By Tenzin Sangmo
The proceeding of the 8th hearing of Case No. 20 at the TSJC. PC- TSJC
DHARAMSHALA, August: 14: The case no. 20, holding its 8th trial after framing of issues, saw the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) deal with the two “issues of law” in the defamation case filed by the former Office of Tibet Representative Penpa Tsering against Sikyong Lobsang Sangay led Kashag (Cabinet) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The first of the two legal issues revolve around the legal procedure in the plaintiff’s termination and whether the ‘warning’ letters qualify as such.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer Namgyal Tsekyi contended that although ‘simple termination’ is the prerogative of the Kashag, it is not what happened. The Kashag’s 10-point clarification issued post the termination maligned the plaintiff, making it a ‘stigmatic termination.’ “The points in the clarification discount the plaintiff’s history of public service, tarnish his public image and negatively affect future endeavors,” she added.
The second part of the issue dealt with whether the letters issued to the plaintiff qualifies as a warning. The plaintiff contended that the letters could only qualify as ‘caution’ because as per the Article 53(b) of the Rules of Conduct of Public Servant (RCPS), a final warning, by definition, requires to be preceded by a show-cause notice, an opportunity to explain and then a warning if the explanation is found to be unsatisfactory.
Petitioner’s lawyer demanded that the Kashag withdraw the words “final warning” in the termination letter issued to the plaintiff as it becomes null and void.
Lobsang Dakpa, the defence lawyer, argued that because the representative is not a public servant but a special appointee, the clause of RCPS doesn’t apply to him. The petitioner vehemently refuted the point stating that the defendant team has no qualms about misinterpreting the provision of laws to serves its interest, at the cost of being self-contradictory.
The second issue of law in the case deals with whether the Kashag misled the Tibetan parliament in exile by not informing it of 1.5 million dollars being taken as loan.
The plaintiff said it violated the Article 7(b) of Audit Act that states that requires all offices to report on fund and loan issues and conditions attached to them.
The defense lawyer said the Kashag didn’t mislead the parliament because the parliament didn’t ask for it and the Kashag didn’t see it as a loan.
The Chief Justice Commission announced that the next hearing will be held on August 21 to address the 8th and the last point of the issues of facts along with the concluding arguments.