The Supreme Court of Bhutan suspended two justices for what the highest appellate court has deemed a deliberate miscarriage of justice.  Within hours of the decision—which went viral on social media—many are pointing out several cases that should be re-opened, with the hope that decisions could be reversed or to determine if miscarriages happened. 

The common feedback is that the Supreme Court made a bold decision. While it was not the intention, suspending two justices of a High Court is indeed an unprecedented move. Justices are not above the law.  A Supreme Court’s press release states that the decision was a testament to their commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness.

The public reaction, calling the suspension too lenient a “justice” deserves some reflection amidst the feelings that there is the possibility of decisions changing at different levels of the judiciary. The perceived miscarriage of justice may be an isolated case, but it happened at a time when many in our society, for whatever reasons, feel wronged by those entrusted to deliver justice. 

Our judiciary system allows litigants to exhaust all means to ensure justice. That is why even a petty case can be taken up to  as high as at the Supreme Court. There are suspicions that judges and courts are influenced or are used by the wealthy or influential personalities. If this is a grievance of those on the losing side, the frequent change in judgments between lower and higher courts fuels suspicions.

The public is relishing in, going by social media posts, the suspension of the justices. Will it restore confidence in the judiciary? It should, or at least send a message that justices too can be tried and punished. This is good, particularly, in a society where the loser always complains of being wronged. 

If the online or offline discussions following the press release is truly debated, there could be many reversals. In the current case, the Supreme Court was convinced of collusion in reversing the decision of the lower court that pronounced severe punishment. 

According to the press release, the case was reopened when the “Transformation and Assessment” exercise reassessed and reviewed controversial cases the Grievance Cell of the judiciary received.  It was a serious complaint of collusion among judges, the Attorney General and the litigant (son of a Kuensel journalist), that were worth revisiting. 

Many feel that cases should be re-assessed with or without a transformation exercise if it reaches the Grievance Cell of the judiciary. 

In a society where winners always believe that they were right and losers always claim unfairness, the decision of the Supreme Court serves as a stern reminder to both entrusted to dispensing justice and others trying to influence or misuse the loopholes of the system, to respect the law.