By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 9 October 2019
The much anticipated final verdict of the highly-contested Case no 20 will be delivered in the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on Monday, 14 October at 2:30 pm (India time).
A notice released by the Tibetan court today specified that both the plaintiff and defendant are to appear in person or be represented by their lawyers.
The judgment is being given a day before the Chief Justice Commissioner, Kargyu Dhondup, retires. His replacement, Sonam Norbu Dagpo, will take the oath of office on the 15th.
Penpa Tsering, former Representative of the Dalai Lama in Washington DC, in May 2018 filed the defamation lawsuit, now known as Case no 20, against the exile Tibetan Cabinet led by Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), disputing the charges given in support of ousting him from the Representative post.
A former Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, complainant Penpa Tsering refuted the 10 reasons given by the Cabinet for dismissing him from the DC post in November 2017, saying they were baseless and intended to tarnish his image. Among the main charges against Tsering by the Cabinet were a growing trust deficit, underperformance, and insubordination.
During the last hearing on 21 August, both the plaintiff Tsering and defendant Cabinet’s lawyer mounted multiple rebuttals to make their points.
Tsering and Sangay were the two contenders in the exile Tibetan elections in 2016 for the highest post of Prime Minister of CTA, known as Sikyong in Tibetan. Sangay won by 9,012 votes from the total 59,353.
Sangay then appointed Tsering to the DC post, although it has been speculated that this happened at the behest of the Dalai Lama, as Sangay had appointed Tsering to lead the Belgium Office of Tibet.
However, Tsering then raised an issue related to a $1.5-million loan to CTA from a New York City-based organisation, the Tibet Fund. Tsering pointed out that the amount was not mentioned as a loan in CTA documents. Sangay consistently said that it was not a loan, but was a grant. The amount was used in buying the property now housing the Office of Tibet in Washington DC, with an additional amount given by the Dalai Lama.
It has been contended that Tsering’s raising of the loan issue multiple times became the root cause of his ousting from DC.