Former Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen leaves the National Assembly building after calling on the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel who accepted his resignation from the Cabinet and NA yesterday

Speaker has issued a writ to the ECB to fill vacant seats

Yangchen C Rinzin

Home Minister Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen formally resigned after both Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly accepted his resignation yesterday.

Lyonpo had tendered resignation in April.

The larger bench of the High Court convicted the minister to two months in prison for claiming false vehicle insurance amounting to Nu 226,546. The larger bench had upheld the High Court’s verdict.

The crime took place after he superannuated from the civil service and before he joined Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa to contest in the third National Assembly elections.

In keeping with the rules of procedures, Lyonpo also resigned as the Member of Parliament at the office of the Speaker of National Assembly (NA). He was elected as MP of Mongar Constituency in 2018.

Lyonpo has not yet resigned from the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa Party.

Accepting the resignation, NA Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel told Kuensel that Lyonpo’s resignation was accepted as per Section 18 of the National Assembly Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2008.

Section 18 of the National Assembly Act says: “A member may, by writing under his or her hand, addressed to the Speaker, if the House is in session, or the Secretary General if the House is not in session, resign his or her seat therein, and upon the acceptance of such resignation by the Speaker, the seat of that member shall become vacant.”

A member shall be entitled to retirement benefits on one’s resignation as per the rules and regulations. The member will not be entitled if the member is terminated or wilfully remains outside the country or fails to appear, testify or produce any document relating to their service as member. 

The speaker said that although the case is still with the Supreme Court, Dasho’s resignation was accepted based on the NA Act. “We cannot comment on how the case will turn out. But any member of parliament can tender resignation whether there is a case or not.”

Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen said that he decided to resign from the post himself without any external pressure because he wanted to show that in a democracy one should respect law and order and have faith in the law.

“As a human being, I thought maybe the case was interpreted wrong during the first verdict since it was based on only one judge but now about eight judges have studied the case and convicted,” he said. “Then I should also think that maybe, I may be wrong and I was involved in enacting laws, it’s not fair if I don’t respect the same laws.”

With many questioning Lyonpo’s integrity in contesting despite the case came in light before the election, Dasho said that he took part in election after seeking several legal advices. “However, the case was treated as criminal case. Now we must respect judiciary and not let people think we’re misusing the power by holding onto the same post.”

Lyonpo told Kuensel that despite all this he would continue to serve the nation as a citizen.

Meanwhile, upon the acceptance of the resignation, the seat of the Monggar Constituency has become vacant. The seat for Nganglam Constituency is also vacant, following the demise of late MP Choida Jamtsho.

The seats were declared vacant as per Section 20 of the Act and the Speaker has issued a writ to the Election Commission of Bhutan to fill both the vacant seats in keeping with the Section 22 of the Act.

“When the office of a member of the National Assembly becomes vacant for any reason other than the expiration of term, a writ for an election to fill the vacancy shall be issued within one month after the vacancy occurs and an election of a member to fill the vacancy shall be held within ninety days as from the date of vacancy,” the Act states.

Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen started his career in the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs on January 1, 1978.  In a span of 15 years, he served as dzongdag of Lhuentse, Samtse and Thimphu.

He also served as a Drangpon in the High Court from 2006 till 2009. In 2009, he was appointed as Secretary of Dzongkhag Development Commission before superannuating from the civil service in 2014 after serving service for 37 years.

In recognition of his services to the Tsawa-Sum, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen was conferred with the honor of Red Scarf from His Majesty the Fourth King in 1997.