A call for change

Judiciary and judicial system of the country have been on the limelight these past few months. Our society is changing, and changing rapidly. We no longer are a safely cocooned little nation at peace with itself. We have thrown ourselves to the wide world. We have in our hands today powerful tools like social media. We are more vocal today than we could ever be in the past.

Societal change, otherwise called development, is complex. It demands of people and their government to keep up with the pace. As our society becomes more open and complex, our institutions and governance system should aspire to be more independent, fair and efficient.

In Paro yesterday, Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck reminded the participants of the three-day training on judicial integrity and ethics for drungkhag drangpons and registrars that if judiciary loses its credibility, it would be extremely difficult to restore it. Calling for change, HRH said that lack of trust and confidence between officials, diminishing respect and faith in colleagues and lack of accountability and transparency in the organisations, among others, are some of the biggest challenges confronting the institutions.

“Because judiciary’s purpose, principles and functions are the corner stone of the nation, judicial officials’ integrity and ethics are imperative,” HRH said.

At the heart of a healthy, happy and peaceful society lies good governance. That’s why we have good governance as one of the pillars of our development philosophy Gross National Happiness.

It isn’t a fair bet, however, that we could have good governance without fostering institutional credibility.  Rule of law is the bedrock of our democracy. That’s why judiciary, of all the institutions, has a special mandate to be fair, independent and incorruptible.

It is not very hard to understand what Dwight D Eisenhower meant when he said peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.

This is a call for us all to look deep inside ourselves and to commit towards working together with trust and respect for each other. It is a call for us to foster integrity because we are the guardians of our rights. Only then will there be good governance.

A runaway judiciary is the last thing we can have. The message is loud and clear.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    It’s actually very interesting that the post starts with two separate things, judiciary and a judicial system. And I am calling it separate as judiciary alone can’t always ensure a proper and legally balanced judicial system contributing to overall good governance in a democracy.

    In judiciary, the courts or legal benches usually remain highly independent. One can identify the vertical structure within the judiciary only when we move from the Lower Courts to the Higher Courts and finally to the Supreme Court. What keeps this entire structure flat and balanced is the fact that laws and rules remain same for everyone in each and every court we consider. Probably only the rules to better judgement delivery changes a bit as we move from the bottom to the top within judiciary.

    And that’s very much expected especially when we have the system of legally challenging a judgement at a higher court through an appeal with the Supreme Court being the highest authority of judiciary in a country.

    But a mention of judicial system will also include two other pillars of the lawyers and the law and order enforcing bodies. The law and order enforcement bodies usually have tall vertical structures. While lawyers are either professionally a flat structure of independent practitioners or we have organised structures with short verticals. And these two very independent pillars of a judicial system needs to deliver the maximum at the bottom of the structure of the judiciary where we usually have the lower courts.

    So if we can consider judiciary a three pillar judicial system, the other two pillars must have the structure which is optimised in way to deliver the most to the structure of judiciary alone from courts to courts. And in my opinion, any failure or inefficiency here can end up making judiciary a runaway judicial system.

    Organisational structures are always about dealing with development, growth and management of human resources. The officials of judiciary or the judges and the lawyers and the police are all three different professions. And somewhere they also are equally responsible in ensuring the enforcement of the same rule of law for the best of governance. Imbalances may only happen when the system as a whole is not independent, but only a key pillar or arm of the same system is made totally independent.

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