News and Views on Tibet

Case against PM, CEC ‘dismissed with prejudice’

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By Tenzin Monlam

DHARAMSHALA, May 17: The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on Monday dismissed the case against the incumbent Tibetan PM Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Chief Election Commissioner Sonam Choephel Shosur regarding the differing spellings of the PM’s name in Green Book and ballot paper.

Tibetan Legal Association, a group of Tibetan lawyers offering voluntary legal service to Tibetans, made the announcement earlier today.

The case was ‘dismissed with prejudice’, which in legal terms means the case can not be brought back to the court. However, Tashi Yangzom, one of the plaintiffs told Phayul that she was disappointed by the decision saying the court has not been fair towards them. She also vows to continue contesting using different means including Indian courts.

Sonam Choephel, one of the defendants, clarified that the spelling of Sikyong has been changed stating the Tibetan PM had submitted his form with his name spelled correctly as Sangay to the Green Book Section at the Department of Finance.

Tashi reacted by saying that the mistake was committed during the elections and was not corrected before. “There is no point in changing the name now. If it were a common people, he or she would have been dismissed from availing opportunities.”

The apex court, in its statement, said that due to lack of supporting documents to their case filed on April 16 the case has been dismissed. It also mentions that the court on two occasions (May 7 and 12) has given the plaintiffs the chance to submit the supporting documents to their case.

“The plaintiffs on May 12 at 9:50 a.m. presented a document that we can’t make heads or tails of on a two page, which was hard to read and view. Therefore, according to section 37(E) of Tibetan Judiciary, the case has been dismissed,” said the court’s statement.

Tashi Yangzom argued that she had sent all the documents through mail and all were printouts. Furthermore, she revealed that the defendants’ team had seen all their documents while she was not returned the courtesy.

Lobsang Dakpa, President of TLA, organization which represented the defendants, said that everyone has the right to file a case but advised that people should have better understandings of the judicial process before filing any suit.

“We are saddened since no action would be taken against the plaintiffs, whose case has effected them (defendants) both mentally and physically. Moreover, they held highly responsible offices during the 2016 elections and in someway it has effected their workings as well,” said Dakpa, adding that they appreciate the decision of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission.

However, Tashi complained that plaintiffs did not get any lawyer’s assistance from the Tibetan Legal Association, which she said was started with an objective to help the weaker section of the community. “TLA and the organization’s head was not fair with us and when they knew the case was against the PM everyone sidestepped. We were dismayed for not getting any assistance from an organization meant to help the needy,” she regretted.

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