Nima Wangdi

During the first reading of the Civil Liability Bill of Bhutan 2022 at the National Council (NC) yesterday, Haa’s Member of Parliament (MP), Ugyen Namgay, said the Bill’s application would lead to confusion during its enforcement.

Section VII of the Bill states that a provision of this Act that gives protection from civil liability does not limit the protection from liability given by another provision of this Act or by another Act or law.

Ugyen Namgay said that there would be problems during the enforcement as different Acts and laws can be referred. “Fines and penalties could also be unequal.”

He said that the aim of the Bill is to integrate all relevant laws and make it convenient, but the provision here spells otherwise. “There are chances of having more than one law for an issue.”

Zhemgang’s MP Pema Dakpa said that the application of the law prescribed is confusing. “We might not be able to find the laws if left as the legislative committee has proposed and it will lead to problems.”

NC chairperson, Tashi Dorji, instructed the legislative committee to relook into the sections.

There was also a lengthy discussion on the duty of professionals.

Gasa MP Dorji Khandu said that there is a need to have the legal professionals defined in the way health professional is done.

“The Bill defines only the health professional,” he said. “The subsequent subsection assumes all professionals. There is no need of defining health professionals as well.”

Pema Dakpa said there are different professions and it would be inclusive if left as professionals as general without specifying one. “Defining only health professionals and leaving the rest as general professionals doesn’t look good.”

The deputy chairperson of the legislative committee, eminent member Ugyen Tshering, who introduced the Bill, said a professional is defined as a person practising a profession.

He said there will be a long list if all the professionals have to be listed.

Ugyen Tshering explained that health professional is specified in the Bill because it is different from other professionals. “Many countries, who initially mentioned medical professionals in their laws changed it to the health professionals later.”

He said the health professionals could face an allegation of negligence and it is different from other professionals.

The deliberation will continue today.