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Re-deliberation on Impeachment Procedure Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2019

Posted on :04 March 2020

In the 33rd sitting, with 22 members present and voting the House unanimously decided to withdraw the Impeachment Procedure Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2019 with the statements of reasons as proposed by the Natural Resources & Environment Committee.

The Natural Resources & Environment Committee was assigned to draft and introduce the Private Members Bill by the House and in the 23rd session, the National Council (NC) passed and forward the Bill to the National Assembly (NA). The NA tabling the Bill decided not to discuss the Bill in the first reading itself and forwarded the Bill with reasons.

 

In keeping with the established parliamentary procedure and practices to harmoniously resolve the difference, the Chairperson of the National decided to initiate the discussion with the Speaker of the NA to a suggested way forward before deciding on the Bill. Despite the effort, the NA refused to discuss the bills and failed to complete the full legislative process as the decision not to discuss the Bill was made in the first reading itself. The reasons provided for its rejection of the Bill were the same as provided earlier except with the request for the NC to withdraw the Bill in according with the Section 18 of the Legislative Rules of procedure 2017.

 

Highlighting the background on the importance of enacting the Impeachment Bill, Hon’ble  Tashi Samdrup, Chair to the Natural Resources & Environment  Committee submitted that the Committee could not find the reasons cited by the National Assembly valid or compelling. He said the National Council can request for a Joint Sitting of Parliament or it is procedurally deemed passed based on the Constitution and relevant laws. However, the Committee proposed to withdraw the Bill for the following reasons;

 

Firstly, the NC does not deem it proper to seek approval of His Majesty the King for convening a Joint Session when one house has not discussed the Bill and dismissed it in the first reading

 

Secondly, the NC foresees the emergence of larger Constitutional, legal and procedural issues beyond the ambit of the Impeachment Bill that needs to be addressed as a result of the recent position and decision of the NA including the one on the Ministers and Equivalent Post Holders’ Entitlement Bill.

Thirdly, the NC is not convinced that the steps laid out in the Legislative Rules of Procedure have been complete and followed in the letter and spirit by the National Assembly. There is hence the need to chalk out a clear path forward to avoid such instances repeating in the future. Once done, the option of reintroducing the Bill always exists.  

The members also supported the statements of reasons of withdrawal as proposed by the Committee and the House adopted the withdrawal of the Bill for later endorsement.

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