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.