Court asks litigants to seek mediation unit service in a civil case

Nim Dorji | Trongsa

Trongsa dzongkhag court has asked the 10 staff of the College of Language and Cultural Studies in Taktse, who were compulsorily retired after sexual harassment case surfaced in May last year and has filed case against the college and Royal University of Bhutan to settle the case out of court.

The court gave the option to settle the case in mediation unit established recently through Bhutan National Legal Institute’s initiative.

The three lecturers, who are charged for alleged sexual harassment of students, six lecturers and a staff who were compulsorily resigned but not charged to court by police and Office of the Attorney General has requested the court to make the college management and RUB compensate them for not following due process of law.

While the seven staff filed the case against the college management and RUB in November last year, the three lecturers filed a petition as a separate civil case for compensation on January 13 when the court conducted hearing for the seven staff.

Their main argument was that they were wrongfully charged and dismissed unfairly.

The legal representative of the seven staff requested the court to revoke the termination orders issued by the college and the RUB and reinstate them.

The three lecturers, in their petition, cited section 25.8.2 of the Human Resource Rules and Regulation (HRRR) 2017 of RUB and submitted that they were not given an opportunity for clarification and were directly terminated.

The section states that the disciplinary committee, when convinced that a prima facie case exists, shall notify the respondent staff in writing of the administrative charge(s) and require the staff to answer the charge within 30 days they receive the notification.

They submitted that the college and RUB did not follow section 15.9.5 of the HRRR by collecting evidence without following the Evidence Act of Bhutan.

The section states that the Evidence Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2005 shall govern evidence of the case.

They also cited Article 7 (1) of the Constitution and requested the court to provide justice for the college president and management’s power abuse and bias.

All the lecturers and the staff accused that the authorities had acted on their assumptions, biases, rumours, and conspiracy by the college’s president.

Meanwhile, if parties do not want to mediate outside the court, the next hearing will be held on January 30.

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