By Tenzin Sangmo
First day of hearing after framing of issues in Case No. 20. PC-TSJC
DHARAMSHALA, July 10: The first hearing following the framing of issues in Case No. 20 began today at the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) in Gangchen Kyishong, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) premises.
The hearing today was attended by the plaintiff Mr. Penpa Tsering and Defendant Lawyer Lobsang Dakpa who was accompanied by Finance Kalon Karma Yeshi, former Kashag (Cabinet) Secretary Topgyal Tsering and Kashag Under Secretary Tenzin Phuntsok, as representatives of the defendant.
Out of the eight issues framed in the past hearings, only the first issue was dealt with today. It deals with the second point of the 10-points explanation for replacement of the Representative of Washington Office, issued by the Kashag for on November 18, 2017. “During Representative Penpa Tsering’s term as the North America Representative, particularly between August 2016-April 2017, many important developments occurred in the US, especially in light of Donald Trump’s election victory, forming of the new Government in the United States, President Trump’s first meeting with President Xi Jinping, etc. However contrary to what is customary, there were no submissions of formal reports, confidential or otherwise from the DC office to the DIIR office on these major developments. This is a case of underperformance.”
The points raised on the issue were whether Kashag had issued advance instructions to the Representative to submit formal reports within the specified time frame and whether not submitting formal reports amount to underperformance.
The hearing today saw the parties contesting over plaintiff’s accusation that five of eight points it sees as problematic in 10-points explanation are trumped up charges.
Penpa Tsering served as Representative of the Office of Tibet, Washington DC, from late August 2016 until Kashag’s announcement of his dismissal on November 7, 2017.
Speaking to media after the hearing today, he said, “The first part of the first issue discussed today should have strictly been about whether there were any advance instructions to submit formal reports within specified time frame, not whether reports were submitted or not, but there were lots of distraction.”
The Defendant Lawyer said since the plaintiff had admitted that he is not contending the Kashag’s prerogative to dismiss him as a representative, it seems like a non-issue.
He observed that although the plaintiff had cited Sikyong’s March 10 speech as the inducement for filing the case, the Sikyong in the speech was clearly referring to the plaintiff’s right to knock at court’s door if his removal from the Office of Representative was not carried out lawfully.”
“Since everything started from the dismissal and the plaintiff is not contending it, we are addressing the branches and not the root,” he concluded.
The major chunk of the issues framed remains to be contested. Although the next hearing date is not issued yet, it is expected to be within this month.