Thinley Namgay  

Closing the legal battle between Thimphu thromde and four landowners in Thimphu, who refused to accept compensation at the government rate for land the thromde acquired for the diplomatic enclave at Hejo, Thimphu, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the landowners to accept the compensation.

In the judgment passed on March 28, the apex court ruled that the diplomatic enclave was for the country. “Bhutan, a developing country, should ensure its development, security, sovereignty, peace, and prosperity by fostering friendly relations with other countries.”

It also ordered the four landowners to accept the land compensation according to the Property Assessment Valuation Agency (PAVA) rate like the other 54 landowners.

The diplomatic enclave is a part of the Thimphu Structural Plan 2002 -2027, where space for 16 embassies and missions was planned after acquiring 31.7 acres of land opposite the Indian Embassy at Hejo.

On February 3, 2003, the cabinet endorsed the diplomatic enclave.

Of the 58 landowners associated with the diplomatic enclave, four refused to accept the rate and took Thimphu thromde to court.

The legal representative of the landowners submitted to the SC that the land acquired by the thromde was not intended for the public interest.

The representative also said the thromde should pay the land compensation as per the current market rate and not based on the PAVA rate.

All the courts concluded that the government had followed proper procedure, including planning, cabinet endorsement, and consultation with the landowners based on the Constitution’s Article 7 and the Land Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2007.

Section 142 of the Land Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2007 states that the government may acquire registered land for public interests.

Article 7 (14) of the Constitution states that a person shall not be deprived of property by acquisition or requisition, except for public purpose and on payment of fair compensation in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The SC ordered the landowners to pay Nu 45,000 to the thromde.