Responding to the question from the representative from South Thimphu, Works and Human Settlement minister Dorji Choden said that the establishment of thromde in remaining dzongkhags depends on elections.

“I have gone around and met people in dzongkhags as well as in the gewogs and talked with them, and they are not confused,” Lyonpo said. “Maybe it’s the law makers who are confusing people with different interpretation on the Supreme Court’s writ.”

MP Yeshey Zimba said that writ of mandamus was issued, which mentioned that establishment of the twenty dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes were unconstitutional.

He said that this has confused and worried the people if they would be deprived of the facilities and if the promised thromde would ever be established in the dzongkhags.

“It’s almost a year after the writ was issued. So, we do not know if the dzongkhag and yenlag thromde will come through.

Yeshey Zimba asked if the minister could inform what are the plans, alternatives and solutions that are being put in place to establish thromdes lawfully.

The ECB was issued the writ after coming across several legal and administrative and related issues. The writ was issued just when the remaining dzongkhags were preparing to hold thromde elections.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that while government agrees that there were several discussions on the issue, if people are worried, this means they are concerned and indicates how important the thromde is for them. She added that the government’s responsibility is to finalise and declare the boundary of each thromde.

“All the works done by the government were lawfully implemented before the Parliament declared the thromdes,” Lyonpo said, adding that the writ had only asked to revisit the relevant laws that conflicted with the provisions of the constitution.

Lyonpo said the Article 22 (2) of the Constitution states that “Bhutan shall have local governments in each of the twenty dzongkhags comprising the dzongkhag thsogdu, gewog tshogde and thromde tshogde,” which is why the government had put up to parliament for the need of thromdes establishment.

“Everybody in the house supported the discussion then and the thromdes were declared, which is why it is not unconstitutional,” Lyonpo said. “The writ mentioned that to fulfill the Constitutional mandate, the election should be held through mass participation and required size of population in the constituencies.”

Lyonpo added that to institute a thromde tshogde as per the Local Government (LG) Act, the thromde shall consist of not less than seven and not more than 10 elected members.

The delimitation should consider the number of registered voters and size of demkhong.

“These were some of the issues that was mentioned in the writ, which conflicted with the LG Act. The establishment of thromdes would be deferred until a legal expert is formed,” said Lyonpo Dorji Choden.

Yangchen C Rinzin