Legal and ethical issues over Gyelpozhing remain

The Anti Corruption Commission’s move to register the Gyelpozhing land case with the Mongar Dzongkhag Court shows that the Gyelpozhing case is far from over. It also put’s to question several of the OAG’s controversial legal arguments in dismissing the case.

Many legal experts and even the ordinary Joes on the street still find it hard to swallow the OAG’s generous and all forgiving legal opinion.

The fact that ACC’s has stuck to most of its original charges in the charge sheet filed in the Mongar dzongkhag court is evidence that ACC is firmly convinced that there is a case and that the OAG was wrong.

So far legally the people involved in Gyelpozhing have been lucky at two levels.

At one level even though ACC has done a sterling job, there are many who feel that the ACC’s original case itself could have brought in stronger and additional charges against not only the Dzongkhag plot allotment committee members but also some recipients like officials in positions of conflict of interest. It is difficult to imagine how ministers in the cabinet in some cases heading the very agencies committing the illegal acts and also being its beneficiaries cannot face charges themselves.

ACC’s response has been that many of the earlier legal provisions on this issue cannot be applied conclusively or the legal provisions were not there at all at the time for e.g. in cases like conflict of interest, abuse of privileged information etc. ACC, however, is open to the courts bringing in additional charges if they are found in the process of legal interpretation in court.

In a legal sense the people involved are lucky that much more refined laws of today like ACC Act and Bhutan Penal Code are not applicable due to the laws not being in force at the time.

If ACC took a very conservative view of the old legal provisions or if the above laws could be applied many especially serving ministers at the time would also be culpable for conflict of interest, misusing privileged information, abuse of power and etc.

The second time those involved in the Gyelpozhing case got lucky had more to do with a legally flawed and highly favorable interpretation by the OAG.

If the legal principles are not clearly laid out, defended and protected then the Gyelpozhing case will have far reaching repercussions. In short it will mean that all committees and authorities using some fig-leaf excuses can go beyond their authority to benefit the powerful with no legal consequences.

Recently, Ministers involved in the case declaring that they would be returning their land to support ACC is a controversial move in many senses.

At one level the ministers should be appreciated for giving up claims to land which even a few years back was already worth around Nu 200,000 per decimal.

However, as pointed out by legal experts and the Opposition Leader the ministers are legally in no position to give the land back as the ACC has already frozen the plots and it is only the court that will now decide to whom the land has to go.

This issue also raises the mainly ignored issued of the ethics and morals of the Gyelpozhing case. In a nutshell the case is a land committee taking away the land rights of eligible allottees, giving land to some ineligible and powerful people including their bosses, and also giving away government land across the river that was never meant to be given.

For a leadership, that won the 2008 elections partly on the land grab plank, that espouses high moral principles, enjoyed power in the present and past, whose duty it was to serve the people then and now, and who declared a zero tolerance on corruption, the Gyelpozhing case comes not only as a legal question but also as a serious moral and ethical question.

Those who think that the Gyelpozhing case is dying a natural death couldn’t be more mistaken. If the natural principles of justice were allowed to take its path the case would have probably been over even before elections giving a sense of closure and perhaps justice.

However, the nudges and winks, strings being pulled, and pushes and pulls have only ensured that Gyelpozhing is not just a land case anymore but a case that asks much more fundamental questions of us, and has become that much bigger in the public consciousness.

 

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36 comments

  1. People like the OL who’s parents have received acres upon acres of prime land in the Taba region as kidu (present worth of the land would be a few crores easily) should be the last ones to complain about any land issues. I challenge him to put his money where his mouth is and return the land received as kidu back to the RGOB.

    Otherwise, stop making noise.

    • Hey Good, OL is doing what he has to do and he is doing great job for the people,country and kinf of Bhutan. How dare you point such issues here,first learn what is Kidu and who gives kidu. His majesty has given that land as kidu to OL or his father beacuse they deserve it even if they dont it was given by the King of this country. They didnt grab the land like Prime Minister and his Ministers. If there is basis of OL’s Taba land why dont you report the case to ACC.

      • We all know that many rich families have received kidu land and no one is complaining, but having received kidu land, when they really don’t qualify for it, the least they can do is stop making a fuss about any land issues. 

        I personally believe that individuals and families whom have received prime land as kidu can”t take the high moral ground and complain about others. If the complaint comes from people who have never received kidu land etc, than they have every right to make noise about such issues.

        • dear mr/ms dear…..first of all u r really idiot ,secondly u make invalid comment and which doesnt have any basis. and thirdly u dnt knw anything ..as empty vessel makes greatest sound…..

        • Dear Good,
          Do you really know what is Kidu and who gaves it. And also do you know what land Scam and Land Grab means. First try to know that and write here otherise keep shut or you may

    • haa.haa…what an argument here……lets assume for now OL too grabbed it. Would that justify or legalise G/zing?

    • good,
      pl cool down. even if OL is not making noise, Gyalpoising land case is not going to go away easily. It is already in the right hand of ACC. The guilty must be brought to book. That is Bhutan. Do not try and deflect the attention.

  2. One thing however is clear. The motive of this paper is very clear. It is campaigning against JYT. It is trying hard to prevent JYT from participating in the upcoming election. Mr. TL and his masters should know that ACC had not implicated the PM in this Gyalposhing Land Case. Which means he can contest the election and probably his party will win again thereby making your party defeated all the more.  Before you question the moral and ethics of others, I think you as a journalist should reflect on your morality and ethics. Your news is based on vindictiveness. 

    • DPT/JYT dog still barking in here. This dog must be well looked after looking at how he tirelessly defends his master.

      • Tshering P, I can truly understand that you are in the league of OL , TL and few others who make baseless accusations no matter what. You can call me whatever you want because name calling and labeling are what your league does. In fact this paper and the likes of you have also spoiled the credibility of Opposition party. OL was doing a good job when he was least influenced by media and you. But he, trying to garner a popular vote tried to impress people like you wherein he failed miserably as the Opposition. 

        I may not agree with whatever JYT says or does, and I do not certainly agree with some of the statements he made over the last few weeks but I still respect him as one of the greatest leaders Bhutan could have ever produced.

    • What type of Media nd Journalist you want, like kuensel and BBS all the reporting on behalve of Government and Ministers. Media is the eye and ear opener of innocent peoples of this country. TL is doing great job by put light on dark side of Government and its Ministers. We pray to god to give us somemore person like TL in our country to root out Corrupted creatures like PM and his Ministers. You must be either relative or Chamcha Giri to PM. Dont you feel ashame when you support corrupted peoples and blame vold person who risk to support country and its peoples.

      • and like theBhutanese all sided story hahaha

      • I think it is a matter of conscience. Yes if PM represent truth and believe in what he says, there has been more than enough cases where he should have resigned on moral grounds. But sadly he goes on as if nothing wrong has happened. But we watch in wonder, agape at his abilities to divert the issues ……so steel inside a soft facade. we appreciate. Only such people will survive in politics. Keep up PM. You are the one for the time. But you may be haunted in your conscience if you do not take accountability for responsibility entrusted by the people of Bhutan with full trust and faith.

  3. prime minister

    hey GOOD
    hope you r not mp tshering penjor if so it is normal behavour other wise i think you should think before you speak. or other wise you should not write personal view on the public media which is public interest, may be you r one of who support DPT blindly or may be you r from OAG who use to personalize the offiical not on public interest. like how OAG personal the case forwarded by ACC saying their is no legal basis but now every one knows that OAG is totally wrong coz case was registered in mongar court. and it is proved that their is legal basis. so now i dont know how OAG are able to show their dirty face to public. is really shame full or may be they dont know the law.

    Another issue is that @mr good did you know how many acres of land does Prime Minister have at Babesa, one whole mountain was owed by our prime minister, many years before that mountain is all forest and surely the land is government land. how come now he is king in that jungle .

    • Mr. Prime Minister, I know the PM has received land as kidu too, my point is if one has received kidu land from His Majesty, don’t point fingers at others. No conspiracy theories here, if my family or I had received kidu land when we would most probably not qualify for kidu land, like the PM and OLs family, I at least would keep my trap shut.

      • shut u fool ,idiot ……learn to differntiate kidu n land grab……….u r real chamchagiri ..n plez dnt comment baseless points…who dnt knw anything……literally u are fool….

        • KIDU? Kidu for town planning haha! fools. Kidu is granted to those landless…

        • Civil society, unfortunately you don’t seem to understand anything, so no need replying to you, at least you chose a good nick, that much i can give u credit for.

          • prime minister

            TO GOOD
            ha ha ha dan every body is on kidu but do you think land at
            gyelpozing is kidu, it is real illigal and you should learn
            some laws, and ol dad got land as kidu from third king
            and do you know the hard work of OL dad
            in the time of third king, and do you know
            the value of land during dat time,
            no one is wiling to settle in timphu
            dat time ok. so dont bring base less out here
            r u not going to accept the weakness of DPT
            and want to still defence ina

    • As per our knowledge the priminister owns only 15 decimal land at Babesa which too is given to his wife by Bap Kesangs wife. Slowly that 15 decimal land has branched/grown up to acres at present and now Baps are having trouble to get even drinking water which has to come through that mountain. Our Pm is the main land Grabber. If by chance Chang Ugyens case opens our PM hand will be there too.

      • Like I said earlier, you have every right to make a fuss about land issues, that’s if you have not received land kidu, my argument is just that. But people who have received prime land as kidu have no moral right to complain. I hope I have got through to you.

        • Mr. Good land Kidu given by the King and Land Grabbed by people like Prime Minister is Totally different. Ol own land at Taba which is given to his parents as kidu(or rewads to their hardworking) but PM has extended his 15 decimal land to acres by manipulating the documents is totally different.

          • Haha, rewards for their hard working, I told you I have no problem with anyone being kidu land, however, after getting prime land for free, OL has no right to talk about others, 

      • this is news for us. we are so innocent that we believe in him to the fullest. He is the one for many in bhutan…but looks otherwise. so sad.

  4. I think everything is blown out of proportion. TL influenced by his supporters is bent on bringing down the current government. The Gyelposhing case is a blessings in disguise for DPT. It has helped the party to kick out the useless speaker. Hon’ble Lyonchen, whom the country will find difficult times to replace for a few more decades, will however lead this nation again. Times have changed and he is a leader who exudes wisdom and intelligence.

    • knecho,
      You should do not blame TL. I think he is a brave guy. If there is no issue, do you think this govt will leave him alone. He must be under severe surveillance. So think from his shoes sometime and be thankful that he is doing good job to prevent corruption in Bhutan.
      I do not know who is useless or useful but those corrupt must not be protected. No is above the law and the leaders must show and lead with example.

  5. i am king of 30 decimal, steep slope, rocky and eroded land. my parent got only 1.30acres of land in their name and recently, during nation wide survey, land was divided among three brothers…. i got 30 decimal as a share.. however, near my registered land, there is GRFL (govt reserved forest land) and am planning to registered in my thram….
    if i am found guilty of encroachment on govt land, i ll return immediately to Govt.
    gewog administration has plan to take road to my village, and public of my village and gewog committee have decided and fixed road alignment from my 30 decimal land, as other options of aligning road are technically feasible…. Gup, Tshogpa and my countrymen frequently called me for clearance/ no objection from me, for general benefit, i gave clearance… farm road will consume all my 30 decimal land…. finally i am king of no land….. where do i go…. then am planning to register Black Mountain in my thram…… if found by Govt/ ACC i will return back and register another mountain…

  6. ha ha ha…..JYT…..u dnt knw who is who and. making such a ridiculus comments…..shutup u idiot ….its not mistake that u made by writing JYT…u wrote twice..wic shows u are simply barking………

  7. ACC should file a case against OAG also since they are the once who found the Government innocent. But lets wait and see the Judiciary’s view.

  8. what is “natural principle of justice” ??????

  9. One thing….everyone must note……there is no official english version of Thrimzhung Chenmo 1953 and the land act, 1979..

    I am of the opinion that the ACC and Media have used unofficial english version of the above laws… If it is so, i am so sorry…they have done blunder.

    If you dont believe compare unofficial english version and a official dzongkha version of the above laws. You will see two completely different translations.

    Thanks

    • Then, theBhutanese and the OL must be forced to take moral responsibility. No complaints however to ACC. 

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