(TibetanReview.net, Jun06’19) – Framing of issues in the defamation case filed by dismissed Washington Tibetan representative Mr Penpa Tsering against President Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration and his ministerial colleagues in the Kashag (cabinet) commenced before the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission on Jun 5. It may be recalled that the Kashag had terminated Mr Penpa Tsering’s service in Nov 2017 by citing “growing trust deficit, underperformance and insubordination” on his part.
It was made clear, however, that this was not a case against wrongful dismissal but one for defamation arising from a 10-point clarification issued by the Kashag on Nov 18, 2017 as the ground for the unceremonious termination of Mr Penpa Tsering’s service.
President Lobsang Sangay and his colleagues were represented by Mr Lobsang Dakpa, a lawyer and a member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile. Mr Penpa Tsering, also a former Tibetan parliament in Exile speaker, appeared with his counsel, Ms Namgyal Tsekyi. Those present at the hearing included members of the Tibetan parliament in exile, the media, and members of the public.
A preliminary motion for dismissal of the case was raised by Mr Lobsang Dakpa, saying the case would involve the name of the Dalai Lama. But the Chief Justice commissioner, Mr Kargyu Dhondup, declared that the name of the Dalai Lama could not, and should not, be associated with the case as he had already devolved all his powers and responsibility to the elected leadership.
The faming of issues proceeded rather briskly in the morning session. However, when the justice commission resumed its sitting in the afternoon and proceeding to continue to frame issues on the last two points, the Kashag’s counsel sought a three-month extension for answering some of the questions raised during the hearing.
With the plaintiff vigorously opposing the move, calling it a stalling tactic, the Chief Justice Commissioner said he would confer with his brother Justice Commissioners Dr Nawang Rabgyal Norpa and Karma Damdul and announce the next date of hearing, including on the question if an extension could be granted. He also made it clear that an extension, if granted, would be limited to the last two points on which the issues remained to be framed.