ECB re­ceives 10 cases on re­lated to the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod

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Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) had re­ceived 10 cases through the Elec­tion Dis­pute Settlement Sys­tem in the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign pe­riod. The six cases are in ap­peal pe­riod and four cases cur­rently un­der process.

Dokar-Sharpa, Paro

The Cen­tral Elec­tion Dis­pute Settlement Body (CEDSB) re­ceived the com­plaint on Septem­ber 21. Tsagay and Kado lodged case against Thin­ley Wangdi and DNT’s can­di­date, Nam­gay Tsh­er­ing.

Af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a hear­ing in­clud­ing at­ten­dance by two key wit­nesses was con­ducted on Septem­ber 27, ac­cord­ing to ECB.

The CEDSB’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion found out that Thin­ley Wangdi do­nated re­li­gious items to the Drakha Tsen Neykhang in in­stall­ments be­fore the Elec­tion Pe­riod start­ing from 2017.

How­ever, there was no ev­i­dence to prove that it was for elec­toral gain. Sim­i­larly, Thin­ley Wangdi was al­leged for the serv­ing the drinks to the peo­ple whereas the pro­posed Wang pro­gramme had not been per­mit­ted and was not con­ducted in the Vil­lage.

The CEDSB fined the com­plainants for lodg­ing the com­plaint without proper fact and find­ings and, caus­ing dis­tur­bance to the small com­mu­nity and were re­quired to bear the ex­pen­di­ture for the two wit­nesses who were asked to at­tend the hear­ing.

The case was ap­pealed to the ECB who pro­vided both par­ties the op­por­tu­nity of a hear­ing and re­viewed the ad­di­tional sub­mis­sions that were made.

The com­mis­sion issued warn­ing to the two key wit­nesses since they were found in pro­vid­ing dif­fer­ent state­ment to the author­i­ties and to the com­plainants, ECB states. CEDSB can­celled the pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion for the two wit­nesses and ECB up­held the CEDSB’s de­ci­sion to is­sue warn­ing and fine two com­plainants the min­i­mum wage for one month. Ac­cord­ing to ECB, the Pub­lic Elec­tion Fund Di­vi­sion will deal on the is­sue of Kado be­ing in DPT’s mem­ber­ship list as sub­mit­ted with the Let­ter of In­tent, whereas Kado de­nied be­ing a mem­ber or even reg­is­ter­ing as a mem­ber, and the pos­ses­sion of a tem­po­rary card issued by the DNT to Thin­ley Wangdi is to in due course of time.

Nubi-Tangsi­bji, Trongsa

Nidup Zangpo lodged the com­plaint against, DNT’s can­di­date, Yeshey Pen­jor for al­leg­ing that he had circulated a mes­sage on WeChat that In­dian Sup­port to Bhutan would be com­pro­mised if DPT was elected.

The Trongsa Dzongkhag Elec­tion Dis­pute Settlement Body (DEDSB) re­ceived the com­plaint on Septem­ber 19. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that the re­spon­dent in vi­o­la­tion of the le­gal pro­vi­sions and issued a warn­ing and im­posed a fine of min­i­mum wage for two months. There was no fur­ther ap­peal and case is closed, ac­cord­ing to ECB

Pema Gat­shel

The Pema Gat­shel DEDSB re­ceived the com­plaint from DNT mem­ber, Chimi Dorji against San­gay for al­legedly threat­en­ing to kill him and DNT mem­ber, Ngawang Dorji on Spetem­ber 25.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found out that San­gay had threat­ened un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol. How­ever, the al­leged threat to kill Chimi Dorji was a false state­ment, ECB states.

The DEDSB issued warn­ing to Chimi Dorji and Dorji Wangchuk for spread­ing ma­li­cious in­for­ma­tion on so­cial me­dia and San­gay Dorji was warned for cre­at­ing nui­sance un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol. The case was closed with no fur­ther ap­peal.

Pu­nakha

The Of­fice of Me­dia Ar­bi­tra­tor (OMA) re­ceived the com­plaint lodged by DPT’s gen­eral sec­re­tary, San­gay Phurba against DNT’s co­or­di­na­tor of Pu­nakha, Nam­gay Rinchen on al­leg­ing the spread of false news through so­cial me­dia, WeChat of on 2nd of Oc­to­ber 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to ECB, the re­spon­dent ac­cepted that he sent the WeChat mes­sage and he was issued a warn­ing and im­posed a fine of min­i­mum wage for 30 days.

Dzongkhag So­cial Me­dia Mon­i­tors are to be added in to both par­ties’ so­cial me­dia group to re­duce sim­i­lar kind of dis­putes in fu­ture. ECB states that the case is cur­rently in the ap­peal pe­riod.

Trashi Yangtse

The Trashi Yangtse DEDSB re­ceived a com­plaint lodged by DPT’s co­or­di­na­tor against DNT’s mem­ber, Samten Wangdi for his WeChat state­ment on Oc­to­ber 3. DEDSB warned and im­posed a min­i­mum wage for 30 days to the re­spon­dent. The case is in ap­peal pe­riod.

Sam­drup Jhongkhar

Sam­drup Jhongkhar DEDSB re­ceived the com­plaint lodged by DPT’s co­or­di­na­tor, Tsh­er­ing Dorji against PDP mem­bers; Tendi Zangpo, Tsh­er­ing Dargey and Kezang Norbu al­leg­ing the re­spon­dents of un­due in­flu­ence and abet­ting dishar­mony on Oc­to­ber 3.

The DEDSB found vi­o­la­tion of Elec­toral Laws and im­posed fine of min­i­mum wage for thirty days for all the three re­spon­dents. The Body fur­ther rep­ri­manded all the re­spon­dents not to spread false ru­mors and re­frain from such com­ments dur­ing elec­tion pe­riod. The case is cur­rently in the ap­peal pe­riod.

Khar-Yu­rung, Pema gat­shel

The CEDSB re­ceived the com­plaint by DNT on state­ment and al­le­ga­tion by DPT’s Khar-Yu­rung can­di­date, Tsh­er­ing Cho­den at the pub­lic de­bate on Oc­to­ber 5. The al­le­ga­tions was in­volve­ment of re­tired armed force per­son­nel in in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple to vote for DNT. And the threat by black magic, in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice found by the Pema Gat­shel DEDSB as be­ing a base­less and a warn­ing was issued to the in­for­mant Aum Phomey.

Ac­cord­ing to ECB, the can­di­date stated that the cit­i­zen­ship is­sue of fa­ther­less chil­dren, in­clud­ing with non-na­tional fathers, born to a Bhutanese mother is some­thing that her party will solve and also al­leged in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­toral process upon “Or­ders” from higher author­i­ties on Oc­to­ber 6 dur­ing the live pub­lic de­bate.

Ac­cord­ing to ECB, she was pro­vided op­por­tu­nity to be heard by the Chief Elec­tion Co­or­di­na­tor and the Re­turn­ing Officer and her ex­pla­na­tions were duly re­ceived by the elec­tion author­i­ties.

DNT lodged a com­plaint against the can­di­date on her state­ment made in re­la­tion to “cen­sus” dur­ing the live pub­lic de­bate stat­ing that it is a bla­tant act of un­due in­flu­ence; in vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion on Royal Prerog­a­tives, the pro­vi­sion of the Elec­tion Act on Royal Pa­tron­age, un­due in­flu­ence and vi­lat­ing the code of con­duct be­sides not be­ing in the paty man­i­festo on Oc­to­ber 7.

The ECB, af­ter thor­ough re­view and ex­am­i­na­tion, de­cided to is­sue warn­ing and im­pose a fine of the min­i­mum wage for sixty days and re­strain the can­di­date, her rep­re­sen­ta­tive and party work­ers from cam­paign­ing for rest the of the cam­paign­ing pe­riod in the con­stituency to en­sure that ill-will is not in­sti­gated in the com­mu­nity through mis­lead­ing and di­vi­sive mes­sages.

Sam­drup Jhongkhar

The sam­drup Jhongkhar DEDSB re­ceived com­plaint lodged by DNT’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive against DPT’s co­or­di­na­tor, Ch­horten Tsh­er­ing for al­le­ga­tion of threat­en­ing life and ha­rass­ment on phone call on Septem­ber 8. The case was dis­missed as it was found not a Prima Fa­cie Case. The case is cur­rently in the ap­peal pe­riod.

Nganglam, Pema gat­shel

The com­plaint lodged by DPT’s can­di­date, Choeda Jamt­sho against PDP mem­ber, nam­sey Wangdi on his state­ment in WeChat on Oc­to­ber 8. The DEDSB issued warn­ing and im­posed a penalty of the min­i­mum wage of 30 days to Nam­say Wangdi on Oc­to­ber 9. The case is cur­rently in ap­peal pe­riod.

Nanong-Shu­mar, Pema Gat­shel

The com­plaint lodged by DNT mem­bers, Dorji Gyelt­shen, Kin­ley Wangdi and Pas­sang Dorji against Cheku Wangyel of Nanong-Shu­mar, Pema Gat­shel for defam­a­tory voice mes­sages against DNT on Oc­to­ber 1.The case is cur­rently un­der ap­peal pe­riod.

Ac­cord­ing to the ECB also re­ceived com­plaint from the DNT’s gen­eral sec­re­tary on DPT’s can­di­date Ugyen Wangdi of Dramedtse-Ngat­shang con­sti­tutuency, Mon­gar as per Rule 23.6 of the Elec­tion Dis­pute Settlement of Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of the King­dom of

Bhutan, 2018.

The case is pub­licly rep­ri­manded un­der Rule 29.1.5 of the Elec­tion Dis­pute Settlement Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of the King­dom of Bhutan, 2018, upon be­ing found li­able un­der Rule 31.2 of the Postal Bal­lot Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of the King­dom of Bhutan, 2018 which pro­vides that:

“Any per­son who makes or in­duces any other per­son to make a false state­ment in an ap­pli­ca­tion for a Postal Bal­lot Pa­per… shall be guilty of an of­fence pun- ish­able un­der the Elec­tion Act.”

Re­gard­ing the man­age­ment of so­cial me­dia by ECB, the OMA in­clud­ing the 20 Dzongkhag So­cial Me­dia Mon­i­tors and 2 Na­tional So­cial Me­dia Mon­i­tors, had found 15 Face­book posts ob­jec­tion­able by the mon­i­tors dur­ing pri­mary round. Ac­cord­ing to ECB, three were re­moved by the orig­i­nat­ing so­cial me­dia users and four re­moved by the Face­book author­i­ties while eight re­mained un­re­solved although taken up with Face­book author­i­ties.

In the on­go­ing Gen­eral Elec­tion, 22 Face­book posts were found ob­jec­tion­able of which four were re­moved by the orig­i­nat­ing user, six were re­moved by the Face­book author­i­ties and 12 are un­der process and be­ing fol­lowed up.

The 20 So­cial Me­dia Mon­i­tors are in the var­i­ous WeChat groups of the re­spec­tive can­di­dates, and co­or­di­na­tors as de­ter­rent mea­sure although it is a chal­lenge to mon­i­tor all WeChat groups which is mush­room­ing for var­i­ous pur­poses, ECB states.

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