By Tenzin Dharpo
Members of the Kashag (Cabinet) from 2017. Photo- tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 27: The legal battle between the President Dr. Lobsang Sangay led Kashag (Cabinet) and the former North America Representative Penpa Tsering may have found its conclusion after the Kashag issued a statement on Friday expressing “regret” for having defamed the “dedication, competence and character” of the ousted senior official.
The Kashag quoted part of the verdict by the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) where it stated that “the ten-point clarification issued by the Kashag on the replacement of Mr. Penpa Tsering from the service of Representative to North America was based on unreliable sources and misunderstanding, thereby unintentionally defamed his dedication, competence and character, and led to the spread of misinformation in the community”.
The Dr. Sangay led Cabinet said “it expresses regret” for the same.
Following the verdict by the apex Tibetan court on October 14, that exonerated Penpa Tsering from all the 10 points that were cited by the Kashag as cause for his ouster, the apex Tibetan court ordered the executive branch of the exile Tibetan government to issue an apology through the CTA official outlet.
The Kashag which missed an earlier deadline to offer apology to Penpa Tsering issued the statement today, the last day of the the new deadline prescribed by the TSJC last month. The TSJC earlier warned the Kashag that failure to abide by the directive within the deadline would result in the ineligibility to run for public office and the voting rights of all the members of the Cabinet, including the President be revoked.
The high profile defamation case, known popularly as the ‘Case no.20’, was filed in May 2018 by Penpa Tsering, the former representative of the office in North America, against the Kashag led by Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong of the Tibetan administration.
The then Chief Justice Commissioner Kargyu Dhondup acquitted the plaintiff Penpa Tsering from all the charges. The verdict ordered the defendant to issue an apology and clarification for the same through CTA’s official outlets and also to compensate INR 98,700 for the plaintiff’s lawyer fee.
The long and winding issue, many say, is a distraction for the exile Tibetan polity while others say that the development is a victory for Tibetan democracy. The case which lasted close to four months saw a total of 12 days of trial where the incumbent President did not appear for even a single hearing while members of his cabinet and his staffers made appearances on behalf of the Kashag.
A Tibetan netizen wrote on facebook, “Let us now move forward united”, while another wrote “finally”.