DHARAMSALA, 24 May: The exile Tibetan democracy today headed into more uncertainty with the Chief Justice Commissioner and the two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission impeached by the Tibetan parliament performing a u-turn and announcing their resumption to offices having accepted their removal earlier.
The development came after the three justices who have previously accepted the Tibetan parliament’s impeachment but refuted the charges, today made an announcement on Facebook Livestream where they said that they only recused themselves and announced their resumption to their offices.
“We never accepted the decision of the parliament, but recused ourselves for the sole interest of ensuring natural justice,” the impeached justices of the TSJC stated today.
The three-justice commissioners of the TSJC said that they resumed their offices on 23 May after receiving letters from 21 Tibetan MPs urging them to resume their official responsibilities having realized and concurred that the passage of the resolution for their removal by the parliament was unconstitutional.
With the resolution no longer backed by two-third of the MPs, the justices today announced their return from the recuse.
They added that the secretary of the TSJC was directed to inform of their resumption of office to both the Cabinet(Kashag) and the Parliament on Sunday.
The justices further said that they took the decision so as not to disturb and disappoint Tibetans in Tibet, for the sustenance of the CTA, to protect the Tibetan democracy, to revive the Tibetan charter, for the sustenance of the three pillars of the Tibetan democracy, to ensure peace and harmony in the exile community and above all not cause a nuisance to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The TPiE impeached Dagpo Sonam Norbu, the Chief Justice Commissioner, and the two Justice Commissioners, Tenzin Lungtok and Karma Dadul on 25th March during the tenth day of the 10th session of the 16th TPIE 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.
However, on 26 March, the Justices of TSJC held a press conference and declared that they accepted the Tibetan parliament’s impeachment but refute the charges.
The Justices stated then that, though the Tibetan parliament is at fault for not following proper procedures to introduce and vote on the resolution for their removal, they are vacating their offices solely out of respect for the constitution. (link)
It also needs to be noted here that Kalon Tsering Phuntsok, along with former chief justice commissioner Jadur Sonam Sangpo and former Kalon Pema Chenjor constituted the three-member committee the Kashag and the parliament jointly entrusted to file nominations for the seats of the justices.
Following the announcement by the justices, the standing committee of the Tibetan parliament issued a statement calling out the justices for their total disregard for the charter of the Tibetans and defying the jurisdiction of the parliaments that repudiating a resolution passed by the 2/3 of the house.
Though the matter took the center stage of commentary, discussion, and deliberations as the decision of the parliament’s impeachment of the justices proved to be an unpopular decision, the standing committee of the Tibetan parliament further stated that it is now beyond them in resolving the ramifications that came about post the passage of the official motion to impeach the justices.
“As the former justices have suddenly announced their resumption of office, it is now beyond the committee to continue to discharge our duties,” the statement read.
Even though Kalon Tsering Phuntsok announced the committee’s failure in finding any nominations for the vacant seats at the TSJC in an interview on CTA’s Tibet Tv, he also lamented that some former CTA civil servants commented on the issue without any consideration about its consequences.
The Tibetan government in exile officially know as the Central Tibetan Administration entered into political uncertainty after the Tibetan parliament failed to meet the quorum for an additional session scheduled on Monday after only 21 members of the 16th TPIE said they could attend the session.
In April, the TPIE announced an additional session of the house on 20th May 2021 for a day that was later postponed to 24 May.
The additional session of the 16th TPIE announced in accordance with Article 41 of the Charter of Tibetans-in-Exile the Tibetan MPs were to appoint a new Chief Justice Commissioner and the two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission(TSJC) and further deliberate on the ramifications that came about with their removal.
Following the development, the parliament has declared that they can no longer seek the counsel of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in accordance with Article one of the Tibetan Charter over the matter as they have intended to.
It now remains to see how the 60-year-old exile Tibetan Democracy weathers the storm of political uncertainty that it faces.
On 2 September 1960, the first Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies from religious and provincial constituencies took their oath before His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thereby, formally inaugurating the Tibetan democratic system of governance.