Judiciary confirms immediate removal of two High Court Judges

The Judiciary has confirmed the immediate removal of two High Court judges, Pema Rinzin and Tshering Dorji, who were involved in a case of deliberate miscarriage of justice. According to the Supreme Court’s news release issued today, the dishonest actions by the two justices led to the High Court overturning the Thimphu District Court’s judgment that sentenced defendants Thinlay Norbu and Tandin Penjor to five years in prison.

In August this year, the Judiciary suspended the two justices for overturning a judgment on a drug smuggling and possession case.

The issue came into the limelight after the Judiciary received complaints of collusion.

The Supreme Court news release states that the two justices willfully ignored crucial evidence against one of the defendants, Thinlay Norbu.

The justices disregarded the statements by Tandin Penjor, Kinlay Lhendrup, and Jigme Samdrup regarding the supply of SP+ capsules and tablets, and bank transactions among others were ignored.

The news release states that despite the evidence, the justices altered the charge of “illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances” to a lesser charge of “offence of substance abuse” as defendant Thinlay Norbu tested positive for SP+.

The justices also initiated trials to divide the 44 capsules of SP+ among four individuals to reduce the sentencing from felony to a misdemeanour.

According to the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act defendants are not guilty of a felony offence, if the possession of drugs is less than 20 capsules.

According to the news release, these dishonest actions of the justices emerged in a close association with the former Attorney General, Lungten Dubgyur, and the father of one of the defendants.

In an earlier news release, the Supreme Court stated that although the Office of the Attorney General normally appeals against such total reversal of judgments, the office did not appeal to the Supreme Court in this particular case.

The Attorney General was removed from office, recently.

As the AG and the two justices were removed from office, they will not be entitled to retirement benefits as per the Entitlement and Service Conditions Act for the Holders, Members and Commissioners of Constitutional Offices of Bhutan, 2010. Meanwhile, the news release also states that there is no scope for further investigation or legal proceedings regarding the case.

Kinzang Lhadon

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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