Order for inventory of Rumtek properties by Dr. S.W. Lepcha, District Judge, East and North Sikkim at Gangtok, Civil Suit No.40-1998

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July 31st 1997– Gangtok Sikkim. Trustees of the Karmapa Charitable Trust filed a civil suit before the District Court of East and North Sikkim against the state of Sikkim and Gyatsab Rinpoche, to restore the status-quo of Rumtek Monastery as it existed before August 2nd 1993 and to conduct and inventory of the Rumtek properties to determine whether the possessions of the 16th Karmapa have been preserved and protected or not.

October 17th 2001– Following arguments form both sides, the District Judge passed a directive ordering the regional director of the Reserve Bank of India, Calcutta India to conduct an inventory of the properties of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Both Parties to the lawsuit were ordered to be present.

March 11th 2002– Gyatsab Rinpoche challenged the court’s order before the high court of Sikkim. He argued that were an inventory to take place, law and order problems would break out. Gyatsab Rinpoche also argued that the performance of an inventory would amount to an act of religious sacrilege. The high court of Sikkim refused to entertain such an argument and scheduled a full hearing on the issue for May 17th 2002.

On March 15th 2002 Gyatsab Rinpoche directed a meeting of the organization known as the “Denjong Lahdey Tshokpa” in Sikkim. The meeting was attended by the Chief Minister of Sikkim, as well as the Advocate General. In a speech before the gathering, the chief minister of Sikkim assured the crowd that he would again do everything in his power to bring Urgyen Thrinley to Rumtek by May 26th 2002 as the Joint Action Committee had requested him, but that it was in the hands of the Central Government to decide. He also pointed out that it was not in his power to change the court’s decision. The Chief Minister then publicly requested the Advocate General Sonam Phuntsok to represent the State Government and handle the legal case.

March 20th 2002– Gyatsab Rinpoche and his advisors came before the high court of Sikkim to request postponement of the date of the hearing from March 22nd 2002 to May 17th 2002. Gyaltsab Rinpoche also argued that if an inventory were to take place it would cause a blood bath in Rumtek. The court judge refused Gyaltsab’s Request for any postponement.

April 22nd 2002– Gyatsab Rinpoche took his request for a postponement before the Supreme Court of India where once again it was turned down. On April 29th 2002 Gyatsab Rinpoche came back before the High Court of Sikkim with a similar plea and was refused. On May 17th 2002 the court heard the case wherein Gyatsab Rinpoche requested further time to prepare his arguments, and the court was adjourned and rescheduled for June 18th 2002.
It should be noted that on two occasions, both in 1994 and 1995 Gyatsab Rinpoche and his supporters had written to the state government of Sikkim requesting just such an inventory of the 16th Karmapa’s Rumtek properties.

It should further be noted that the Karmapa Charitable Trust in mid 1998 presented this case to the courts and that on October 17, 2001 the court issued the order of conducting an inventory. The court gave this order after having rejected all arguments presented by the state of Sikkim and Gyatsab Rinpoche.To this date [2002] no inventory has been conducted due to the constant counter- suits that have been filed on behalf of the supporters of Orgyen Trinley Dorje. To members of a transparent and democratic society such actions are in themselves indicative of suspicious or guilty behavior. With nothing to hide, an inventory carried out by a neutral party should present no threat whatsoever to the innocent. This illogical protection of what has been touted, as legal and rightful ownership should present no threat whatsoever to those within their legal rights. So why are they stalling? What is missing? This is the same behavior that occurred when Situ Rinpoche’s “prediction” letter was requested to undergo a forensic test.

Gyatsab Rinpoche is party to further suits by a group known as the “Tsurphu Labrang” This suit is due to come before the District Court of East and North Sikkim in Gangtok. This lawsuit would decide whether the court will allow this body to become party to civil suit No.40 or not.