All valid points considered, the National Assembly (NA) forwarded the Domestic Violence Bill to the women and children committee for review and recommendations.
Most of the views expressed revolved around the premise that there were already too many punitive measures in place to ensure prevention of domestic violence, therefore a separate law which promised harsher punishments was not necessary.
“Because there happens to be a law in place, people will try to misuse it,” said The Member of Parliament (MP) of Drametse-Ngatshang Ugyen Wangdi.
Few MPs who drew perspectives from the infamous Tobacco Control Act said that adoption of this bill will add one more law which will be difficult to follow.
“We might not be able to follow other laws,” said the Mongar MP.
“More laws would affect Gross National Happiness (GNH),” the health minister Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa said.
The Mongar MP Karma Lhamo supported the adoption of the domestic violence bill. She said with the increasing number of domestic violence cases in the country alongside the increase in population it is a serious cause and impetus for adoption of the Bill.
Gasa MP Damcho Dorji said small fights between married couples lead to police cases and in the end children are affected.
“I am in support of the bill since I have seen many cases where there is no law,” said the Opposition MP from Gasa.
Likewise the Samtse and Samdrup Jongkhar MPs were also in support of the bill.
“It should nonetheless, be introduced after a proper study,” said the Samdrup Jongkhar MP.
Some of the members said the bill should also be adopted keeping in mind that sometimes men are also aggrieved parties in many situations.
The Trongsa MP, Rinchen Dorji said that there are already institutions in place, such as Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and Bhutanese association of women entrepreneurs (BAOWE) for women and children protection.
“I support the bill but it should be implemented for men as well,” he said.
The Trongsa MP, said the bill can be introduced slowly after long and careful considerations which could mean even for months or years.
Concerns were raised by the members that the discussions were only in favor of women and there is no gender equity but MP Karma Lhamo said that most of the victims of domestic violence are mainly ‘women’.
About 244 cases of domestic violence were reported last year in Thimphu and 56 this year.
Records with RENEW show that cases of domestic violence are on the rise with a total of 1,141 cases reported till now in the country.
The domestic violence bill 2012 was introduced by Education Minister Thakur Singh Powdyel.