Trongsa court ordered a student found guilty of larceny to corrective measures in lieu of prison term in its second reformative judgment this year.

The judgment issued yesterday ordered the boy to clean the boy’s toilet for a week and deliver a speech during the morning assembly every morning on Bhutan’s Penal Code. The Court handed him a simplified 10-paged note of the relevant provisions related to youth and crime in the Penal Code.

On April 21, the defendant had entered the girl’s dormitory and stolen cash from students when the students and teachers were busy with the school variety show in the multipurpose hall. The defendant had broken the suitcase of two girls and took Nu 5,500. The defendant had also damaged the suitcase belonging to another girl student. The defendant confessed to the crime.

The court handed a copy of the judgment and a note to the school principal for compliance and enforcement of the judgment.

The court also sought consent of the defendant and his parents before deciding to the pass the orders.

The court executed a bond with the defendant and his parents wherein the defendant agreed to comply with the judgment and gave assurances never to commit crime.  

The victims were restituted their money. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay Nu 1,000 each to the victims as compensation.  

Article 10 Section 25 of the Constitution, the Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC), which has been rectified by the National Assembly, forms the corpus of the laws of Bhutan. The Parliament has enacted the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) to implement the CRC. According to CRC and Section 3 and 20 of the CCPA, in any actions concerning children undertaken by government, non-government or private social welfare institutions and courts, the “best interest of the child” should be the primary consideration.

In addition, the institutions and courts are mandated to observe the principle of decriminalization and provide care, protection, guidance, counselling, treatment, development and rehabilitation.

“Furthermore, under Section 120 of the CCPC, if the offence committed by the child is of Petty Misdemeanour and below, and if the court deems fit, the court is allowed to make an order discharging the child subject to the condition that the child enter a bond of not committing further offence,” the judgment stated.

The boy was found liable for petty misdemeanour the sentence for which ranges between one month and less than a year’s prison term.

However, the court, in consideration of the above provisions of law and the principles, discharged the defendant from the criminal liabilities.

In its first reformative judgment in March, the court ordered two minor monks to conduct reformative service. The two, aged 14 and 15, were convicted for auto-stripping at the car park near the Trongsa Dzong on the night of January 18 this year.

Tshering Palden