Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhag court has ordered a resident, Thinley Dorji, to surrender a 44,072sq. ft land with a Zangdopelri and two double storied buildings to Samdrupjongkhar thromde within two months. 

The June 19 judgment ordered the thromde to compensate Thinley Dorji with Nu 27,987,842.19 within two months. 

The compensation was as per Thinley Dorji’s claims for the expenses of constructing the Zangdopelri, two buildings, walls, a butter lamp house and land tax among others.

He filed a case against the thromde in 2015 after he received a notification from the National Land Commission (NLC) directing him to surrender the land to the thromde. 

The thromde then notified him to surrender the land in a month’s time after receiving the order from the NLC.

The notification from the NLC was in response to thromde’s investigation report submitted to the commission claiming that the land belonged to the state. 

The judgment stated that although Thinley Dorji claimed that the disputed land belonged to him, he also claimed that he built the Zangdopelri as per the special culture committee’s and the then Kidu lyonpo’s (home minister) order in 1980s. The court found that the order stated that after the construction of the Zangdopelri, an entrance gate, the caretaker’s house and walls, it would be handed over to the government. 

 “Thinley Dorji was asked to supervise the construction and there was nothing mentioned about giving him the land ownership,” the judgment stated.

It also stated that the certificate reflects Thinley Dorji as caretaker of the Zangdopelri and not as the owner. The judgment also stated that the then Samdrupjongkhar dzongdag in 1986, who was the thromde chairman, gave Thinley Dorji a certificate of land ownership of the land. “No officials are authorised to give government land as kidu, as it is the prerogative of His Majesty.”

Thinley Dorji claimed that he has owned the land for more than 30 years and nobody made an issue about it. 

The thromde submitted before the court that the doctrine of adverse possession only applies to the private; which means that if an individual inherits a private land, the ownership will be given to the one who has inherited the land after some 10 years if there is no one claiming the land.

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupjongkhar