By Lobsang Wangyal
KHANYARA, India, 25 September 2020
The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) in an order revoked voting rights of the 11 Standing Committee members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile till 11 March, for cancelling the 10th session of the House.
In a 13-page verdict, the TSJC stated that the cancellation of the 10th session violated the rules of the exile Tibetan Charter, and that the members had been irresponsible in making the decision. There must be a session of the Parliament every six months according to Article 40 of the Tibetan Charter.
The Standing Committee had decided to cancel the session considering the dire Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.
Officially, the Parliament had announced that the 10th session would be postponed till March. However, the 11th session will be held in March, thereby effectively cancelling the 10th session. The 10th session was to be held from 16 to 24 September.
The 11 members who will not be able to exercise their voting rights are:
- Pema Jungney – Speaker
- Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok – Deputy Speaker
- Khenpo Sonam Tenphel – Nyingma representative
- Tenpa Yarphel – Kagyu representative
- Katrak Ngodup – Sakya representative
- Gowo Lobsang Phendey – Geluk representative
- Monlam Tharchin – Bon representative
- Serta Tsultrim – Dotoe representative
- Ngawang Tharpa – Dotoe representative
- Lobsang Choejor – Domey representative
- Dhondup Tashi – Domey representative
The Parliament had postponed their 10th session saying that holding the session would be violating national and state laws, as at that time getting together in groups was not allowed due to the pandemic. The TSJC said that was not reason enough, as the Indian parliament as well as state assemblies such as Himachal and Haryana held sessions by maintaining social distance. There were others around the world who held virtual meetings.
The election of the exile Tibetan political leader (sikyong) and the 45 members of the exile Parliament will be held in two phases. The preliminary round is likely to be held in January, and the final round in March.
In a normal democratic dispensation, there is a provision for an “ordinance” by the head of State. This provision is applied as a measure of Expediency to meet an emergency situation or in the event of a constitutional crisis. For example, during the 14th Parliament, election of Speaker was tied at 50:50 between between Karma Choephel and Penpa Tsering. The tie could not be broken even after 5 times of voting. This was perfect Constitutional crisis. No business can be conducted without a Speaker. The 14th Parliament actually murdered the constitution by sharing the Speakership at 50:50 rate between the two rival factions. This shameful practice is still in place even after 14 years.
When two of the Chithues that time visited Kathmandu, I asked them about the provision of “an ordinance” to break the tie by the Head of the State. They were totally ignorant. When I asked does HH The Dalai Lama have a say as head of the State, no answer.
The situation this time is a ditto. I can understand that due to Covid-19, it is a great risk to call for the 10th session of 16th Parliament. If their decision amounts to a constitutional crisis, the solution lies in the issue of an ordinance.
I am also wondering if the Supreme Justice Commission has the power to directly issue the quantum of punishment without seeking prior “explanation”. I am also not at all convinced by manner in which the Supreme JC dealt with the Case 20.
It is shame that on one hand We Tibetans take pride in preaching to the world about Secular Ethics alias Yarab Zongchoe, on the other hand we are shamelessly devoid of a sense of morality when it comes to domestic politics. Our nascent democracy is suffering from what may be called case of infantilism. We need to grow up.
Why did EU Chitue Kusho Wangchen la had to solemnly accept his resignation? Any explanation? IF SO.. that would only suffice the justification of the TSJC decision !
I agree with Travis, They need to explain the reason too. since Kusho Wangchen la was not able to fly from Europe due to Pandamic.