Thinley Namgay

In a first-of-its-kind case, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) for criminal nuisance after a rusted electric pole in Changjiji housing colony collapsed injuring a woman in April this year.

In the charges submitted to Thimphu dzongkhag court on September 8, OAG also asked the Court to make NHDCL pay Nu 4.23 million (M) as compensation to the 58-year-old victim.

Although there were no details, OAG submitted that it was not the first case in Changjiji.

Of the Nu 4.23M compensation, OAG submitted that Nu 450,000 was for making the woman incapable of working. The amount was calculated as 10 years of national wage rate.

According to OAG, Nu 180,879 was for medical expenses incurred for her after the incident. “Nu 3.6M was for the loss of her earning capacity,” the charges stated. “As per the National Statistics Bureau, the life expectancy of women is 73 years.”

It also stated the 58-year-old victim earned about Nu 240,000 in a year through weaving. She is now on a wheel chair as her head and leg were severely injured in the accident.

As per the OAG, NHDCL has to be accountable for not carrying out timely maintenance of electric poles and lacking concrete foundation for the poles despite their mandate.

The OAG stated that the poles have become rustic.

Meanwhile, OAG’s charges come at a time when the National Council has proposed a Civil Liability or Torts Act.

NC stated that about 16 mishaps occurred in the recent past but no accountability was held.

In the woman’s case, a video clip of the accident went viral on social media a week after the incident. Police investigated the case and forwarded it to OAG for prosecution.

Edited by Tashi Dema