Thinley Namgay

In the past two years, nearly 50 employees have resigned from the judiciary, a figure notably surpassing the total count of those who have retired.

In 2023, 28 employees opted to resign voluntarily, compared to 20 in 2022. Interestingly, there were no voluntary resignations reported in 2021, 2020,  and 2019.

Over the past three years, only eight staff members have superannuated. There were no instances of superannuation in 2020 and 2019.

The increasing number of cases in the courts each year poses a challenge to ensuring timely justice for citizens. In 2023, courts across the country registered 9,837 new cases, adding to the 1,773 cases pending from 2022.

Although the judiciary declined to provide a comment, people have expressed concerns about the impact of staff attrition on service delivery.

The judiciary is a crucial institution in the country, and the departure of any employee could disrupt effective service provision, further burdening citizens who rely on its services.

According to people familiar with the situation, the ongoing trend of individuals seeking opportunities abroad could be one of the reasons for staff attrition in the judiciary.

Additionally, factors such as the high cost of living in urban areas, an unfriendly working environment, and personal issues were also cited as contributing factors to the attrition rate.

Many say that the judiciary is a technical field, making it challenging to find immediate substitutes for those who have resigned.

One litigant at the Thimphu Dzongkhag Court claimed that besides human resource constraints, there are many other issues related to the courts.

He said that one reason for the ongoing backlog of cases could be the insufficient staffing, and this issue will persist if the judiciary is unable to retain its employees.

The 2023 annual judicial report documented 1,621 pending cases, with 179 of them lingering for over a year.

He highlighted the issue of court timing, expressing concern over prolonged waiting periods outside the courts, which he deemed unfair to the litigants.

Yesterday around 11:30 AM, he was waiting outside the Thimphu Dzongkhag Court, feeling exhausted. “I was told by the clerk to arrive at the court by 9:30 AM, and I arrived promptly. However, it’s been nearly two hours now, and I’m still waiting to present my case.”

He expressed his respect for the courts but urged the court officials to consider the welfare of the people as well.

Acknowledging the complexity of certain cases, he said that even simple cases often take many days to resolve, which he deemed unfair to those traveling from other dzongkhags.