Two new bills to be introduced 

Parliament: The winter session of Parliament that begins from today will take up among others the controversial section on consensual sex between children of 16 years and above in the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Member of women, children and youth committee, MP Novin Darlami, said section 183 would be proposed for review and amendment. “This is one of the sections that will be reviewed,” he said.

The section states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years if the defendant commits any act of sexual intercourse against a child between the ages of 12 to 18 years.

This section of the penal code was discussed last year but the House decided not to change the section. The penal code was amended in 2011.

Meanwhile, two new bills – Customs Bill and Civil Aviation Bill – will be introduced during the upcoming session. National Assembly MP Dophu Dukpa said the merits and principles of these bills would be discussed and then referred to the concerned committee.

There would also be a motion by the Legislative Committee to review and amend the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan.

Dophu Dukpa said that the NA would also re-deliberate the Enterprise registration bill, Jabmi bill, and Companies bill. These three bills, he said, were deliberated during the fifth session and referred to the National Council for further deliberation.

“The NA this time will be discussing on the clauses where the two Houses have different views,” Dophu Dukpa said.

Besides the bills, the NA will ratify the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Motor Vehicle Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic between Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

There will be a joint sitting to discuss on the report of the Public Accounts Committee and remaining Dzongkhag Thromde and Yenlag Thromdes. The Dzongkhag Thromde of Pemagatshel and Yenlag Thromdes of Paro and Pemagatshel are expected to be endorsed by the parliament.

Last session, the Assembly saw the opposition party move motion on education, employment and the state of economy. “The Opposition will be moving a motion again on the same during the upcoming session but governed by the National Assembly Act, 2008, and the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly 2014,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Council does not have a new bill for deliberation for the session. The NC will ratify European Investment Bank (EIB) Framework Agreement, SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity) and United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

The Jabmi (Amendment), Companies Bill and Enterprise Registration bills will be introduced.

Among others, the NC will present reports on Tourism Policy and Strategies and Employment Policies, Programs and Strategies.

MB Subba