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Tibetan parliament votes out three top judges of apex court

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Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo (center), Justice Commissioner Karma Damdul (left), and Justice Commissioner,Tenzin Lungtok (right) were voted out by the TPiE on Thursday.

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 25: In an unprecedented floor test, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) on Thursday voted out the Chief Justice and two Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC). Many have said that the move is undemocratic with some even labelling it as a “constitutional crisis”.

Following the introduction of the first ever motion of its kind, the 41 MPs in attendance voted to a 31-10 majority to oust Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Justice Commissioner Karma Damdul, and Justice Commissioner Tenzin Lungtok. The Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Pema Jungney who spearheaded the move said it was necessitated to protect the charter.

The parliament and the apex Tibetan court have locked horns since last year when the TSJC took a suo moto ruling in September citing Article 69 (IX) of the rules of Supreme Justice to penalize the standing committee of the parliament over failure to conduct the 10th session due to Covid-19 restrictions. The parliament rejected the suo moto ruling and said the court does not have jurisdiction over its internal proceedings.

Members of the Tibetan civil society has expressed alarm over the parliamentary proceeding with many saying that the move is undemocratic and “vengeful”. History researcher and Ph.D. candidate from University of Pennsylvania Ugyan Choedup told

Phayul that the move is “far fetched” in that the parliament’s “vengeful” conduct could have been substituted for more civil alternatives.

Veteran journalist and editor of Tibet Sun Lobsang Wangyal told phayul that the Kashag and the parliament need to create a fast track probe team. “No body is above the law. If this is the political vendetta game the parliamentarians are playing, particularly the standing committee because they have been penalised and they were not happy. And now they have sacked the judges. This is not right, we will not accept it,” he said.

The removal of justices is unprecedented in the exile Tibetan setup.

The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission has not responded to queries from the media as of now.

5 Responses

  1. Every parliament session not being convened or postponed is also draggin and delaying opt goals. They should have tried to find a way to summon that session during pandemic. Nobody knows how long the pandemic would last. Therefore the justice commissioners considered it more important that we have session online rather than postponing it indefinite! At that time nobody knew how long the lockdown will last here in India. Everywhere else in the world thought like that and in time everyone switched to online games , classes, jobs , companies even govt officials from EU started online meetings so that the urgent matters can be addressed without further delay. Our judiciary also might have thought that way as we have urgent matters which needs to be addressed rather than waiting for the lockdown to end. The standing committee of the legislative assembly doesn’t have this insight of holding a parliament session as an important matter and didn’t try to find ways. They just postponed it and if the lockdown doesn’t end are they still gonna keep waiting !!!!
    Time is running out for Tibet!!
    So it’s their utmost duty to hold every session to address our issues personally or virtually. Why were they so rigid with this idea of virtual meeting? I think the MPs should also change their way of thinking and stick to the outside world 🙌🏼

  2. Tyranny of the Solo Estate!

    While modern democracy has been evolving continuously towards a more transparent, representative and functioning democracy, our nascent democracy has regressed and taken a big step backward with this unprecedented action. Other contemporary democracies are talking about the role of the Fifth Estate in a functioning democracy. In our democracy, as known to most of us, the role of the Fourth Estate is at best miniscule, let alone talk about the Fifth Estate. With this recent clipping of the role of one of the Estates by another Estate without so much as due process that is normally accorded to even a criminal in a society governed by ‘Rule of Law’, the day is not far when we may witness the tyranny of the Solo Estate in our name as the Roman Senate used to in the name of the Romans! And as we all know whose interests the Roman Senators used to represent and what followed thereafter!

  3. Those parliament are playing dirty politics.. those mp should remove from their post.. they r playing with tibetan government.. I strongly doubt they r Chinese spy playing with Tibetan government.

  4. The Tibetan Supreme Justice Court has made their statements this afternoon and I find their reasons and logic justify their actions.
    To begin with, as Chief Justice Dhakpo la mentions, they are there to check anyone or any office overriding or overstepping of law and rules and consequently reprimanding them.And here, I want to cite , what one chitue said this morning , justifying their actions- “ they started it by meddling in our business “. I ask all of you- Are we in the primary school , where you justify your actions by pointing- they started first? This is not a way to deal with any problem. Big Egos !!

    Secondly, the grounds on which the judiciary commissioners were impeached!
    They were impeached because of meddling in their affairs and which is here a conflict of interest! The justice commissioners were doing their duty , that is to rectify, in which they finds the Legislative Gyunleys are ignoring the law. And it’s in their jurisdiction.
    So, I don’t see any concrete reasons to Impeach the Supreme Justice Court’s Commissioners without any guilt on their part. Innocent until proven guilty in the court of Law!
    Pema jungney la( parliament’s president) started it so emotionally, where one can sense his vengeful ego and few joined him in this wolf’s cry!
    And an hour later , secret voting which is followed by the verdict!
    Are we in for a Circus show? Or is this our Legislative Assembly where people put so much faith because they are all individuals elected by the people believing that they don’t have any pressures from anyone speaking their mind. But here I do sense some pressures! That’s camaraderie pressures and also afraid of being the white crow. And the biggest problem is they don’t liked to be checked! Someone somebody questioning their authority! We are not in China or Russia.
    I find this action of Chitue Gyunley unacceptable and thus plead to dissolve the parliament as it is clear that they will decide anything to prove their stand. Our Democracy is endangered!
    Bhod Gyalo!

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