Thursday, July 19, 2018

Why always crucify civil servants?

The suggestion by National Law Review Taskforce that  civil servants must  undergo one year grace period after resignation before joining politics and that Political Parties should not dwell on civil servant pay during campaign are very biased and spiced with malicious ill will.

MPs can jack up their salaries and benefits once elected  and yet they cannot be held responsible for mistreatment in matter of remuneration for civil servants. Why shouldn't pay be an election issue?  Afterall the elected MPs has power over pay of civil service.  

The civil service is one organization which does all the works in planning and implementation of anything the nation wants to get done. They get praised by Ministers, Prime Ministers and even by the King for keeping the machineries of governance in superb motion. And yet it is the civil service that get screwed whenever there is pay talk or other opportunities in life.

The Parliamentarians and Constitutional Bodies hog all the pay raise and allowances for themselves. And now the Taskforce wants to even deny civil servants fair and equal chances in political  opportunities. 

Justify why MPs of NC which is apolitical institution do not require similar one year grace period to join Political Party.

Justify why an unsuccessful NC election candidate can switchover to being a political party candidate without similar one year grace period.

Justify why an MP or candidate of one Political Party can join another Political Party without requiring similar one year grace period.

Justify why an ex MP does not require similar one year grace period before taking up any other assignment after leaving politics. Could MPs never prepare for civilian jobs whilst in their  political positions?   

An elected  MP is permitted to resign from NA and NC seat and take up any job. By the same token shouldn't a civil servant have the right to resign from civil service and pursue political quest?

A Bhutanese citizen cannot be deprived of equal opportunity. So do not single out ex-civil servants for extra constitutional restrictions. The  Judiciary , Royal Civil Service Commission, OAG,  or MPs  under different guises such as Committees and Taskforces  must refrain from the unholy temptation of exercising excessive and beyon mandate control of the life of a civil servant or former civil servant. 

Beware! That the Civil Service is the most controlled and disciplined institution among all national institutions including  the constitutional institutions of Drul Yul. Do not kill the only institution that dedicate life long service to the Tsawa Sum. If sanctity is an issue, first examine the behaviour of all other institutions. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The one fundamental flaw of the otherwise a through National Law Review Taskforce.

1. This National Law Review Taskforce is mandated to review laws and practices for the purpose of " harmonisation and consolidation " of all existing laws in  respect to ensuring  the Constitution of the Kingdom as the mother of reference and natural authority. 

2. The Taskforce is not mandated to review the Provisions of the decade old Constitution and offer amendment in provision or interpretation or concept.  Therefore, what the hell is the Taskforce attempting in calling for legalising the unconstitutional initiative of the Election Commission of Bhutan that called upon Political Parties to declare candidates to qualify for the Primary Election? This is acting over and beyond given mandate and thus a huge fundamental flaw.

Against such a backdrop of political  development, I feel it is time that the nation closely re-examine the purpose of Primary Election. Let me start the debate with following points:

1.   The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan calls for competition among Political Parties in the Primary Election so that all such Parties are given a fair and equal opportunity to win the trust of the public to be either of the Ruling or the Opposition Party in the  two Political Party National Assembly system.

2. The Primary round was necessiated only because His Majesty the King desired to limit real politics of democracy to only two Political Parties. But at the same time, democracy in other nations especially in neighbouring India which unfortunately continues to play the central role in Bhutan, does not limit the essence of democratic choice to only two Political Parties. Therefore, the multiparty Primary Round Election was adopted to somewhat make the Bhutanese system (a) more palatable in the eyes of the world and (b) to assauge the possible demand for a true multiparty democratic system by the Bhutanese populace.

3.  The purpose of the primary election system in my opinion are as given in above points (1) and ( 2).  The Constitution, therefore, does not require political parties to declare their candidates before the primary election. Primary round is really about the Political Parties' memberships, organizational structures, Office Bearers  and party manifestos. It is definitely not about  constituency candidates of Political Parties. It is about the grassroot support for Political Parties as a political entity. 

4. The primary round is not about choice of Political Party candidates by the constituencies. It is the choice of Political Parties by the contituencies. The Political Party logos are on the EVMs not the photos of the candidates.

5. It is ofcourse effective strategic politics for Political Parties to tell voters who their likely candidates would be if they are chosen as one of the two Parties eligible to compete in the General Election. Makes   
tremendous sense to ride on popularity of individuals in the constituencies to win votes. However, it is totally wrong for ECB to call on Parties to declare candidates before primary election.  ECB has in effect  subverted the very objective of two Political Party system by recognising the Party contituency candidates for the primary election.

6. The prevailing extra-constitutional demand by ECB that Political Parties declare the 47 constituency candidates to qualify for primary round and its endorsement by the National Law Review Taskforce actually brings about the  elimination of  primary round. And this indirect call for elimination of primary round is further re-enforced by the suggestion that contituency candidates once declared for primary round cannot be substituted in the general round. 

7. Is the Triple Gem signalling  Palden Dukpa to introduce multiparty system of 4 or 5 Political Parties and just have one national election round for the National Assembly. Why conduct two rounds of election with identical conditions as demanded by ECB and added upon by National Law Review Taskforce ? Total waste of national resources in time, money and labour and absolutely confusing duplication. Its like mandating two separate marriage ceremonies, one for bride and another for the groom at different intervals after which one of them or both are declared unfit to marry and replacements contrived.  


Food for thought, debate and consideration at national level to either act in conformity with the intent of the Constitution to conduct Primary round as purely for selection of two Political Parties for General Round from amongst the many registered and competing Parties.   Or just hold one multiparty election for National Assembly whereby the Party or coaliation with larger nimber of elected constituency candidaties govern and the others sit in Opposition.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A landmark Judgement on Druk Gaki Tsokpa vs Election Commission of Bhutan.

The High Court invalidated almost all the reasons that ECB gave to deny registration of Druk Gaki Tsokpa as a Political Party.  I have been appalled by ECB's tendencies to use extra constitutional powers to uproot democratic fundamentals of the infant Bhutanese Democracy. If left to the discretion and unchecked authority of ECB, in future we could end up with only one Political Party and rest would be decorative democratic Thangkas painted by ECB. This time the Judiciary came down strong and firm upon Election Commission of Bhutan.
And it is the first sign that the Judiciary of Bhutan is a trusted Guardian of the Constitution. Palden Drukpa Gyal Lo ! High Court Gyel Lo!

1. An aspiring Political Party is not required to submit list of candidates for constituencies whilst submitting application for registration as a political party. Therefore ECB is wrong to demand
such submission.

2. A graduate Bhutanese of 25 years and above and 65 years and below has the constitutional right to be a constituency candidate. And ECB has no authority to demand otherwise or reject using  presumed assumptions.

In other words ECB mandate is to conduct election and leave it to the voters of the nation to decide on the abilities and capabilities of a Candidate and a Political Party. To me  It looks like that ECB Commissoners lack  the vision to differentiate between the system adopted after 1998 when His Majesty nominated ministrial candidates for National Assembly to choose from and the constitutionally guaranteed nomination from amongst graduates between 25 and 65 years citizens  by respective Political Parties under Democracy system introduced in 2008. Thus ECB's insistance to approve quality of candidates. The responsible authority needs to exercise impartial deligency in appointing Commissioners of Constitutional Bodies to eliminate such void in comprehension.  

3. Election Commision cannot impose  ideological fundamentals and cannot impose varying criterias for different Political Parties. It was established by the High Court that ECB had unfairly made demands and set conditions upon Druk Gaki Tsokpa that were never applied to the 4 existing Political Parties at the time of their registration. There was no difference in manifesto of Druk Gaki Tsokpa and other registered Political Parties according to High Court Judgement.   It seems to me that ECB does not believe in equal standard. How could ECB then conduct fair election with such uneven perception and practice ?

The High Court could not direct ECB to register Druk Gaki Tsogpa because the President Chheku Dukpa failed to submit Registration Form 2 and the aspiring Political Party also did not fulfill the constitutional pre- requisite of having multicultural and ethnic members from all 20 Dzongkhags. What I perceived from  the recent behaviour and statement of Chheku Dukpa was that he is in no position to complete that mandatory pre- requisite. Too bad. Otherwise registration of his Party is assurred now with this Landmark Judgement by the High Court. Future Political Parties are now protected against whims and fancies plus inadequacies in required knowledge and impartial ways of ECB Commissioners.    My own belief and reverence in the soundness of  the Judiciary of Bhutan is even more enhanced.

4. It is alright to have only one member from each Dzongkgag. Election Law and Constitution do not specify minimum party members from each Dzongkhag. But members  must comprise of cross national  multicultural and ethnic groups. And produce proof of membership by record of membership fee payment.      High Court judgement as recorded in Kuensel news ( my reference ) has not defined " multicultural and ethnic." But my understanding is that among those members, there must be men and women of voting age, Drukpa and Lhotsampa race ( two officially recognised dominant race ) and both Buddhism and Hinduism believers ( again two officially recognised religion).  In short a Political Party must be a representative political  body  of the whole nation. Not that of a race, region, religion or culture.  Please note my explanation are only for benefit of future Political Party aspirants.  It is also my suggestion that a serious aspiring Political Party have several members from each 20 Dzongkhags.

May Judiciary of Bhutan keep strengthening the rule of Laws and protect the Laws of the Land from mis- use and mis-interpretation by authoritarian and powerful forces including constitutional bodies.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Justice or harrassment of the vengeance kind

The District court rules that a person is not a repeat offender. And a High Court Bench upholds the lower court ruling. Now the OAG lawyer want to appeal to Full Bench High Court ( news courtesty Kuensel ). And probably to Supreme Court if again upheld.

A lady was caugtht by tobacco inspectors with permissible number of cigarette sticks but without proper tax payment receipt and was fined by the  inspectors. Three month later, she was again caught with less quantity but chsrged in the court. Both times, she claimed it was for personal consumption and the quantity was within the legally defined personal consumption quantity. 

The Dzongkhag Court sentenced the lady to 3 months prison term for failing to produce tax receipt for tobacco purchase and in lieu of prison term, she was ordered to pay cash fine.

The prosecuting lawyer wants her to serve the prison term as a repeat offender. By law, a repeat offender is someone convicted earlier by a court of  law. And  not by an administrative Agency like Tobacco Authority or an ad hoc court like the roving team of tobacco inspectors in the field. . 

According to the percept of the Prosecuting  lawyer from OAG, the second time you commit a traffic offence or breach any regulations , the offender has to serve prison term because it is a repeat offence.  

Terrible intent pursued on the pretext of serving justice? Seems a waste of time, knowledge,  money and display of arrogrance towards the justice system. Maybe there is a professional enmity between the lawyer from OAG and the Judge in the District court or  personal differences between the offender and the prosecutor.   I would heave a sigh of relief if an OAG lawyer does not appear to be vindictive.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Congratulations to the Kingdom of Thailand. for successfully rescuing your 12 young footballers and the coach.

Very Brave and Courageous ! ! ! Hurrah !  The 12 boys and the coach back into the living world.

1. Surviving 9 days in complete  isolation in deep dark cave totally cut off from the world. And so young and innocent they were. And continuing facing the ordeal several more days until rescue could be effected. Heroes !

2. Great endeavour of 3 British cave divers for locating the team after so many gave up hope.

3. Thank you for great sacrifice made by Royal Thai former Navy Seal. Your death must have strenghtened the resolve of the rescue teams.

4. Heard that Thailand had crucial help extended by American and Australian Navy men, British and other divers. Still the onus is upon Thailand and her people.

5. It was all  Thai Navy Seals of 4 diver team including a doctor which camped in the cave with the boys for all the days since discovering the boys and provided all care and nursing confidence. That is supreme endeavour. Hope they all come out well. Thai Navy! You did it !

6. The Thai Royal King and the government and people so united and so courageously determined.   And very able and  efficient in the face of such national crisis.

7. Respects and warmth to all the families of the boys, the coach and the brave navy seal who made supreme  sacrifice. You all  are Love and Hope and Courage of epic proportion !!!

8. Congratulations to the Coach for holding your young team together. You are also so young to uphold such responsibility and you passed with flying colours.

Nine days underground deep inside mountain in dark isolation without food and with no assurance that of contact again with the world outside that they had taken for granted till this ordeal happened. Not possible to imagine .

God is Great when Faith does not fade.