By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 23 November 2019
The Supreme Justice Commission of the Central Tibetan administration has given the Tibetan exile Cabinet till 27 December to apologise to plaintiff Penpa Tsering as ordered in its judgment on Case no 20.
Failing to apologise, eligibility to run for office and the voting rights of all seven members of the Cabinet, including the President Lobsang Sangay, will be withheld until an apology is offered. The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission issued this new order on 22 November.
The Sangay-led Cabinet failed to offer an apology as ordered by the court on 14 October in a defamation case that resulted from Penpa Tsering’s termination from the post of the Representative of the Dalai Lama in Washington DC in November 2017. He was charged with dereliction of duty, insubordination, and deficit of trust, supported by 10 points of charges, which were found groundless by the court.
Penpa Tsering’s lawyer’s fees, amounting to 98,000 rupees (1,400 USD approx), has been paid by the Cabinet, as required by another section of the 14 October order.
The Tibetan court in ruling on Case no 20 cleared Penpa Tsering of all the charges, and ordered the Cabinet to apologise, using language stating: The Cabinet has charged Penpa Tsering without credible evidence, which has damaged his image and reputation, and therefore has been ordered to offer an apology. The court further ordered that this apology must be published, in both Tibetan and English, on all CTA information outlets.
The case was originally filed by Penpa Tsering in May 2018.
Penpa Tsering appealed to the court on 20 November to take cognisance of the Cabinet’s failure to apologise, requesting implementation of Articles 51 and 84 of the civil procedure of the Tibetan judiciary.
Article 84 of the code of civil procedure of Tibetan judiciary pertains to contempt of court for not complying with a verdict. Under Article 51, any party can appeal for non-compliance of a verdict, and the court has the power to withhold rights from the offender for standing in elections and for voting.
In the appeal submitted to the court on 20 November, seen by Tibet Sun, Penpa Tsering wrote that being a responsible Tibetan, he was obliged to appeal in order to protect the sanctity and credibility of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission and the faith of the people in the Tibetan judiciary, to safeguard the democratic system.
He also stated that more delay by the Cabinet in complying with the order would further affect stability and harmony within Tibetan society.