MB Subba 

The summer session of the National Council (NC), which will begin on June 2, will deliberate eight Bills, including four money Bills.

The Civil Liability/Tort Bill is the only new Bill that will be deliberated during the session.

The session will see deliberations of the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) Bill 2021, the Biodiversity Bill, and the Framework Agreement on the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance.

The three Bills were passed by the National Assembly in its earlier session.

Speaking at the pre-session press conference on May 27, the chairperson of the legislative committee, Dhan Kumar Sunwar, said that consultations with stakeholders on the Tort Bill were concluded and that the House was ready to deliberate it.

He said that the Bill, which contains about 181 sections, was initiated by the NC in view of the failure of the agencies concerned to take action against the tortfeasors (a person who commits a tort) and the lack of compensation for victims from the parties concerned in accidents resulting in death, injury, and loss of public property.

“There are some sections and clauses regarding compensation for victims of a tort in some laws, but they are not adequate,” he said.

The House will also deliberate the Anti-Corruption (amendment) Bill 2021.   

The chairman of the good governance committee, Nima, said that the committee had completed discussions on the anti-corruption (amendment) Bill and that the joint committee had forged consensus on all the disputed sections.

“Now, whether or not the joint committee’s recommendations will be passed will depend on the joint sitting,” Nima said.

One of the major disputes in the anti-corruption (amendment) Bill is on whether or not to give human resource (HR) independence to the ACC.

While the joint committee on the Bill has agreed to provide HR independence to the commission, the joint sitting needs to endorse the joint committee’s recommendation.

The Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Bill 2021 is also being discussed and will be deliberated in a joint sitting. One of the main disputes in the CSO Bill is whether the home secretary or the home minister should be the chairperson of the CSO Authority.

On the RBP (amendment) Bill, Nima said that the good governance committee had not only held stakeholders’ meetings but also visited the Thimphu detention centre and the Chamgang central jail to study the issue.

The chairwoman of the social and cultural affairs committee, Lhaki Dolma, said that the ratification of the Framework Agreement on the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance would help the country receive technical and monetary support to establish solar plants from the international community.

Initiated by India, the International Solar Alliance brings together a group of nations to endorse clean energy, sustainable environment, public transport and climate.

“We studied the Bill and found that the merits of joining the International Solar Alliance outweigh its demerits,” Lhaki Dolma said.

The tourism levy exemption Bill, the concession of property tax Bill, the fiscal incentives Bill, and the goods and services tax (GST) Bill are the four money Bills, details of which are not known before they are presented in Parliament by the finance minister.