Kangaroo court sends two minors to prison


In contrary to what Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley has been trumpeting in the name of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and Bhutanese model of democracy, a district court convicted one 15-year-old minor  of malicious mischief and criminal attempt, slapping him two years and three months jail, Wednesday. Another child has been sentenced a jail term of six months.

According to a verdict of Wangduephorang District Court, the child and his 16-year-old friend, who were charged of threatening a schoolteacher, were found guilty of ‘malicious mischief and criminal attempt’.

The state-run Kuensel has declined to name both the minors in its report, but confirmed their imprisonment, for the first time in the country.

Both the child offenders have reportedly confessed to the Kangaroo court of writing three warning chits to their Dzongkha teacher and setting of a cracker outside his apartment in an attempt to correct him from rendering corporal punishment.

Interestingly, nobody in the school said they knew of the explosion at the school campus, as claimed by the teacher. But, police allegedly found some pieces of paper and white powder in the so-called ‘explosion site’.

The verdict, which is said to be based on the Panel Code of Bhutan, said the prison term has been reduced to six months from one year each considering the offenders as minors.

A clause relating to sentencing of juvenile states, “If the defendant is a child of above 10 years, the court may sentence the juvenile of minimum half of the sentence prescribed for the offence.”

The 15-year-old child also received an additional 21 months prison term in connection with a burglary.

The Kangaroo court could have considered availability of other facilities and correctional institutions in lieu of imprisonment, but the verdict failed to incorporate that.

“If a juvenile is found guilty of an offense for which imprisonment is prescribed, the court may in lieu of imprisonment consider the availability of other appropriate facilities and correctional institutions,” states another clauses of the Panel Code.

Bhutan ‘unconstitutionally’ ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 23 May 1990, expressing commitment to providing every possible support to children in the country.


  1. Meanwhile… a Kangaroo Court is a court that is not real (a mock court) where principles of law and justice are disregarded.

    PS- the reporter should have written ‘ A Kangaroo court in Bhutan’. The headline is misleading!

  2. Is there an independent court in Bhutam which can look into the denial and violations of human rights violations of southern Bhutanese whose children are not allowed to learn their mother tongue in schools and whose dress is still banned? Is it not an encroachment of fundamental democratic rights and against the constitution to ask NOC from citizens? Is there a law allowing NOC?

  3. Hey writer, what happen to you??? Did you mean Dragon Court???? Why did you write kangaroo Court??? There is no Kangaroo court in Bhutan, but Kangaroo is related to Australia, Any thing to do with Bhutan is called “Dragon” ok, NOT Kangaroo!!! Blunder mistake!!!!
    –Bhanay Adhikari