DNT urges DPT to file con­sti­tu­tional case against gov­ern­ment

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar

Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa (DNT) will urge the op­po­si­tion party, Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa (DPT), to file a con­sti­tu­tional writ against the gov­ern­ment as the Thim­phu High Court ruled out that DNT has no le­gal stand­ing to file a con­sti­tu­tional writ as it is not a party that is di­rectly harmed.

This was dis­closed dur­ing the DNT’s press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, where party

spokesper­son Dr. Tandin Dorji said that they re­spected the court’s rul­ing that DNT has no le­gal stand­ing as it is not di­rectly harmed, af­fected or suf­fered an ac­tual in­jury.

But he said the loss of rev­enue for the na­tion is a loss to all Bhutanese and has af­fected all of us.

“Nev­er­the­less we ac­knowl­edge the ab­sence in our le­gal sys­tem of fill­ing public lit­i­ga­tion cases and de­spite our best ef­forts to con­vince on our le­gal stand­ing, we re­spect the rul­ing by the court of plac­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity on fil­ing con­sti­tu­tion writ on the op­po­si­tion,” Dr. Tandin Dorji said.

Ac­cord­ing to DNT’s spokesper­son, the op­po­si­tion has also stated that the pro­vi­sion of fis­cal in­cen­tives in 2016 is a vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion and it is there­fore the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the op­po­si­tion now to de­cide whether to file a case to clar­ify on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives.

Dr. Tandin Dorji said hav­ing thus ruled, it is ap­par­ent that the gov­ern­ment has no le­gal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for vi­o­lat­ing the con­sti­tu­tion. “The dis­missal of the case is based en­tirely on the le­gal stand­ing of DNT and whether, as a party out­side the par­lia­ment, can file for a con­sti­tu­tional writ,” he said.

The court, in its wis­dom and for the fu­ture of democ­racy, has ruled that only the op­po­si­tion party has the re­spon­si­bil­ity, he added.

“We re­spect the de­ci­sion and urge that the op­po­si­tion party will take this case for­ward and bring it to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion,” Dr Tandin Dorji said.

DNT also main­tained that the dis­missal by the court of the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment of the mat­ter be­ing sub­ju­dice has clar­i­fied that the gov­ern­ment has no au­thor­ity what­so­ever to ob­tain the opin­ion of the Supreme Court and that only His Majesty the King can com­mand for such an ab­stract ju­di­cial re­view.

The party also ac­knowl­edged that they are grate­ful to the High Court for giv­ing DNT the op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit pe­ti­tion on the vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion by the gov­ern­ment and for the fair le­gal pro­cesses ac­corded to them.

Dr. Tandin Dorji said, “While the High Court has not passed judg­ment on the con­sti­tu­tional vi­o­la­tion per se, we thank the court for rul­ing that any past fis­cal in­cen­tives or schemes or schemes should be sub­ject to re­view, if nec­es­sary, by the suc­ceed­ing gov­ern­ment and sub­se­quently rat­i­fied by the Par­lia­ment through amend­ment or by way of in­tro­duc­ing a new Money Bill on those past fis­cal in­cen­tives.”

How­ever, he said the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to fol­low this in pass­ing its fis­cal in­cen­tives pol­icy is clearly not in ac­cor­dance with the law, adding that they will not ap­peal the case again.

Mean­while, the High Court dis­missed the DNT’s con­sti­tu­tional writ filed against the gov­ern­ment on fis­cal in­cen­tive on Thurs­day. The court ruled out that the party has no le­gal stand­ing to sue as it is not a party who is di­rectly harmed.

Ac­cord­ing to the judg­ment, as per Civil and Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Code, only a per­son or class of in­di­vid­u­als, whose rights are di­rectly af­fected or suf­fered an ac­tual in­jury, has the le­gal stand­ing to sue.

Mean­while, the case was reg­is­tered be­fore the court in Au­gust this year. How­ever, talk­ing to

Busi­ness Bhutan, Op­po­si­tion Leader Dr. Pema Gyamt­sho said that they will study the case and the ver­dict be­fore de­cid­ing whether to take the case fur­ther or not.

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