Judiciary:Langthel gup, Lham Dorji who was detained by the Trongsa district court for contempt of court on February 12 was released after being held for 24 hours.
He was held for failing to produce evidence as demanded by the court.
“The gup was detained under contempt of court but he was released yesterday afternoon,” Trongsa drangpoen, Norbu said.
According to a February 12 detention letter, the gup was detained for contempt of court under section 102 and 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan for failure to appear before the court of law.
Section 105 of the code states that where a person summoned fails to appear or present evidence at the order of the court, he/she may be found in contempt of court and may be subjected to civil or criminal sanction.
According to the drangpoen, Lham Dorji was summoned to the court to submit a statement as witness. The gup was to produce evidence on whether the moneylender who had filed a case in the court against a borrower actually came to the gewog to resolve the issue.
“The gup orally gave a statement on February 11 but he was asked to submit a written evidence the following day,” Norbu said.
But on February 12 the gup failed to show up in the court. That day, the gup was engaged in processing official documents from dzongkhag and had to go to Wangduephodrang.
“I had to go there to get explosives for Reutala mule track construction,” Lham Dorji said.
Hence, the Langthel tshogpa, Bjola was sent on the gup’s behalf to submit the statement.
The district court however rejected the gup’s statement.
“The drangpoen asked me if I would like to go to prison instead of the gup,” Bjola said.
When the tshogpa told the drangpoen that he had only come to submit the statement on behalf of the gup, the latter was asked to inform the gup to submit the evidence personally.
Hence, Lham Dorji as informed by the tshogpa reported to the district court with a statement on the afternoon of February 12. But when the gup reached the courtroom, the drangpoen ordered the police to detain him immediately.
According to drangpoen Norbu, the gup was detained for contempt of court for failing to report to the court without taking permission.
“Once you appear before the court as witness and if you cannot attend the next hearing he must write or take leave,” drangpoen Norbu said.
He also said when somebody who has already agreed to submit a statement fails to show up without taking leave under pretext of going somewhere when he had not, he has lied before the law.
But Lham Dorji responded that he was detained despite reporting to the court of law.
“When some people can get so many warnings before detention I was arrested even after producing myself in the court,” Lham Dorji said.
Moreover, I had sent the statement through the tshogpa because I did not see the need to take the statement
By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa