Thinley Namgay  

The High Court (HC) upheld Phuentsholing Drungkhag Court’s judgment on a forged medical prescription case between a Phuentsholing-based businessman and two other men including a pharmacy operator.      

The HC stated that the case does not fulfill the element of forgery. The court ruled it as deception stating that Karma Wangdi, a pharmacy operator, had signed on the medical OPD card with his name but didn’t sign on the doctor’s seal.  

Phuntsho Wangdi said he wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.    

Phuntsho Wangdi sued Dendup Choejur at the Phuentsholing Drungkhag Court for failing to return his money. The fourth court hearing was scheduled on June 6, 2022. However, a few days before the scheduled date, Dendup Choejur informed the court that he was unable to attend the hearing due to medical reasons. The court considered his request on the condition that he submit a medical report as soon as he was fit to attend. 

Phuntsho Wangdi alleged that the opponent submitted a medical prescription from Phuentsholing hospital dated June 3, 2022, which did not recommend medical rest, apart from prescribing some general medicines. 

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the prescription form dated June 3, 2022, was issued by the hospital, but the writing and signature on the form were not those of the concerned doctor. The hospital later confirmed that it was prescribed by Karma Wangdi, a former health assistant of the hospital who currently operates a medical shop in Phuentsholing town.  

On July 13, 2022, Phuntsho Wangdi filed a case against Dendup Choejur, alleging forgery and deception of the judiciary and the hospital. The court ordered the police to investigate, but the police reported that there was no element of crime.  

On July 21, 2022, the police informed the court that Dendup Choejur had undergone surgery for appendicitis in 2021 and had visited Phuentsholing hospital on June 3, 2022, due to severe stomach pain.  

According to police, Dendup Choejur obtained a prescription form from the hospital’s reception counter and was advised to wait outside the doctor’s chamber. However, due to prolonged wait and intense pain, Dendup Choejur sought assistance from Karma Wangdi’s medical shop and used the hospital’s prescription form.   

The police maintained that Karma prescribed some medicines on the hospital’s form in an emergency, without closely examining the situation. Police asserted that it was not intentional. Based on the police report, the court declared Dendup Choejur innocent, finding no evidence of wrongdoing. 

However, on August 2, 2022, Phuntsho Wangdi lodged a complaint with the Chief of Police, alleging a miscarriage of justice by the officer-in-charge of Phuentsholing in the criminal investigation, despite the submission of compelling evidence.  

In his complaint, Phuntsho Wangdi stated that the police, as protectors of the law, had disregarded the criminal evidence presented. 

He informed the chief of police that he had also submitted the same prescription, as confirmed by the chief medical officer of the hospital, which indicated that the concerned doctor had not issued it. 

Following the complaint, the Chief of Police instructed the Phuentsholing police to reinvestigate. Subsequently, the police filed charges in court. The court registered the case on September 15, 2022. 

In April this year, the Phuentsholing Drungkhag Court passed a compoundable prison term of one month each to Dendup Choejur and Karma Wangdi, which is equivalent to Nu 3,750.  The Drungkhag Court declared it as a misdemeanour.   

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Phuntsho Wangdi appealed to the Chukha Dzongkhag Court seeking harsher punishment for defendants. However, the court dismissed the case citing that Phuntsho Wangdi doesn’t have the right to appeal as the prosecutor was the police.      

Phuntsho Wangdi then appealed to the HC in June against Dendup Choejur, Karma Wangdi, and the police.  

Phuntsho Wangdi submitted to the HC stating his dissatisfaction with the ruling of the dzongkhag court. He also mentioned that the action of the defendants was a disrespect to the judiciary.