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.