Call it their unfaltering faith, ignorance or sheer naivety, a group of people seeking leniency on behalf of those convicted in the Gyelpozhing land allotment case is a manifestation of how we fail to understand the rule of law. In fact, this reflects our perception, attitude, and understanding of how the law operates in the country.
This is not the first time though that a particular interest group has pulled off such a show. After a bruising lost in 2008 elections, a multitude of People Democratic Party (PDP) supporters even petitioned the King to give up democracy and restore monarchy. Of course, we must give them the benefit of doubt that this move was triggered by their genuine concern for the greater good of the country. Or perhaps, the shock of the loss.
However, as far as the right to do so is concerned, every individual can afford to exhaust all possible means to seek justice for themselves and for others. No questioning about that fundamental right. The problem arises when we tend to overlook the significance of the rule of law, and make concerted efforts to sidestep it.
In the Gyelpozhing case, after a month-long trial, the Mongar court gave its verdict. As is the course of law, the accused had 10 days to appeal to the High Court, which a few of them have already done.
That’s the rule of law. Courts pass judgments and those not happy with it can always appeal to an appellate court. This is how it works. This is how the legal procedures are crafted and put to practice.
Now add to this picture a group of people trying to petition the Supreme Court to undo the decision made by the lower court. Firstly, it is interesting to know their motivation for doing so. Secondly, it only goes to show that they do not understand the nuances of law. Thirdly, interested parties or groups lobbying for the accused must realize this isn’t at all the legitimate way to go about things. Such bargaining is unnecessary and totally unreasonable.
Such an endeavor of certain section of our society at times only enlarges our inability to accept the hard realities of life. We fail to understand that the essence of democracy is the rule of law. We can’t bypass it or seek an easier way out.
A lesson we can take home from these experiences is that there is pressing need to educate our citizens on the importance of the rule of law, democratic rights and freedoms and certain limitations that we must be willing to compromise with. In the end, if we want democracy to flourish, we must at all times value and respect the rule of law.