Tibetan justices are back, saying they only recused themselves for fair resolution of their sacking decision

Chief Justice Sonam Norbu Dagpo (center), Justice Karma Damdul (left), and Justice Tenzin Lungtok. (Photo courtesy: TT)

(TibetanReview.net, May24’21) – The three justice commissioners of the Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC), including the Chief Justice Commissioner, of the Central Tibetan Administration are back in office. They said in an announcement May 24, following their resumption of office, that they had never accepted the illegal decisions of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) on May 25 to remove them from office, but only recused themselves for the time being in the interest of justice.

The justice commissioners suggested in their announcement that they recused themselves to allow time for the illegal decision to be corrected by the pursuant courses of events but this had now been rendered impossible by the cancellation of the May 24 additional session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile due to lack of quorum.

The justice commissioners suggested that they had become a party interested in the outcome of any potential resolution of the question about the legality of the TPiE’s decision to try to remove them from office and therefore decided to stay away from office in the interest of ensuring natural justice.

The justice commissioners said in their announcement: “In order that our Tibetan brethren living in Tibet may not feel concerned and disappointed, for the sake of the steadfast sustenance of the Central Tibetan Administration, for the purpose of safeguarding the Tibetan democratic system, for reviving the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, for the purpose of restoring the three-pillars strength of Tibetan democracy, for ensuring harmony in the Tibetan community in exile, and, in particular, in order not to cause nuisance to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have decided to resume our office and its duties.”

They said the real danger in the face of the looming ending of terms of the present Sikyong and the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile in the absence of the TSJC, which plays a vital role in the transition, was that “we will be left devoid of all the three pillars of Tibetan democracy.”

A harried Standing Committee of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, which saw all its moves thus far to replace the justice commissioners with new ones thwarted by controversies, public outcries, and Covid-19 restrictions, has criticized the justice commissioners’ move, calling it a defiance of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, but did not say how.

The parliament’s decision to sack the justice commissioners has been severely criticized for its blatant illegality by commentators, analysts, and scholars alike.


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