Construction of court buildings has been an integral part of reforms in the judiciary

Judiciary: Signifying that infrastructure is vital for the delivery of justice, the newly constructed dungkhag court in Dorokha, Samtse was inaugurated on July 25.

Constructed at a cost of Nu 13.9 million (M), this is the first dungkhag court built with support from the government of Austria.  The government of Austria has supported in constructing the district court buildings of Trongsa, Bumthang, Tsirang, Dagana and Zhemgang.

The Austrian government supported the project with Nu 10M while the government spent Nu 3.9M.

Resident Coordinator of Austrian Development Agency  (ADA), Christine A Jantscher said during the inauguration that the new court building signifies the commitment of Austria and Bhutan in promoting, enabling and guaranteeing equal access to justice across the country.

“However, we need not forget that a building is only the exterior, the mantle,” she said. “It will be the judges and the people who will work in this building who have to turn it into a place where Bhutanese, particularly the poor and vulnerable will find open doors where their trust in an efficient and impartial justice system will be strengthened.”

The Dungkhag court’s construction was completed in a year after works began on May 25 last year.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk thanked the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) for supporting the project and said that the ADA has been the most generous in helping the judiciary to play its designated role in a democratic constitutional monarchy.

The construction of courts has been an integral part of the reforms within the judiciary, he said.

Save for four dungkhags of Weringla in Mongar, Sakteng in Trashigang, Sombaykha in Haa and Lingzhi in Thimphu and the  seven districts of Thimphu, Haa, Paro, Chukha, Sarpang, Gasa and Trashiyangtse the rest of the dungkhags and dzongkhags have their court buildings today.

Constructions of district courts are underway in Punakha and Wangdue.

Delivery of justice requires institutional building and the architectural magnificence and modern facilities, the Chief Justice said, must and will uphold the majesty of law and put the delivery of justice on a pedestal.

“Construction of court buildings is an investment in the delivery of justice,” he said. “The atmosphere of the building must invoke respect and remind judges of their sacred responsibilities, that  – it is equally important to exonerate an innocent man, as it is to convict a guilty person.”

The Chief justice said that a visible modern court building would inspire trust and confidence of the people- and to serve as an omnipresent manifestation of rule of law and justice.

By Sonam Pelden