Re­view­ing laws is MPs’ job: op­po­si­tion

Bhutan Times - - Home - Rinzin Lhamo

The op­po­si­tion party did not sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion made by the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee to al­low Na­tional Law Re­view Task­force (NLRT) to re­view the laws on 21 Novem­ber dur­ing the on­go­ing Par­lia­men­tary ses­sion.

The com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that NLRT con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of 12 dif­fer­ent is­sues re­lated to laws.

Pan­bang MP Dorji Wangdi said that al­low­ing NLRT to re­view the laws might cre­ate a prob­lem since the elected mem­bers of NA are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing and re­view­ing laws. “There might be a risk of peo­ple think­ing that the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee could not ful­fill the duty given to them by the leg­isla­tive body,” he said. In­stead, he sug­gested es­tab­lish­ing a new com­mit­tee com­pris­ing ex­perts from the house to work on the laws.

South-Thim­phu MP Yeshey Zimba sub­mit­ted that the house have a new com­mit­tee, if nec­es­sary, to look at all the laws to re­tain the coun­try’s peace and bring equal­ity.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Dr. Pema Gyamt­sho rec­om­mended that the com­mit­tee do more re­search on the re­port and in­clude rel­e­vant case stud­ies.

De­wathang MP, who is a mem­ber of the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee, said that due to lack of ex­perts in the com­mit­tee, it was dif­fi­cult for it to deal with laws.

Khar-Yu­rung MP, Dasho Zan­g­ley Drukpa, said the MPs should “learn and take re­spon­si­bil­ity”.

Out of 12 laws to be re­viewed, one deals with is­sues per­tain­ing to defama­tion.

The com­mit­tee’s anal­y­sis showed that, al­though defama­tion is con­sid­ered crim­i­nal in na­ture cer­tain courts con­sider civil in na­ture.

The com­mit­tee also rec­om­mended the Task­force to re­view the ex­ist­ing guide­lines for the is­suance of se­cu­rity clear­ance cer­tifi­cate to peo­ple who have served a prison term.

The com­mit­tee’s last rec­om­men­da­tion is on the preva­lence of cool­ing pe­riod ap­pli­ca­ble only to MPs of the Na­tional As­sem­bly. The chair­per­son of the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee, Tashichol­ing MP, said that there might be a sit­u­a­tion in the fu­ture where NC mem­bers might be­come the sec­ond op­po­si­tion.

There­fore, the law has to be ap­pli­ca­ble to both the houses to en­sure eq­uity, fair­ness and jus­tice.

In an al­ter­na­tive rec­om­men­da­tion, the com­mit­tee rec­om­mends the es­tab­lish­ment of a Min­istry of Law as there is a daunt­ing task of re­view­ing more than 40 acts in the coun­try.

The re­port con­sisted of 12 clauses to be re­viewed in Pe­nal Code of Bhutan. The re­port also fo­cused on the is­sues re­lated to de­ten­tion pe­riod for ACC de­tainees, bail by RBP, defama­tion, of­fence of un­nat­u­ral sex, nar­cotic drugs, psy­chotropic sub­stances and sub­stance abuse act, is­suance of se­cu­rity clear­ance cer­tifi­cate and cool­ing pe­riod un­der the elec­tion act.

The leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee com­prises nine mem­bers chaired by Ritu Raj Ch­hetri.

Dur­ing the sixth ses­sion of NA, the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee had been man­dated by the house to con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of some of the acts.

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