The Anti Corruption Commission letter to the Office of Attorney General minces no word or thought. The letter content as revealed to print media is blunt and unambiguous. The Attorney General Shera Lhendup took a sensible decision to accede to ACC request.
I am not sure why a Supreme Court official expressed reservation to a reporter about ACC prosecuting the case. If the Judiciary had reservation of any kind, the right time to express would have been during the last court case prosecuted by ACC. Now such intervention would be looked upon as judiciary in political armoury suit regardless of the intent of the Supreme Court or any other judiciary committee.
We need to understand that whether the Prosecutor is ACC or OAG, the judicial process takes place in the domain of the Judiciary. It is unlike CBI prosecuting their accused in CBI Courts in India. Even there such Courts though designated to process purely CBI cases, have judicial independence. Such Courts would have more technical and investigative knowledge and comprehension.
In its letter to OAG, the ACC had declared that Lhakhang Karpo case was more grave than the of GyalpoShing land allotment case. This comparison puts the Lhakhang Karpo case to an altogether a different sphere. And the attributed comment of a Supreme Court official carried over in the print media further fuels the complexity. Now there is an added on judicial and political dimension.
It has been said that corruption is corruption whether big or small . Even then in terms of financial amount, the Lhakhang Karpo case is rather minuscule when compared to many others. I did not think that the actions of the Committee Chairman who is also the Head of the Haa Dzongkhag Administration tantamount to commitment of grave crime but at the same time, I was surprised by the judicial white wash. The pendulums of right and wrong in a criminal suit hinges on, it seems , on a vital criteria., ' beyond reasonable doubt.'
According to available information in the public domain. the acquittal was based on a document signed by several Tender Committee Members. Did that document alone raise doubt ? I suspect there may be other substantial basis for the acquittal.
Generally any document relating to a Committee that is signed on piece meal basis on individual convenience or prodding and any decision arrived outside an officially convened Meeting is not recognised as valid. A resolution or decision of a Committee or Board must be reached in an officially convened Meeting called as per laid down prescribed procedures. And as long as the mandated quorum is met the resolution or decision reached in so convened Meeting is valid.
However, simply someone putting in writing a desired outcome on a piece of paper and then getting signatures of individuals on such a draft does not constitute a valid resolution or decision of a Committee or Board. The essence is to understand that an individual cannot qualify as a Committee member or Board member until and unless he or she acts in the manner so prescribed and is part of the forum officially convened. Acting irresponsibly is subjecting to liabilities both legal and administrative.
How the case fares here onward would depend on the validity of the basis of acquittal from Haa Court. But you bet many eyes and ears now would be on the outcome especially those involved in GyalpoShing case.
I just wonder aloud what the ACC response would have been if the verdict had included a strong reprimand for lapses in Committee Chairmanship execution and commercial rate payment of the ten DCM trips minus the fuel input by the Foreign Minister and partial refund of sawing Charges by L.D. Sawmill ? It would not have had bearing on the present political post of Foreign Minister and it may have begrudgingly stopped ACC from appealing the Case to High Court.
Justice is of course expected to be based on law of the Land but better still if Justice is seen to be delivered by more onlookers and stakeholders.
The quality of democracy is determined by the quality of judiciary and governance. May fair justice and fair governance prevail.