The much publicized legal case between Tandin Bidha and her daughter Dr Shacha Wangmo versus Sonam Phuntsho was considered to be closed in early April 2017.
However, the Supreme Court is doing a final review of this last judgment which has given some hope to Tandin Bidha and BNB that a more favorable final judgment may come their way.
The Supreme Court held a special hearing on 21st June with Tandin Bidha, Ap SP and the BNB legal officer and announced its decision to do a review of its own judgment. All parties have been asked to submit their necessary case documents and submissions on 28th June.
Earlier after a long drawn and acrimonious legal battle the Supreme Court in April 2017 came up with a final enforcement order to transfer nine units of a Changzamtok building from Tandin Bidha to Ap SP for which he had to pay Nu 4 mn to BNB of the around Nu 9 mn owed in loans on the nine units.
At the time Tandin Bidha and Dr Shacha had cried foul and Ap SP while saying he is not happy to pay the Nu 4 mn loan accepted the judgment. The BNB bank also expressed unhappiness with the verdict as it gave no priority to their Nu 9 mn loan on half the building which was given much before Ap SP’s transaction with Tandin Bidha’s daughter Sonam Wangmo.
The two judges who delivered the last verdict Justice Tashi Chozom and Justice Rinzin Penjore have recused themselves from the case and so the review will now be handled by the Chief Justice, Tshering Wangchuk.
The Supreme Court is doing the review based on Article 21.7 of the Constitution which says that the Supreme Court has the power to review its own judgments and orders.
The original verdict of the High Court which had been previously upheld by the Supreme Court was that Tandin Bidha had to pay Nu 18 mn to Sonam Phuntsho within three months on the basis of four money receipts or give up nine of the 18 apartments in her Changzamtok building. The Nu 18 mn was an alleged amount taken by Tandin Bidha’s daughter Sonam Wangmo from Ap SP for the building. The building is jointly owned by Tandin Bidha and her daughter Sonam Wangmo who did not appear for the hearings in the High Court and Supreme Court. BNB bank and its loan did not feature in the verdict despite its appeals.
After a request for a review the Supreme Court again reviewed this verdict with a joint bench of Justice Tashi Chozom and Justice Rinzin Penjore who gave their verdict on 18th August 2016. The verdict now said that Tandin Bidha had to pay Nu 18 mn to Ap SP failing which she had to transfer nine of her units along with a Nu 10 mn BNB loan to Ap Sonam Phuntsho.
Ap SP during the three month period given for the verdict implementation declined to accept the nine units along with the loan while Tandin Bidha on her part offered the nine units with the loan. Both gave their stands to the Supreme Court in written and verbal submissions.
The same two bench judge deliberated on the matter and came out with an enforcement order on 12th January 2017 asking the DNP to auction the nine units at a base or minimum price of Nu 22 mn.
The 30th March 2017 auction was not successful as no buyers turned up.
After this the Supreme Court in a final verdict enforcement order in the first week of April 2017 transferred the nine units to Ap SP along with the condition that he pay Nu 4 mn of the Nu 9 mn BNB loan to BNB loan.
As mentioned above this was strongly opposed by BNB which laid first claim on the nine units and said that such a decisions would set an unhealthy precedent for the financial sector. Tandin Bidha and Dr Shacha questioned the Supreme Court’s enforcement order even after their willingness to transfer the nine units with the total BNB loan to AP Sp as per what they said was the Supreme Court’s own verdict.
Dr Shacha and her mother from the beginning has questioned the judicial process and verdicts on the case from the district court and especially so in the High Court and Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in the past in a rare case of public response in a legal case said that once the court has recognized a certain amounts is owed to an individual it has the flexibility to see how the amount has to be paid back.
The court in its past statement also questioned why Sonam Wangmo had not appeared to refute Ap SP’s claims and evidences and also questioned how Sonam Wangmo and her former husband took a Nu 30 mn loan from T-Bank based on forged documents. The issue of other private debtors seeking debts from Sonam Wangmo was also brought up.
The legal case attracted much public attention leading to even a defamation case against Dr Shacha Wangmo and Namgay Zam, a former BBS news anchor which was later withdrawn by Ap SP who had filed the case.