TCC could now initiate developmental activities in the two disputed plots

Tashi Dema

The Supreme Court ruled that Tashi Commercial Corporation (TCC) could now initiate development activities in its two plots of lands, plot I-22 and L-1, in Lungtenzampa, yesterday.

In a judgment signed by three justices and the Chief Justice, it stated that the two areas are not in G2 –Green Space System as claimed by Thimphu thromde but in the urban core.

TCC sued Thimphu thromde earlier this year after the latter refused to allow TCC to develop the land after Supreme Court declared TCC as the legitimate owner of the land and TCC approached thromde for approval.

The thromde contended that the two plots were included in the plan to redevelop the urban core as city gateway according to the Thimphu Structure Plan 2002-2027 and Urban Design Proposal –Core.

The judgment stated that Thimphu thromde never raised the issue of the two plots included in G2 when the two were embroiled in a legal battle since 2013. “Thromde claimed it was included in Urban Design Proposal –Core and G2 only when the land ownership judgment was enforced.”

The apex Court issued directives mandating concerned government agencies to have a prescribed rule in place when it acquires private land for public interest and also provide fair compensation in accordance with section 14 of Article 7 of the Constitution.

It also stated that the present national committee for human settlement is formed as per the Cabinet directives and not as per Parliament Act. “There should be a committee formed as per Parliament resolution.”   

The Court ruled that the Act for national committee for human settlement should have provisions that include private land acquisition rules and procedures and fair compensation. “The present compensation rate according to the PAVA rate is way below the land value.”

It also ruled that the committee should seek His Majesty’s the King’s decree while providing land substitute.

It stated that the committee should have clear rules if the private land government agencies want to acquire is mortgaged in financial institutions. “If the land compensation and substitution are not uniform, it should be considered unconstitutional.”

Meanwhile, Justice Kinley Tshering issued a separate dissenting opinion on the case, where he stated that Thimphu thromde has the right over not making an issue of plot I-22 included in G2 in an earlier case, as the case was on land ownership.

His nine-paged opinion also stated that the two plots were included in G2, as ruled by the High Court’s larger bench.