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Public interest matter should be reported to concerned authority, not on Facebook, argues RBP

By Puran Gurung

In the rebuttal, the Royal Bhutan Police on the ongoing defamation case it lodged against a private businessman, Penjore Penjore submitted to the court that matters of public interest should be reported to the concerned authority and not post on Facebook.

Reiterating the first hearing, the Royal Bhutan Police prosecutor argued that Penjore Penjore Facebook post may pose threat to the trust and confidence of the people on the countryโ€™s justice system, and additionally, the RBPโ€™s prosecutor also submitted that matters of public interest, as Penjore Penjore claim his post is, it should have been reported to concerned authority and not post it on Facebook.

Additionally, Penjore Penjore refused to justify RBPโ€™s claim if he stands right to report a baseless report. According to Penjore Penjore, the RBP failed to justify โ€˜official misconductโ€™ and โ€˜failure to report crimeโ€™ despite the court ordering the RBPโ€™s prosecutor to maintain focus on the two charges. 

In the submission to the court, RBPโ€™s prosecutor also added that the defendant has violated section 317 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (2011) amounting to defamation and that the defendant should pay compensation to OAG for it.

According to section 317 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of defamation, if the defendant intentionally causes damage to the reputation of another person or a legal person by communicating false or distorted information about that personโ€™s action, motive, character, or reputation.

The chargesheet again quoted the businessmanโ€™s Facebook post of May 4 verbatim: โ€œShocking Bigger Crime at the Bhutanโ€™s OAG Level โ€“ A guilty Secret Cheating Case through Collusion โ€“ A National Shameโ€; โ€œDANGEROUS and greater corruption happening in the OAGโ€; and โ€œBhutan completely into NoW converting Bhutan as a complete lawless County in the eyes of the Worldโ€ฆโ€ฆMonstrous Wrongdoing of OAG is not corrected immediatelyโ€.

The case is pertaining to the businessmanโ€™s Facebook post on May 4, 2021. His post raised issue regarding the forgery by 12 former employees of Bhutan National Bank Limited

(BNBL). In it, he said, there was a collusion with the Office of the Attorney General

(OAG) and BNBL because OAG dropped probable charges of official misconduct and failure to report crime against BNBLโ€™s executive management committee.

According to Royal Bhutan Police, it alleges that the businessman by writing a false statement and spreading it through social media platform demeaning the Office of the Attorney General, the statement caused a potential threat to the trust and confidence of the people on the justice system of the country.

The businessman, Penjore Penjore will submit his rebuttal on January 10.

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