In line with the LG members entitlement Act

LG: With most local leaders in Paro completing their tenure in August, should they resign before that, they will have to forego their benefits in line with the local government (LG) members entitlement Act.

DLG officials also clarified that the tenure of local leaders end on the first day of the first sitting as specified in the LG Act.

DLG’s officiating director Wangdi Gyeltshen said that there is no confusion on the resignation procedure. “Chairperson and deputy chairperson is that of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) and the gup and mangmi for Gewog Tshogde (GT),” he said.

Wangdi Gyeltshen also said that it is the fundamental right of local leaders to resign. In doing so, he said local leaders don’t require a certain time upon submitting the resignation like a month’s notice or so, as applicable to other agencies or employees.

“It’s clear when it comes to their entitlement that they will lose their gratuity if they resign before completing their term unless on medical grounds,” he said.

The LG entitlement Act states that a member retiring on completion of his or her term of office shall be entitled to gratuity. However, no gratuity shall be payable if a member retires before the completion of his or her term or if his or her service is terminated.

Incumbent local leaders will not receive their provident fund given the delay in implementing the LG entitlement Act for lack of rules and regulations.

However, gups are entitled a gratuity of Nu 100,000, Nu 75,000 for mangmis and Nu 35,000 for tshogpas upon completion of five-year term. A gup is entitled to a basic salary of Nu 20,000, mangmis Nu 15,000 and Nu 7,000 for tshogpas currently.

With the second LG elections scheduled in July, incumbent local leaders vying for a second term are anxious when they should resign. The local leaders, during the last DT session on May 19, expressed concerns over the lack of clarity and inconsistencies in the various Acts that lead to the confusion.

Article 22, section 21, of the Constitution prescribes that a local government will continue for five years unless dissolved prematurely. The election Act, however, states that a LG should be reconstituted on the date of expiry.

The DT then decided that they would write to the agencies concerned to clarify the doubts. Accordingly, on May 24, the DT chairman wrote to DLG seeking clarification on the confusion over the tenure of local leaders vying for a second term.

The letter states that many local leaders vying for second term have submitted their resignation, but the Constitution and the LG Act mandates local leaders to complete the five-year term. Therefore, the letter seeks clarification on whether local leaders can resign before completion of their tenures. Secondly, it also seeks clarification on whether the local leaders have to refund expenses to the government if they resign before their tenure.

Thirdly, it states that the LG Act and the rules and regulations state that if a gup resigns, he or she should submit the resignation to the mangmi. However, if both the gup and the mangmi wish to resign, it is not clear where to submit their resignations. Therefore, the letters seeks clarification about where to submit their resignations should a tshogpa, mangmi or gup wish to resign.

A copy of the letter was also attached to the National Assembly, Election Commission of Bhutan, Paro dzongdag, home ministry and the dzongkhag election officer.

Sections 26 and 27 of the LG Act on the resignation of members states that a member may resign by submitting a letter of resignation to the chairperson.

If the chairperson is absent or if the member who intends to resign is the chairperson, the letter of resignation shall be submitted to the deputy chairperson.

DT chairperson, Lamgong Gup Phub Tshering said that the LG Act fails to specify whether it is the GT or DT chairperson. “We then referred the rules and regulations and it is still unclear,” he said.

According to the LG rules and regulations, a member may resign from the DT and GT in accordance with sections 26 and 27 of the LG Act. The chairperson or the gup, as the case may be, if satisfied shall accept the resignation and read the resignation into the minutes of the meeting and thereafter the seat of that member shall become vacant.

It further states that if the chairperson or the gup is absent, the letter of resignation shall be submitted to the deputy chairperson or the mangmi. If the member who intends to resign is the chairperson or the gup, the letter of resignation shall be submitted to the deputy chairperson or the mangmi.

As of yesterday, five of the 10 gups in Paro have submitted their resignations to the DT chairperson.

Kinga Dema