High Court, Thimphu

Penjore requests HC to hold everyone accountable

The High Court (HC) Bench 3 conducted the first appeal hearing on 4 July after Penjore has appealed to HC on 8 June 2022 in connection to the defamation case he won in the District Court. Penjore has appealed on three grounds. He was initially alleged of defaming Office of Attorney General (OAG) in May 2021.

During the hearing, Penjore submitted his rights to be compensated for detaining him for 16 days. He also submitted that seven executive members of the Bhutan National Bank Limited (BNBL) should be held liable or accountable.

“They should be charged for official misconduct and failure to report the crime. The Attorney General should also be held accountable for dropping the charges against the executive members,” he further submitted before the court.

Meanwhile, the police have submitted their rebuttal on 8 July. They requested the HC to revisit the case and to charge Penjore for defamation, as he has posted the defamatory post on his Facebook against the OAG which might precede wrong impression on the office.

Police submitted that he could have reported to relevant agencies rather than posting on his social media misinforming the people.

“Since Penjore was detained to investigate on the defamation, we do not feel the need of compensating him for detaining for 16 days. He was detained as per section 186 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2001,” the police rebutted.

In addition, the police rebutted that if Penjore held personal grudges against the BNBL and OAG and questioned him for defaming the two institutions.

However, HC questioned the police on why it took 16 days to investigate the case when the forensic facilities are in place. Moreover, the court questioned the police on the arbitrary arrest of Penjore.

The court further directed the police to quantify the damage done to OAG through the post made by Penjore.

Penjore said that the court asked him to submit additional points on the accountability and compensation. Accordingly, he requested the court to call all the seven executive members of the BNBL, question them and to hold them liable.

The police initially charge sheeted all the executive members along with the employees who were terminated from their service. Penjore further requested the court to make enquiry on the reasons why the AG dropped the two charges, official misconduct and failure to report the crime, against the seven executive members.

“I am fine with any amount of compensation. I just want court to hold everyone involved accountable to respect the law. Otherwise, it may have negative impression on the law and law enforcers,” he added.

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