Friday, January 23, 2015

Authorised Absence a new found coinage.

The term, ' authorised absence ' is a new term coined by RCSC as a kind of temporary way out to break the impasse over the three Government Secretaries who the Commission found were improperly discharged from their Posts by the Cabinet. Under this term the Secretaries would be treated as on duty in regards to entitlements but would stay away from their offices and official responsibilities for the time period taken by RCSC to arrive at a final decision. It is a kind of passive political manoeuvre by a apolitical Constitutional body in a delicate situation. I am quite impressed.

Now the Cabinet has borrowed this new impasse solving method of RCSC and applied it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who is being charged in the Court of Law on anti-corruption Charges. The case is related to the Haa Lhakhang Karpo Project that had been suffering a prolonged state of distress in the last 4 years.

Considering the past  case of Gyalposhing , there was a possibility that the the accused Minister would not be called upon to forgo his official duty as Foreign Minister as it is quite unrelated to the case under judicial process.  However, the Cabinet, it seems, has taken a less controversial way out. This official arrangement would enable the Minister to concentrate on his case without losing the entitlement.

The  authorised absence is a precedent creating decision of the Cabinet and could henceforth be applicable to all cases of Government employees as well as all elected officials. After all in their different capacities, the civil servants and the elected officials serve the Nation. I think the Constitutional post holders are immune from prosecution unless they are impeached first during their tenure. So  authorised absence would be applicable for impeachment duration not Court case.
I foresee one dilemma in the cases of authorised absence. What happens if a guilty verdict is passed? The services of the guilty would  terminate but would the entitlements received  during authorised absence need to be refunded or such  entitlements  considered  payable till the day of guilty verdict from the Court?

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