Sangay’s cabinet fails to apologise to Penpa Tsering on last day

Penpa Tsering speaks to the press outside the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission after winning the defamation case against the cabinet of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, India, on 14 October 2019.

Penpa Tsering speaks to the press outside the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission after winning the defamation case against the cabinet of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, India, on 14 October 2019. File photo/Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 13 November 2019

The Lobsang Sangay-led cabinet of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has published an announcement regarding Case no 20, but has not issued an apology as mandated by the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission in the verdict favouring Penpa Tsering in the case of defamation against him.

The announcement, which came on the last day of the stipulated time, said: “The verdict of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on Case no 20 announced on October 14th has been unsatisfactory to us. There are also a large number of petitions from general public expressing feelings of sadness, unjust and disappointment against the verdict.

“However, in order to maintain the unity and stability within our community, we respect the aforesaid verdict and call upon all people to remain vigilant and be responsible in maintaining peace and harmony.”

The court’s verdict in Tibetan has been published as an image on the CTA’s English language website. The court had ordered the Cabinet to expressly offer an apology to Penpa Tsering for the defamation against him, published in all their bulletins and online publications, in both Tibetan and English. The published apology must be submitted to court, to be forwarded to Penpa Tsering.

In addition, the Cabinet will have to pay Penpa Tsering’s lawyar Namgyal Tsekyi a sum of rupees 98,000 (1,400 USD approx).

In an apparent bid to block English readers of the CTA website from the apology, except for stating Cabinet’s dissatisfaction with the verdict, there was no mention of the decision in English, nor were the words present which had been ordered by the court to be published.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet accepted the verdict, and expressed dissatisfaction with the decision in an announcement written in Tibetan. Today’s was the same announcement, but translated into English.

Famously known as Case no 20, this was a defamation case filed by the former Representative of the Dalai Lama to Washington DC against the Sangay-led exile Cabinet in May 2018. He had been charged with 10 points in dismissing him from the office in November 2017.

Tsering accepted the dismissal, as it was the privilege of the Cabinet, but refuted the 10 points as baseless, and damaging to his image.

Sangay on his part asked Tsering to go to court if he was not satisfied with the charges, which were blaming him of dereliction of duty, insubordination, and a deficit of trust.

The court cleared Penpa Tsering of all charges in a verdict given a month ago.

Soon after the pronouncement of the judgment, Penpa Tsering said, “I may have won the case after the court vindicated me by clearing all charges, but there’s no feeling of celebration at all, as the case was against the Cabinet.”


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