Ten Hon’ble Members of the National Council visited the Institute yesterday to engage in an open conversation with the faculty, staff and trainees concerning the functions of our parliament, the legislative process, and to have open discussions on issues that are of national interest.
The lively interactive session which began at 4:15 pm started with the Deputy Chairman of the National Council, Hon Sonam Kinga explaining the main objective behind having such session with the faculty, staff and trainees was to initiate or reinforce the understanding of our parliamentary democracy.
He said that disseminating correct information to the public on the ‘roles and responsibilities of the National Assembly as well as the National Council in particular’ was very essential in order to have an educated mass to ensure vibrant democracy. In the words of the representative from Thimphu Hon Sangay Zam: “…Precedence must be set right so that the future takes a right course.”
The gathering was informed by the Hon’ble Members on a) the processes involved during the time of election of a new government; b) the form/ structure of the parliament in Bhutan; c) the various course of action that takes place in Bills becoming Acts which later on becomes Law if it’s agreed upon by both the Houses; and d) the special functions of the National Council which acts as the “House of Review.”
The introductory session was followed by various questions from the faculty and trainees ranging from the RTI Act, the increase in Tax issue, interference of the Executive on the Legislative, and the tobacco ban, trainee’s stipend, etc. One of the questions was also regarding the difficulty of representing the NC member’s constituency especially in meeting their promises that were made during their election campaign.
The Deputy Speaker of the NC did admit that there were some mistakes that had been committed in past especially during the time of campaign because of some misconception or confusion regarding the role and mandates of the NC. However, it was explained that the roles and functions which are clearly spelt out in the NC’s mandate do have provisions for them to align some of the promises that they had made during the time of election in tune with their mandate. He also shared that during their recent visits to their respective constituencies they have informed the masses on the actual mandate of the National Council. He said that after clarifying the masses on the roles and responsibilities of the NC, clarity is seeping in now. In addition, he said that the NC members are “striving to do what is enshrined in the constitution.”
The lively and an informative session had to conclude at about 6:20 pm due to lack of time but ended on a high note with both the NC members and institute in favor of engaging in similar dialogue in the coming future.