Legal: The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal case involving millions of Ngultrums between an individual, Penjore, and the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) yesterday.

The three Supreme Court justices reviewed the case and discovered that the arguments in the petition were the same as those of the previous case between the two parties that the court had passed its verdict on.

The Civil and Criminal Procedure Code section 115 on Res-judicata states, “Person shall not be entitled to file a subsequent suit if the cause of action or claims involved in it are same as prior suit on which there was a valid and final judgment on that cause of action based on the merits”.

Supreme Court justice Rinzin Penjor at the hearing yesterday said that the court did not find reasons to change the decisions of the lower courts. The lower courts had dismissed the case.

Penjore said he was dissatisfied with the decision. He argued that the present case is different. The businessman from Paro asked the Supreme Court to look at legal issues with the bank’s dealings and how it allegedly mistreated him on the loan he availed from it.

The Bumthang dzongkhag court earlier this year ordered the bank to take over the property mortgaged with the bank if Penjore failed to pay the entire principle loan amount with interest to the bank.

He complained that the three-star hotel, the property, was floated for public auction while the second case was with the High Court.

Penjore alleged that the bank had not given him the entitled amount despite the loan agreement being valid up to September 30, 2028. He claimed that the bank’s estimated cost of the hotel in Bumthang, for which he sought the loan, was Nu 34.386 million and other mortgaged properties were worth more than the loan amount. He said he had signed an addendum to the loan agreement in September 2013 after clearing the unpaid interests and installments.

“Despite that, the bank only gave me less than half the loan,” Penjore said.

The High Court stated that in the previous case it established that Penjore had failed to update the interest portion and schedule the loan for repayment as per the written order of the bank.

“Regulators and auditors also questioned the bank as it had exceeded the gestation period permitted for construction loans,” the High Court stated.

Penjore alleged that the bank’s letter to the Druk Punjab National Bank, which could have given him a loan, had stopped it.  He asked if the bank could do that.

Tshering Palden