Despite NC’s efforts, NA rejects Entitlement Bill once again

Tashi Dema 

The National Assembly yesterday rejected the Ministers’ and Equivalent Post Holders’ Entitlement Bill 2019.

This is the second time NA rejected the deliberation of the Bill.

NA rejected the Bill on January 16 when foreign minister moved the verbal motion for the deliberation. Only 15 of the 45 members present raised their hands in favour of deliberating the Bill then.

Yesterday, it was the Bji-Katsho Member of Parliament (MP) Ugyen Tenzin who introduced the Bill to the assembly but it was not deliberated since only 14 of the 44 members present raised hand to deliberate it.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel expressed his regret for the bill’s non-deliberation.

He said after NA rejected the Bill last time, NC wrote to NA explaining the need for the two houses to work together to frame laws. “The NC chairperson came personally to request for the deliberation. I discussed with the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader and they supported the deliberation.”

However, Speaker said that according to the rules, it should be a majority decision whether to deliberate the Bill or not.

He said that the National Assembly Act 2008 does not allow a Bill to be introduced in a session in the same year if it was rejected unless by leave of the assembly. “So we will have to reintroduce it and decide whether it will be redeliberated.”

He said he expected the members to support the redeliberation this time. “But this is democracy and there is nothing much I can do. We will explain it to NC.”

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said he supported the deliberation this time, as he believed it gives an opportunity for the two houses to work together. “It’s not about who is right or wrong but its benefit to the country.”

Meanwhile, the Ministers’ and Equivalent Post Holders’ Entitlement Bill 2020 was one of the eight Bills that have been tabled in the House. The Bill was passed by National Council (NC) as a private member’s Bill and forwarded to the Assembly last year.

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