Tibetan Parliament impeaches Chief Justice Commissioner, two Justice Commissioners of TSJC
DHARAMSALA, 25 March: The Tibetan Parliament-in-exile (TPIE) today impeached the Chief Justice Commissioner and the two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission by passing an official motion in the Parliament for the trio’s impeachment in accordance with the Clause (IV), Article (63) of the Charter of Tibetans in exile.
The motion presented by the Deputy Speaker. Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok and seconded by MP Khenpo Sonam Tenphel was passed the house during the tenth day of the 10th session of the 16th TPIE with more than two-thirds of the MPs voting in favour of the motion.
Clause (IV), Article (63) of the Charter of Tibetans in exile, states that the Chief Justice Commissioner or any of the two other Justice Commissioners can only be removed through a resolution with two-thirds support in the house.
With 31 votes against 10 in the secret ballot cast by the MPs after debating on the motion, the house surpassed the votes required to remove Dagpo Sonam Norbu, the Chief Justice Commissioner and the two Justice Commissioners, Tenzin Lungtok and Karma Dadul from their office.
This marks the first time ever in the Tibetan democracy where the motion calling for the impeachment of the Justice Commissioners was ever tabled let alone impeach all the three judges of the exile Tibetans apex court.
On 17 Aug, Pema Jungney, the speaker of the TPIE flanked by Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok and Secretary-General Tsewang Ngodup on both sides announced that “the 10th session of the 16th TPIE scheduled to be held for 8 days from 16-24 September 2020 has been postponed until March 2021.”
The supreme legislative body of the exiled Tibetans stated the decision was “taken at the 327th Standing Committee meeting on 13 August 2020, in accordance with the Article 6 and clause 2 of Article 49 of the Charter of Tibetans in exile.”
However, on 24 Aug, the TSJC issued a notice to the Standing Committee of the TPIE terming the postponement of the 16th TPIE’s September session unlawful.
Responding to the TSJC’s notice, the Standing Committee of the TPIE then sent a four-page explanation to the court stating that the committee has not done anything unlawful.
On 25th Sept, the TSJC declared in its ruling that the 11 members of the standing committee of the TPIE have disregarded the Charter of Tibetans in Exile as they failed to hold the parliamentary session as it found the reasons for postponing the 10th session of the parliament insufficient.
Article 40 of the Charter of Tibetans in exile states that “a time period of six months shall not pass between the last session and the date appointed for the next session.”
The TSJC then withheld the voting rights of the members of the Parliament’s standing committee of the TPIE until 21 March 2021.
The TSJC’s order was rejected by the TPIE on the same day. The Statement issued by the parliament declared it unconstitutional and that the TSJC has no jurisdiction over the house.
Speaking about the motion in the house today, Speaker Pema Jungney said that however hard the standing committee members tried to explain to the TSJC that the postponement of the session was not unlawful, they did not listen at all and added that the TSJC’s ruling was against Article 58 of the Charter of Tibetans in exile.
“The resolution was tabled today with a heavy heart with the sole motive to protect the Charter of Tibetans in exile,” he said.
Karma Dadul was elected by the TPIE as the new Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on 19th Sept. 2018 while Tenzin Lungtok and Dagpo Sonam Norbu were elected as the one of the two other Justice Commissioners and the Chief Justice Commissioner of the TSJC respectively on 23rd Sept. 2019.