By Tenzin Sangmo
Sambhota Tibetan School in Dolanji, Shimla
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 28: A case of an alleged sexual harassment against a retired chief justice commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was discussed at the ongoing session of 16th parliament in-exile in the last few days.
The incident of an alleged sexual harassment of a 13-year-old female student at the Sambhota Tibetan School in Dolanji settlement in Shimla first came to light in May this year when the student opened up during the implementation of mandatory learning modules assigned by (Central Board of Secondary Education) CBSE in its compliance of Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act of 2012.
In its commitment to gender sensitivity and equality, the board had assigned eleven roles for its affiliated schools that include forming school complaints committee.
The student revealed that the elderly man whistled at her and gestured her to come over on her way back from school. The frequency of the harassment is unspecified.
The school authorities reportedly went to confront the accused at his house who vehemently denied the charge.
A few months later, the accused visited the education department (sherig), CTA in Dharamshala to complain that he is being defamed by the school.
The department informed him about the school’s reporting of the incident and said a letter was sent to him that he claimed he had not received.
After the visit, the department sent another written warning through the school, delivered by its two teachers. The letter warns that should the incidence happen again he will be reported to the local police authority as mandated by the law of the land.
In the parliamentary session, MP Lobsang Choejor stated that the department of education’s lack of initiative in handling this case contradicts the candidness with which it addressed similar issues in the last year’s parliamentary session and alluded that there is inequality in the treatment of the case depending on the stature of the accused.
MP Dawa Tsering asserted that the handling of the case appears incompatible with the Kashag’s Zero tolerance policy on the issue and questioned if Kashag was informed of at all.
Pema Yangchen, the minister in charge of the education department informed that all decisions are taken within the department.
The accused, Jadur Sonam Sangpo, served as the Chief Justice Commissioner for two years from 2002 to 2004 following a year as Justice Commissioner.
Before that, he served as a member in five successive Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD) from September 1982 to September 2001 before his appointment at the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC), the judiciary branch of CTA.
He was recently part of the three-member group that constituted the selection committee for the nomination of candidates for the election of new Chief Justice Commissioner and Justice Commissioner that took place on the third day of the ongoing session.