In what was perhaps the first in Bhutanese parliament, the National Assembly Speaker on June 25 called off the post-lunch sitting due to lack of quorum.

The House was one member short of the quorum when MPs re-assembled in the hall after the lunch break.

The presence of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of each House respectively shall constitute a quorum for a sitting of the National Council or the National Assembly. 

This means that the House requires a minimum of 32 members, including the Speaker, for the House to begin any business order.

Of the total 47 members, 11 were out of station for various meetings and conferences.

Secretary general of the House, Sangay Duba, said that the quorum was met in the morning session and that some of those who were present in the morning had left to attend other activities after the lunch break. “They had planned other activities in the afternoon assuming that the session would end at 1.30pm,” he said.

The session usually ends at 1.30pm. However, the Speaker wanted to continue on the rectification of resolutions after the lunch break.

He explained that a quorum was not necessary throughout the deliberation. “Quorum must be fulfilled at the starting of the business order and at the time of voting,” he said.

According to the business order uploaded on the House’s website, the House was supposed to complete rectification of resolutions on the same day.

“The resolutions were lengthy and we took a long time for rectification because many motions were moved this session. Even if we had continued that afternoon, we wouldn’t have completed,” he said.

The secretary general said that the House is preparing how to go about rectification of resolutions from the next session and that the House might change the process.

“May be, we distribute written resolutions to members and go chapter-wise, instead of reading the whole text in the House. But that will be decided by the House,” Sangay Duba said.

MB Subba