One resignation too many

An MP has resigned after his application for extended leave to study abroad was not accepted.

Apparently there are no legal provisions upon which an MP can be granted a lengthy study leave.

Undeniably, we need to have more specific provisions in place when it comes to leave for MPs.

However, it would be also worth discussing if MPs should be entitled to lengthy study leaves during their tenure and especially if the study is to occur abroad.

The question brings us back to what the fundamental duties of an MP as a representative of a constituency are.

The National Assembly Act of Bhutan says that members are accountable to the people at all times. They shall perform their legislative mandates with utmost competence, efficiency, effectiveness, integrity and fidelity to the people’s welfare and the national interest. They also have a duty to be accessible to the people of the areas for which they have been elected to serve and to represent their interests conscientiously.

Perhaps leave for studies can lead to even better service being delivered by an MP. Constituents may benefit greatly with better educated MPs.

But the question is, would an MP be able to carry out the responsibilities detailed in the National Assembly Act while studying abroad for several months. The tenure is not yet ended. Can the full range of services to the people that an MP is responsible for, be provided despite being out of station?

Again, this raises the need for more specific leave rules for MPs. If an MP chooses to study within the country, perhaps the MP may still be able to fulfil responsibilities to the people at the same time.

Whatever it is, an MP has resigned and a constituency remains vacant. A by-election will have to be conducted in three months, which means additional costs to the state and taxpayers.

Going forward, it is important that the kinds of leave an MP is entitled to, is spelled out before resources are invested in his or her election process.

Like any other job, extended leave for health and emergencies have to be granted.

Perhaps MPs should resign before going for lengthy study leave abroad, if it is ever permitted in the future.

Let this case not set a precedent.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    To earn a scholarship to study at Harvard University in USA is a dream achievement for any student at any level of education. So here is a reason for the people of the North Thimphu constituency to feel proud that their democratic representative has achieved it while being a member of the Parliament. Even I would like to congratulate the former MP for the achievement and wish him all the best for his future education at Harvard.

    Right to education should always be respected at all levels of education from primary to higher. So it’s probably obvious that even a Member of Parliament should have the right to resign on a ground like this when the opportunity of education at a reputed University is involved. We have also learnt that the former MP did take a month long leave to negotiate a possible postponement of the scholarship with the University authority in vain. And when a long study leave can’t be granted at the end of that leave period, the former MP had no other option but to resign to pursue his education.

    It’s unfortunate that a MP has to resign because there is no such provisions for long study leaves. I am very much sure that members of parliament are well aware of it that there is no such provisions for long leaves on study grounds and as the matter has been highlighted now with this incident, we expect to see some rules in place.

    And may be it’s right that a member should be asked to resign rather than allowing a leave for study purpose where the duration is longer than a given period of time. But that given period of time allowed can be anything from 6 moths to less than a year. And it all comes down to what the people of the respective constituency feels about it. People may also feel that their leaders are even more capable once they are back from studies. Probably it’s the perceived duty of the leader to resign than avail a long leave for study purposes while being a member of the parliament or even other local governments.

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