13th Five-Year Plan with Nu512 BN outlay to be deliberated

Constitution at the core of NA deliberations

Discussions on the National Assembly Amendment Bill of 2024 went into the second day with the finance minister, Lyonpo Lekey Dorji underlining that the motion of no-confidence against the government and council of ministers transgresses the Constitution of Bhutan.
However, the minister said it is not his view but the views of judicial experts he interacted with on the subject.
The Finance Minister cited the following provisions of the Constitution, which he said would be transgressed if changes are made in the National Assembly’s Act, especially in chapter 15, section 130, which says: “A motion of no confidence against the Government may be moved by not less than one-third of the total number of members of the National Assembly.”
Citing Article 20, Section 7, Lyonpo Lekey said that the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Cabinet) is collectively responsible to the Druk Gyalpo. “The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall be collectively responsible to the Druk Gyalpo and to Parliament,” this section says.
Going further, the finance minister citied Article 17, Section 3, which says: “The Druk Gyalpo shall appoint Ministers from among the members of the National Assembly, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, or shall remove a Minister on the advice of the Prime Minister.”
Hinting on motions of no confidence against individual ministers, he cited, Article 17, section 6, which says, “A motion of no confidence against the Government may be moved by not less than one-third of the total number of members of the National Assembly.” He further spoke about the authority of the constitution by mentioning Article 1, Section 10. “All laws in force in the territory of Bhutan at the time of adopting this Constitution shall continue until altered, repealed or amended by Parliament. However, the provisions of any law, whether made before or after the coming into force of this Constitution, which are inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be null and void.
The finance minister further referred to Article 1, Section 16. “There shall be separation of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary and no encroachment of each other’s powers is permissible except to the extent provided for by this Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Article 7 also says that a vote of no confidence against the Government, if passed by not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the National Assembly, shall require the Government to be dismissed by the Druk Gyalpo.
According to Chapter 15, Motion of No- confidence against the government and council of ministers, section 130 says: “A motion of no confidence against the Government may be moved by not less than one-third of the total number of members of the National Assembly. Section 132 says that a vote of no confidence against the Government, if passed by not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the National Assembly, shall require the Government to be dismissed by the Druk Gyalpo. Further section 133 says, “A motion of no confidence against the Minister shall be moved by not less than one-third of the total members of the National Assembly by a written notice to the Secretary General,” followed by section 134 that says, “The vote of no confidence on a Minister should be explicit, direct and on the basis of well founded reasons.” If the House passes a two-third majority of vote of no confidence in a Minister thereof, the Prime Minister shall recommend the removal of that Minister to the Druk Gyalpo.
As the discussions continued, members of the parliament, including the deputy speaker of the NA said that the Supreme Court could be asked to interpret the Articles. Article 1, Section 11 of the Constitution says. “The Supreme Court shall be the guardian of this Constitution and the final authority on its interpretation.”
Finally, the house decided to leave the provision without any changes.

Tashi Namgyal, Thimphu