Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

Eight in the morning, June 15: Rinchen Dem, 69, is heading from Ritsa, Punakha to Wangdue. The distance she has to cover is 26 kilometres, just to fetch a legal document.

She must report to the court at 9am. The case concern issues with farm road. However, she is late by an hour.

“I had to go to Wangdue because there isn’t any legal service provider near the court or in Punakha,” Rinchen Dem said.

For the people of Punakha, the location of the dzongkhag court, located in Guma gewog—2km away from the dzong—is a problem.

Rinchen Dem said that she had to pay Nu 400 to reach the court if she didn’t find anyone to share the cab.

And for her return journey, she has to call another cab and the fare is Nu 800.

According to a dzongkhag court official, a legal service provider was provided a space at the Guma gewog office in mid-2018. However, the business was closed as there weren’t any persons to avail the service.

In addition to lacking a legal service provider, the court doesn’t have any restaurants nearby.

“Without any restaurants and shops around, it is very difficult. I usually pack my lunch,” Rinchen Dem, said.

The court was inaugurated in 2017. Until then, the judicial officials provided services from the dzong.

According to a dzongkhag court official, land wasn’t available anywhere near the dzong to construct the court.

He added that people had denied help when the administration sought an appropriate land for the new court.

While the officials are aware of the concern, they have not received any written complaints as of today.

The dzongkhag court rendered over 1,500 judicial services in 2019.

The Nu 46 million-court was supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Austrian Development Cooperation.