The president did not follow the parliamentary procedure: the members of the CN

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Thinley Namgay

Members of the National Council (CN), during the meeting with the press on July 5, said that they were not satisfied with the decision of the President of the National Assembly as they presided over the independence of resources (HR) for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in July. 4 during the joint session.

Members claimed that the Chair did not follow sessional procedure.

NC members said that during the joint session, the President used a voting machine instead of a show of hands while deliberating on the independence of HR for the ACC.

The bill was not passed. There were 62 members out of 72 at that time. Only 20 members supported the bill; 37 said “no” and 5 abstained.

The program to ensure the independence of HR for ACC was put forward by the Joint Committee on the ACC (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2021 by mutual consensus. The joint committee is made up of three members from the opposition party, four from the government and five from the NC.

NC Vice President Jigme Wangchuk said the speaker deliberately used a voting machine so that incumbent government lawmakers who did not support the bill would not be seen by the ACC.

“It’s not procedure. The voting machine is supposed to be used only at the last minute. I haven’t experienced such a decision as an MP for 15 years,” Jigme Wangchuk said.

MP Chukha Sangay Dorji said the President’s decision to use a voting machine contradicts Article 68 of the 2017 Legislative Regulations, which states that no vote shall be taken on a separate session of the Article of a bill that was resolved by the joint committee. .

He asserted that the independence of HR for the ACC was necessary and expected all members to support it. “The ACC is now under the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC). ACC as an agency will become like a training ground for employees if they don’t have independence. »

However, President Wangchuk Namgyel said he decided according to procedure.

The President said the NC’s complaint was expected as they could not fulfill their aspiration to offer HR independence to the ACC. “If the bill had passed using the voting machine, would NC members have complained.”

The Chair stated that in accordance with Rule 61 of the 2017 Legislative Regulations, he attempted to provide more room for discussion by the Joint Committee. “I told the house to raise your hands on it. Only a few did. This made it clear that the house could decide the issue.

Article 61 stipulates that the motion presented by a member to amend the recommendation of the Joint Committee is seconded by a simple majority of the members present. The House returns the proposal to the Joint Committee for consideration and recommendation.

The President also cited Rule 62 of the 2017 Legislative Rules of Procedure regarding his ruling.

Article 62 states: “The final report may not be submitted for further amendments in the joint session and after the report has been submitted by the president or the deputy, the bill shall be put to the vote by the president . It will be adopted if approved by at least two-thirds of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting.

MP Gasa Dorji Khandu said the issue of independence of human resources for the ACC was not new and was of concern to him. “How can the ACC maintain check and balance if it has no independence? For example, the Electoral Commission of Bhutan has HR autonomy and performs its task well. »

The MP said that the attrition rate within the ACC is high and that it is essential to give HR autonomy to the ACC.

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