Reviewing laws is MPs’ job: opposition
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.