Government respects SC writ: PM

LG: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that his government welcomes the Supreme Court writ issued to the Election Commission to defer thromde elections in the remaining 16 dzongkhags.

“The government accepts interpretation and follows the content in the writ and we’ll do it with full faith,” Lyonchoen told reporters during the Meet the Press session yesterday.

The government has proposed for establishment of the thromdes, the legislature agreed with the dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes and then it was back to the executive to implement.

The Supreme Court has decided that we need to take a closer look at how the thromdes are going to function, on how elections are going to be held, and as a matter of fact when the elections are going to be held, Lyonchoen said.

The Supreme Court’s decision comes from their mandate to safeguard the Constitution and interpret its provisions.

“As the executive and members of the legislature, we welcome their actions and decisions because they are fulfilling their job,” Lyonchoen said. “We’re bound by their interpretations of the Constitution.”

He said that it was not about the government versus the Supreme Court. The executive and legislative have done their jobs and the judiciary is also doing its job, he said.

However, he condemned the opposition party for politicising the work of the judiciary. The opposition party in a post on its official Facebook page on August 18 said that they have vehemently opposed the government’s decision.

“The irrational and mad rush to establish twenty dzongkhag thromdes and twenty yenlag throms at one go is the biggest among many blunders of the government,” the opposition party’s post stated.

The government was able to push the Local Government Act 2014 and the subsequent thromde demarcations through Parliament based on the argument that the Constitution required the establishment of twenty dzongkhag thromdes and twenty yenlag throms, the post stated.

The Prime Minister said that the Supreme Court’s writ should not be politicised as the opposition party is trying to do.

“This is not a writ against the government,” Lyonchoen said.

If they have felt strongly they should have told us, Lyonchoen said, adding that the voting records during the deliberations on the issues in the Parliament do not show that they were opposed vehemently, he said.

In the joint sitting, 55 out of 60 voted yes to amend the LG Act.

Similarly while establishing thromdes, 20 yenlag and 16 dzongkhag thromdes, the joint sitting of the Parliament had 64 members present and 56 voted yes.

“This indicates that the MPs supported the government,” Lyonchoen said.

Politicising the writ and trying to gain political mileage from the Supreme Court’s good job is highly objectionable, Lyonchoen said.

“If the opposition party had serious concerns and misgivings, there were channels of communication none of which were exercised,” Lyonchoen said.

He said the writ only postponed the formation of the thromde tshogdes and not overturned the establishment of the thromdes.

The government will continue to work on the plans to develop the thromdes under the dzongkhag administrations.

The Constitution also states that dzongkhag tshogdus have to have members from the thromdes. “Then question is: is the dzongkhag tshogdu legal or not? It definitely is not complete but that’s a personal interpretation,” he said.

The Supreme Court, although not mentioned in the writ, has implied that the dzongkhag tshogdu, even though not complete, is legal and that the government must comply with its decision.

Tshering Palden

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