Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Ltd’s (RICBL) lawyer yesterday submitted to Thimphu dzongkhag civil court that the case its former executive director filed for his compulsory retirement be dismissed.

RICBL’s lawyer Phub Dorji argued that the former ED Sonam Dorji does not have locus standi to file a case against the corporation since he missed the 10-day appeal period after the board announced its decision.

Sonam Dorji took the RICBL’s board to court on February 9 for unlawfully sending him on retirement and not following due process.

The RICBL lawyer said that on July 6, 2017, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) asked RICBL to suspend him, which the board implemented from the next day. After completion of the investigation, the commission wrote to RICBL board to take administrative action against the plaintiff for administrative lapses.

The lawyer said that the board held three meetings where the plaintiff was given an opportunity to clarify his administrative lapses. The board found that Sonam Dorji had violated in particular section 12.2 of the Service Rules and Regulations 2016.

Before he was issued the compulsory retirement order on January 22, the plaintiff submitted voluntary resignation on January 18, 2018. On January 20, the board convened another meeting where it decided to compulsorily retire him, The lawyer said that the plaintiff accepted the administrative lapses.

“The board after taking into consideration the serious administrative lapses and alleged criminal charges against the ED decided to relieve him in line with the RICB Service Rules and Regulations 2016,” the lawyer said.

Sonam Dorji said that he didn’t even know the charges against him let alone accepting them. Sonam Dorji’s lawyer said that as per law, the plaintiff should have been informed of the charges and sought his justifications.

Sonam Dorji said that his presence at the meeting was mere formality to comply with his request to the board. He said that while the alleged offences took place before 2016, the Service Rules and Regulations 2009 should apply. “Under this rule, the alleged offences are minor offences but under the SRR 2016 these offences are categorised as major offences,” Sonam Dorji said.

The lawyer said that delayed handing taking of responsibilities by Sonam Dorji has caused serious problems in the daily functions of the company. “Therefore, we request the court to dismiss the case,” he said.

Sonam Dorji will rebut on March 19.

Tshering Palden