The way forward

With the third session of the third Parliament on, laws are tabled for discussion every day. It comes at a time when we have many laws that are inconsistent and contradictory with the Constitution.

While we are already battling the duplication and proliferation of too many laws, courts in the country are confused with numerous Supreme Court orders issued in the recent years.

Questions of the legitimacy of the orders are raised, as the Supreme Court has no legislative power under the doctrine of separation of powers, which mandates laws to be made by the Parliament and judiciary to interpret it.

For the Supreme Court, section 10 of Article 21 of the Constitution empowers it to issue declarations, orders, directions or writs as may be appropriate in the circumstances of each case. But legal practitioners claim orders and writs could be issued through a judicial review or through cases before the Supreme Court.

What is more worrying is that most court, even the High Court for the matter, is not enforcing the orders. Where is the credibility of the highest law interpreter? Public confidence in the judiciary weakens when there is inconsistent application of the law and we already have so many examples.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal, the guardian and the final interpreter of the Constitution. It should uphold the Constitution and should not breed any sense of confusion and manipulation in its fraternity.

As true custodian of justice, judiciary cannot afford to be confused. It was separated from the executive with the establishment of dzongkhag courts in 1961 to protect the fundamental rights of the people. As the place of justice, the judiciary should be a place above reproach, free from coercion and influence.

The future Chief Justice has an enormous task ahead.

Besides clearing the confusion, confidence in the judiciary must be restored. Justice must be based upon the rule of law and not the individual judge’s interpretation. Judiciary has the constitutional duty to safeguard, uphold and administer justice fairly and independently without fear, favour or undue delay in accordance with the rule of law. The Chief Justice should not coerce or intimidate judges to agree with him in delivering judgments.

It should also ensure that judiciary is transparent and credible and it renders fair trial and justice to the people. Public trust and faith in judiciary must be restored.

His Majesty The King had said, “The most precious love of a King is his People; the most cherished wish of the People is Peace and Prosperity; Law is the root of Peace and Prosperity. Thus, no other goal should be noble than the creation of a society based on justice, equality and fairness.” 

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