The DNT in a new release said it has started consulting legal experts and lawyers for the next course of action to protect the Constitution and resolve this national issue to its logical conclusion in a harmonious way on the Fiscal Incentives issue.
DNT said stands firm that the government has intentionally violated the Constitution and hold the PM and the FM accountable and insist that they step down on moral grounds or face the law.
The DNT listing out its reasons said that Article 14.1 of the Constitution states that “Taxes, fees and other forms of levies shall not be imposed or altered except by law,” but that tax holidays were provided by the PDP Government from January 2016 without passing it as a law.
DNT said The NA’s decision to pass the fiscal incentives (tax holidays) as a law is binding only from 8 May 2017, the day it was tabled in the Parliament. Therefore, there is a clear violation of the Constitution.
Pointing out Article 14.3 of the Constitution which states that “Public money shall not be drawn from the Consolidated Fund except through appropriation in accordance with the law,” DNT alleged the PDP Government of misusing public money from the Consolidated Fund.
DNT said the PM’s deliberately misquoted the court’s finding as Supreme Court’s verdict decision is misleading people and misinforming the Nation.
“PM’s allegation that the Supreme Court has authorized the Government of the day to “declare and grant fiscal incentives” is not there in the decision of the Supreme Court. He is deliberately misleading the people by quoting the background findings of the court which is not the verdict decision of the Supreme Court. The decision of the Supreme Court was unambiguous that under no circumstances the authority to impose or alter taxes may be delegated to the Executive,” said DNT.
The party said that the PM wrongly informed that no amendments were made in any of the Acts regarding fiscal incentives (tax holidays). “He has overlooked Section 46A and 46B of the Public Finance Act (amended) 2012 which amended the Act of 2007 and states that the “imposition or increase of any tax or abolition, reduction or remission of any existing tax” can be done by enacting as law by Parliament,” said DNT.
DNT said the principle of a new law (the amended Public Finance Act 2012) eclipsing older laws nullifies all the contradicting sections made in the Income Tax 2000, Sales tax, Customs and Excise Act 2000 and the Public Finance Act 2007.
The release said that as a registered political party, it is a mandated duty of any political party to defend the Constitution.
“The Constitution is a precious gift from the Golden Throne to the people of Bhutan, and as a registered political party with 17% of the national votes in 2013 or the third largest political party, the onus falls on DNT’s shoulder after the Opposition Party,” said DNT.
The party said that this national issue must be resolved once and for all. “So we will find a harmonious way to resolve this,” said DNT.