal hearing, confirmed the Gup of Gase Tshogongm had not stayed at the polling station the entire day as alleged by Passang Thrinlee.

As for the Tshogpa, the legal officer said, he was at the polling station to help election officials as per instructions from his superior. He added the election officials required help since the polling station was located in a remote place.

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