Dechen Dolkar

After the stabbing case at the Supreme Court recently, five police officers and five police personnel have been held accountable.

The actions were taken as per the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) rules.

As punishment, they were transferred and they have lost their seniority.

It was pointed out that the lapses were from both the police as well as the judiciary.

The Deputy Chief of Police, Crime and Operations, Colonel Pasang Dorji, said that five officers and five personnel were punished for failure to perform their duty and for lapses.

He said that the direct lapses are on personnel on duty;  officers are also accountable because it was their duty to put a system and procedure in place.

He said that all responsible people are made liable as per their internal rules.

However, he said that it was not only the responsibility of the RBP but also of the judiciary.

“The proper handing-taking of the convicted person was not done. The judiciary people have to hand over the convicted person to the security personnel after the judgment is passed,” Colonel Pasang Dorji said.

It was learnt that after the judgment was passed, the sentencing order was also not issued. 

The Supreme Court’s registrar general, Gyembo Dorji, said that they have not decided anything on the accountability of the sitting judges on that particular day.

Colonel Pasang Dorji said that though there is CCTV in the court, it was not handed over to the police and, on that particular day, CCTV was not working.

During the incident, the two divisions, the security and Thimphu police division, were involved.

The police personnel who usually are inside the court are security personnel and the police waiting outside to take the convicted person are from Thimphu division.

Thimphu police division reached late on that particular day.

According to international practice, every court must have a detention room for safety reasons.

“In the Supreme Court, there is no detention room. The court should have procedures in place,” Colonel Pasang Dorji said.

He also pointed out that at the district court the police personnel will be on duty till the judgment is out in criminal cases.

He said that but there are some cases where the convicts appeal to the higher court and the higher court grants them bail and the police are not involved. “This case was severe and there was a risk.”

He said the information the police received was that there is going to be a judgment on the case.

According to the civil and criminal procedure code of Bhutan, under chapter 41, section 199.2, in making the determination of whether to grant bail and bail amounts, the court will consider the severity of the charges, suspect’s past criminal record, likelihood of flight, potential threat posed to civil society, suspect’s age and physical or mental health condition and views of the victim or aggrieved person.

Two officers and three police personnel were from the security division and three officers and two police personnel were from the Thimphu division.