High Court upholds District Court’s judgment in Penjore’s case

Penjore to appeal to the Supreme court

The High Court upheld the Thimphu District Court’s judgment on the compensation claim by Penjore for his detention for 16 days. The judgment passed on August 31 and upheld the District Court’s judgment acquitting of defamation charges.

The case was registered with the Thimphu District Court in November last year.

Rebutting, Penjore had submitted that he should get compensation for the arrest and detention for 16 days in May last year. However, the court denied the compensation stating that an individual can be detained for investigation as per the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan, according to the judgment.

On another ground, Penjore appealed to the High Court in June stating that the seven officials from the Bhutan National Bank Ltd involved in recruitment should be charged.

Attending the judgment hearing, Business Bhutan learned that High Court too dismissed the compensation appeal upholding District Court’s judgment. The judgment also stated that the appellant could neither specify the nature of the injury suffered nor the claimed amount.

The presiding judges said that while reviewing, there was no evidence to charge on official misconduct or conflict of interest between the officials and the employees involved in forgery.

The District Court judgment stated that the BNBL officials were not aware of forgery and therefore there was no way for them to report the crime.

Penjore however said that he had submitted strong evidence to the District Court to prove the official misconduct of BNBL adding his arrest was “arbitrary and therefore he should be compensated.”

Questioning the accountability of OAG officials involved in dropping the charges against BNBL officials, the judgment states that the OAG has the authority to review the charges submitted by police and decide accordingly.

Penjore was accused of defaming the Office of the Attorney General through his Facebook post last year.

But the judgment stated that Penjore shared post was of public interest, exercising his freedom of speech.

Police could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that by Penjore’s shared post did not affect BNBL and OAG. The court acquitted him of the defamation charges.

Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the High Court’s judgment, Penjore is planning to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Penjore Penjore alleged for defamation of the Office of Attorney General (OAG) through his Facebook post in May 2021 and has petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) for hotel closure compensation.

The former convict of defamation charges was acquitted by the Thimphu District Court on 9 May this year and has appealed to the SC to compensate about Nu 229mn on 28 July.

The amount of compensation is calculated for six years. Hotel Kuenzang Norling International in Dekiling, Bumthang run by Penjore is closed since 9 July 2016 after the case involving millions of Ngultrums between an individual, Penjore, and the Bhutan National Bank (BNB).

The verdict passed by the Bumthang dzongkhag court ordered the bank to take over the property that was mortgaged with the bank if Penjore failed to pay the entire principal loan amount with interest to the bank.

The earning compensation totaled Nu 219mn up to 9 July this year. The owner estimates earning of Nu 0.1 mn per night which would amount to the amount of the appeal in six years.

Penjore also claimed that the properties of the hotel and hotel are depreciated. Therefore, he said, “BNB should also compensate for the hotel and properties damaged.” The owner calculated Nu 10mn as maintenance charges adding that he should be also compensated for the remaining closure months after July this year.

He said that after locking, his hotel remained without business.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu