Opposition demands apology from agriculture minister

The Opposition Party wrote to the National Assembly Speaker seeking redressal to the Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji calling Trashiyangtse Bumdelling-Jamkhar Member of Parliament (MP) Dupthob, the ‘MP from Falakata’ during the question hour yesterday.

MP Duptho asked the minister on the ongoing ban on the import of chilli from Falakata, a neighbouring Indian town across the border. He said it had caused inconveniences to vendors and consumers.

The minister started his response by saying, “I didn’t know there was an MP from Falakata in the National Assembly until today.”

MP Dupthob said he was shocked by the minister’s comment. “I didn’t know how to react,” he said.

The Opposition is seeking an apology from the minister in the House.

“A member of the executive cannot disgrace a member of the legislative with such derogatory statement,” MP Duptho said. “We demand that the minister is dealt in accordance with the National Assembly laws for his unlawful comment. The Parliament should correct it,” he said.

The National Assembly Act under the Breach of Privileges, section 264 states that breach of privileges and contempt shall include misconduct in the Assembly or committee.

The offences and penalties chapter of the Act states, “Any person other than a member who performs any act or makes any omission contemplated in section 264 and 265 is guilty of an offence and liable to a maximum fine of five years daily minimum national wage rate.”

The Act also states every member who contravenes any provision of this Act is guilty of an offence and liable to one or more of the following penalties, as determined by the NA: a reprimand, a fine, a temporary suspension, and the loss of his or her seat as a member.

According to the Rules of Procedure (ROP) of NA, the general rules on the questions should not contain imputations, epithets, defamatory statements, hypothetical matter and proceedings in committee not reported to the House.

The ROP’s section 431states that every member should subscribe to maintaining the decorum and dignity of the House and shall desist from acts of defamation and use of physical force.

The Act also states that every member should subscribe to maintaining the decorum and dignity of the House and shall desist from acts of defamation and use of physical force.

Rules of Procedure of NA states that if the Speaker is of opinion that words have been used in debates which are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentarily or undignified, he may, in his discretion, order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House.

Khar-Yurung MP Zangley Dukpa raised his concern during the question answer session. He said all the members of the House were representatives of their constituencies and they can’t be addressed otherwise.

When the session resumed after tea break, the MP introduced himself and said that he was MP for the Bumdeling-Jamkhar constituency and of Falakata.

The agriculture minister did not comment.

Staff  Reporter

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