Staff reporter   

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday removed two justices of the High Court (HC) for their involvement in “deliberate miscarriage of justice.”  The two Justices were suspended in August.

Justice Pema Rinzin and Justice Tshering Dorji who served at the HC’s Bench I were removed for “dishonest annulment” or cancelling the judgment of Thimphu district court which had sentenced defendants Thinlay Norbu and Tandin Penjor to five years each for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The Special Bench of the HC and SC  found that the two justices altered the dzongkhag court judgment and considered it as a mere “offence of substance abuse” instead of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

According to an SC press release, the Justices also took an unprecedented step in the case of Tandin Penjor by conducting a trial against two others, Kinga Gyeltshen, and Kinlay Lhendrup, whose charges were dropped at the pre-trial stage before the district court and which was not appealed by the prosecutor.

The Bench also conducted a suo moto (on their own) trial of Jigme Samdrup who was never charged before the court of law.

As per the SC, the trial against Jigme Samdrup, Kinga Gyelsthen and Kinlay Lhendrup was initiated mainly to divide the 44 capsules of SP+ among four individuals to show that the possession for each defendant remains below the maximum number of quantities determined by the NDPSSA Act.  The Act states that a defendant is not guilty of a felony offence if the possession of drugs is less than 20 capsules.

The press release stated that these unscrupulous acts by the Justices transpired in a close association with the former Attorney General Lungten Dubgyur and the father of one of the defendants.

“This was a serious case of unprofessionalism, violating the judicial code of conduct and the oath they pledged towards the sacred institution of justice, the Constitution, and to the people of Bhutan.”

The Attorney General was dismissed recently.

The decision, according to the SC, was arrived at after careful consideration and review, and there left no scope for further investigation or legal proceedings. “The SC being a custodian of the Constitution would not tolerate any deliberate miscarriage of justice.”