The government said it has implemented the tobacco control act of Bhutan, 2010, as Thimphu district court slapped a jail term of three years on a 23-year-old monk student on Saturday.
The monk student, who is named Sonam Tshering of Semtokha Shedra Monastery, was found smuggling tobacco.
He was arrested and detained on January 24 after he was caught with 48 packets of chewing tobacco. The court verdict said, the tobacco worth Nu 120 that he purchased from India was illegal.
However, the victim confessed to the court that he was unaware of the existing law on tobacco and bought the drug for his personal consumption.
“I should be punished, but the penalty could have been lighter, as I wasn’t aware about the act,” the Kuensel wrote, quoting Tshering as saying after the verdict.
According to a press release from the court, although Tshering pleaded that he was ignorant about the law and appealed leniency for his crime, the court ruled that law surfaces after a proper legislative process, the report said.
“Ignorance of law is no excuse under the juristic principle, and that the law represents the popular will of the people,” stated the press release.
He was granted 10 working days to appeal to the high court.