SC’s Grievance Cell remains unutilized by the public

Established on August 8, 2022, the Cell’s purpose is to meet the aspirations of justice service consumers and improve the judicial service

While many people have no qualms about writing against poor services provided by public institutions on social media forums, the Grievance Cell was set up by the Supreme Court (SC) in order to understand and address the aspirations and needs of justice service consumers and thereby ensure improved judicial service, received just nine complains since establishment.

Moreover, seven were about verdicts, which do not fall under the purview of the cell.

According to the SC’s Registrar General (RG) Drangpon Gembo Dorji, the complaints were not against the judicial service but with the judgments. “As of now, the unit received only nine complaints. Seven complaints were on verdicts while only one was on enforcement and one was on due process,” he said, adding that the unit is to assess any allegations against the Judiciary and its employees by any media or individual.

The court has a different appealing process for judgments passed if the individuals are unsatisfied. “The Grievance Cell has no hand on verdicts,” he said. He said that the sole purpose is to facilitate the judiciary to take appropriate actions against responsible court officials if the allegations are found true.

“The cell is not used for the meant purpose,” the RG said, adding that if the unit is not used optimally, it becomes defunct and does not serve the purpose. The RG added that the public should complain to improve the court delivery services.

According to the Judiciary, “Any person can register any written grievance or complaint regarding any matter relating to the judiciary and the conduct of its personnel.” However, “the Cell will not entertain any grievance or complaint against judicial order or judgment or matter that is sub-judice.

Any such matter must be appealed to or filed before a higher court The Cell will liaise with the Chief Justice of Bhutan through the Office of the Registrar General of the Supreme Court in addressing the grievances and complaints.”

The purposes according to the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) of the Grievance Cell are to understand and appreciate the needs, difficulties, and aspirations of the justice service consumers, address aspirations and meet the expectations of the justice service consumers, and enhance and ensure improved judicial service.

The grievance cell established at the Supreme Court is led by the Registrar General of the High Court under the supervision of the Registrar General of the Supreme Court (RGSC). The Cell under the instruction of the Chief Justice of Bhutan may form Committees to assist the Cell in carrying out its mandates.

Meanwhile, to make the Cell effective and inform people who may be unaware of its existence, the RG of the SC has plans to educate the public through talk shows and other media platforms.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu