Tshering Palden

The National Assembly yesterday withdrew the Impeachment Procedure Bill 2019 after the National Council resent the Bill to the House and reasserting the importance of the Bill.

The Chairperson of the Legislative Committee and member in charge of the Bill, Tshewang Lhamo proposed the withdrawal of the Bill on three grounds.

She said that the committee was of the view that all the provisions of the Constitution are not made in to separate laws. “The Bill could be introduced at an appropriate time in the future as per requirement and also encompassing other aspects.”

Tshewang Lhamo said that Bill would be inappropriate at the moment as the constitutional offices are held by capable persons selected for best candidates and appointed by His Majesty The King. “If the holders of the constitutional offices are to be impeached on the basis of law, it poses a risk of contravening with our old age tradition,” she said.

The committee also proposed that the Bill be drafted and consolidated with a provision of no-confidence votes against the government in future and at an appropriate time.

Legislative Rules of Procedure (LRoP) 2017 states that a Bill passed by one House may be withdrawn by the other House on the grounds of, but not limited to, the legislative proposal covered in the Bill being dropped or a more comprehensive Bill on the same subject being proposed at a later date.

According to the LRoP, where a Bill has been passed by the National Council and is pending before the National Assembly, the Assembly may recommend to the National Council that leave be granted to withdraw the Bill.

“If leave is not granted by the other House for withdrawal of the Bill, the Bill shall then follow the procedures outlined for Disputed Bills,” it states.

NC members raised strong arguments on the need for the Bill during the deliberation of the Bill on February 4 after NA decided to withdraw it earlier this session.

NC in line with Article 32 of the Constitution, NC drafted the Impeachment Procedure Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2019 for constitutional office bearers.

Members said that the Impeachment Procedure Bill is very important in a democratic nation. It has been 12 years since constitutional offices were established. We don’t have an impeachment act in place right now. It is clearly reflected in the Constitution that the Parliament is entitled to build an impeachment Bill and impeach those that violate the laws.

“Their reasons for objections are vague and we cannot accept that. That is why we decided to re-deliberate during the joint sitting and we will wait for Royal Command,” a member said.

The Chief Justice of Bhutan, Drangpons of Supreme Court, Chief Justice and Drangpons of the High Court, Chief Election Commissioner, Auditor General, Chairpersons of Royal Civil Service Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission are considered the constitutional office bearers.