English | Dzongkha Thursday, March 4, 2021

OAG to fast-track cases related to breach of lockdown protocols

Jan 8, 2021

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will fast-track the prosecutions of the cases related to the breach of lockdown protocols. Defaulters would be charged under two sections of the Penal Code of Bhutan with non-compoundable prison terms.  

According to the OAG, they will charge the defaulters with Criminal Nuisance under Section 410, and the Breach of Public Order and Tranquility under Section 448 of the Penal Code of Bhutan.

~Section 410

A person shall be guilty of the offense of criminal nuisance if the defendant knowingly or recklessly creates or maintains and condition that includes spreading of a dangerous disease that injures or endangers the safety or health of the public. 

~Section 448 

A person shall be guilty of the offense of breach of public order and tranquility if the defendant purposely fails to abide by the orders of the government, issued in the interest of public safety, public order, and tranquility. 

Compared to the first lockdown in August 2020, cases related to the breach of lockdown protocols are less during the second lockdown. The first lockdown recorded 139 cases involving 239 people of which most cases were recorded in the Southern districts. Of them, the courts passed judgment on 75 cases with various charges and most are serving prison terms. While 57 cases are pending in courts, four cases are still under review.

According to the OAG, judgments for the remaining cases were delayed by the lockdown. 

During the second lockdown, 45 cases involving 122 people were recorded till 5th January 2021. Of it, 33 cases involving 80 people were reported in Thimphu alone. The OAG will prosecute the cases within the shortest period possible.

We will begin the prosecution of the cases right after the lockdown and will ensure that each case is resolved within three working days,” said Lungten Dubgyur, the Attorney General. 

The OAG is also requesting the judiciary to consider the offenses under the fourth-degree felony with non-compoundable prison terms. He added, ”upon our pleas, the judiciary is imposing quarantine, treatment, and other expenses as well on the violators.”

As per the Penal Code, ”a defendant convicted of a felony of the fourth degree shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a minimum of which shall be three years and a maximum of which shall be five years.”

Tshering Dendup

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