The Chief Justice of Bhutan retires
Lyonpo Sonam Tobgay , the chief justice of Bhutan retires at the age of 65 from the 15th of November 2014 . The chief justice has served the country for 43 years and the youngest person to receive red scarf from His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo in 1974 at age of 25. ‘
According to the press release from the royal court of justice the retirement of the chief justice was in accordance with the Constitution and the Judicial Service Act, the Chief Justice of Bhutan, Lyonpo announced his retirement and made a formal submission of his retirement to His Majesty a month ago.
The Chief justice was borned Lopen Tashi and Aum Nimin Daza of Nangkor in Pema Gatshel and he is an alumna of Dr. Graham Homes in Kalimpong. He had assumed many offices and served under various capacities in his illustrious career spanning 43 years in the service of the Royal Government.
He started his careers at a very early age. He served as (Ziminangma) Master of the household to His Majesty the Third King and (Soelpon) Chamberlain to His Majesty the Fourth King. In 1991, he was awarded the Deputy Minister’s rank and scarf. From 1991 till 2009, He served as the Chief Justice of High Court and became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on February 2010. His tenure as the President of SAARCLAW from January 2011 to May 2014 saw the revival of SAARCLAW as a pioneer organization for cooperation between legal luminaries of SAARC region.
Under the guidance of benevolent Monarchs, he brought about major reforms in the Judiciary with introduction of ICT, procedural uniformity, trainings of professional judges, and enhancing access to justice especially the infrastructural developments. The construction of the Supreme Court was carried out under his personal supervision.
He is also a strict disciplinarian and has contributed to imbibing the traditional culture, values, etiquette and discipline in the courts and among the judges.
He was the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee. This singular honour to guide the Constitution Drafting Committee was bestowed by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Drafting a constitution requires preknowledge of the various constitutions prevailing in the contemporary world, deep knowledge of law, and a thorough understanding of the history and ethos of Bhutan. He is fond of reading and writing, and has a wide collection of books. He has keen interest in political philosophies, in particular the Buddhist philosophies and has written papers on the subject.
He received many national and international awards, medals and recognition, some of which are “Order of the Druk Wangyel from His Majesty the Fifth Druk Gyalpo, “Medaille d’ Honneur” in recognition of outstanding contribution for the cause of Justice by the French Judiciary, International Jurist Award from the International Council of Jurist and the Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple, London. Photo: LyonpoUN was honored with a Degree of Doctorate of Law by the NALSAR University of Law in India.