Fears of the Trongsa contagion spreading may partly be laid to rest

Judiciary: Almost a week after the Trongsa dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) passed a resolution to hand over mediation and conciliation of civil cases to the judiciary, local leaders in Wangdue are requesting the judiciary to train all local leaders on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation and conciliation.

At the second day of the ongoing DT session, local leaders requested the judiciary to provide ADR training to tshogpas, and, if possible, to all local leaders, including gups and gewog administration officials.

Local leaders said that, since local people come with civil cases to the tshogpas first, the training would help tshogpas intervene and settle disputes amicably, as allowed by the law.

Gups said, until now, in most cases, mangmis mediate in disputes, as they were trained. “Without adequate legal knowledge, dispute resolution becomes a problem, especially in absence of mangmi,” a local leader said. “Therefore the training has become necessary.”

Local leaders said, with some basic training in dispute resolution, all local leaders could provide balanced mediation.  Civil cases, they said, are on the rise within communities.

According to section 297 of the local government rules and regulations, gewog tshogdu members can mediate and conciliate disputes of a civil nature, referred by the people in their chiwog, and forward unresolved issues to the mangmi.

Wangduephodrang drangpon, Passang Wangmo, said ADR training would be soon provided to tshogpas of Wangdue, along with Haa and Thimphu districts.  The training is tentatively scheduled to start next month.

The Daga gewog administrative officer said ADR helps eliminate minor disputes at local level saving people time and resources.

Today, people choose ADR mediation and conciliation over court for minor civil issues, as it provided them with a relaxed atmosphere and fast resolution, said another officer.

The Bhutan National Legal Institute (BNLI) started ADR in 2012.  In the same year, 205 mangmis across the country were trained.

Director of BNLI, Pema Wangchuk, said the president of BNLI, HRH Princess Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, wanted to take the service of justice to the remote communities and households, right up to their doorsteps, by training all local leaders.

To reinforce the skills of local leaders, 130 women local leaders, including tshogpas and mangmis, were trained.

He said there are more than 1,040 chiwogs and they have completed training 103 tshogpas of Zhemgang, Trongsa, Bumthang, Tsirang and Dagana in 2014.

The director said they would then train gups and provide refresher course for female leaders.  The trainings were provided, based on research and consultation with the local government.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue