Joint sitting Parliament passes Tenancy Bill of Bhutan 2014
The joint sitting of Parliament passed the Tenancy Bill of Bhutan 2014. The Bill got 60 votes in favour to be passed while two members voted ‘No’ and four members abstained from voting. There were a total of 66 Members present.
The Chairperson of the joint committee on the Bill, Karma Tenzin of Wamrong Constituency presented the recommendations of the joint committee on 12 clauses. The Chairperson presented each clause in detail and informed that the recommendations were made with the aim to benefit both the tenants and the property owners.
Deliberations were however seen on section 9.1.3 pertaining to the penal interest of 24% per annum to be levied if the tenant fails to pay the rent on time. The National Council member from Dagana Dzongkhag, Sonam Dorji submitted that the penal interest of 24% was felt
high for the tenants to pay and sought clarification on why the joint committee fixed the penal interest rate at 24%. Expressing similar views, he was supplemented by National Council member from Chumed-Ura Constituency and Paro Dzongkhag.
Responding to the query, the chairperson of the joint committee submitted that the issue of interest rate was extensively discussed in the committee. He said that the 24% penal interest rate was also applicable as per the circular issued by the Ministry of Finance for taxes which were over due to the government including audit irregularities. Furthermore, he added that if the interest rate was to be fixed too low, some people may take advantage of the provision and not pay on time.
Consequently, the clause was resolved based on the recommendation of the joint committee which reads as ‘In the event the tenant fails to pay the rent on time, he/ she shall pay the amount with interest at the rate of 24% per annum on the amount due’.
Upon passing of the Bill, the Minister for Works & Human Settlement thanked the Hon Members of Parliament and all other stakeholders for their support.
As per section 11 of article 13 of the Constitution, the Bill will be submitted to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo for Royal Assent.