The Chairperson of the Assembly’s House Committee, Karma Tenzin, clarified that the House committee members did not want to dissolve the committee but that some members including himself wanted to resign to give other new members a chance.
This comes on the back of the Speaker Jigme Zangpo writing to the House Committee that their decision to dissolve the committee violated the National Assembly Act and Rules of Procedure.
Karma Tenzin said he put up his resignation on 10th July and he also learnt of another member putting up a resignation. He said that on 14th July the House Committee one agenda item was his resignation and also other resignation issues. The MP said that the decision of the 14th July meeting was not to dissolve the committee which is a permanent institution which in theory would continue irrespective of the membership.
Karma Tenzin, stressed that it is allowed by the section 318 and 319 of the Rules and Procedure of the National Assembly of Bhutan 2014, that a member may resign from a committee by writing under his hand, stating reasons, addressed to the speaker through the chairperson of the committee
Similarly section 319 stated that a chairperson may resign from a committee by writing under his hand, stating reasons addressed to the speaker.
“The chairperson including one more member of the committee put up the resignation. The Assembly’s house committee cannot be dissolved on that basis,” Karma Tenzin stressed.
He said the resignation of the two members is being done as per the procedure of the National Assembly. “When the rule allows resignation, there is nothing extraordinary in members resigning from the committee,” he said.
He added that if the members intend to resign before their term expires, each member should write to the Speaker, through the chairperson, with valid reasons asking for the re-nomination of the House Committee members.
However, he said the speaker has the prerogative to review and consider where, until then, the house committee shall function as normal. “Some of the members are serving for three to four years and they can still get re-elected as the committee’s member,” he said. “Just because two members from the committee tendered resignation, the house committee cannot dissolve,” he said.
As per the Chairperson the decision to resign from the committee is entirely one of the privileges the members have and has nothing to do with the disgruntlement over the functioning of National Assembly and the Speaker.
The members of the House committee comprises 11 members including the chairperson and the committee is formed for the welfare of the Members of the National Assembly who consider all issues raised by the non-committee members.
The House Committee comprises a member each from the National Assembly Committees and representatives from the opposition party. The House Committee is appointed to consider any matter referred to it by the House or the Speaker.
Further the House committee is responsible for all public relations of the members of the National Assembly and also reviews, inquires and investigates any matter that is brought to the notice of the committee.
Karma Tenzin said that since the speaker did not accept his resignation he would continue.
A member of the committee said that an administrative issue was the lack of office space, parking space and canteen for MPs which was raised by the committee with the NA secretariat in the past but nothing was done about it. The member, however, said that the administrative issue was not the reason for resignations being discussed in the 14th July meeting.