No consensus on appointment of New Kalon between Exile Tibetans’ apex court and Parliament

TSJC Secretary Tashi Gyatso.

DHARAMSALA, 4 April 2019: The appointment of new Kalon by the Tibetan parliament is not in line with the provisions mandated by the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, the exile Tibetans’ apex court has said and declared that it can not administer the oath of office until it meets the article 22 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile.

As the Kalon nominee has failed to secure the percentage mandated by the article 22 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, it is in violation the charter and beyond the judicial body to administer the oath of office, Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission’s(TSJC) Secretary Tashi Gyatso said at the press conference held earlier today as it stood its ground.

The discord between the two pillars of the Tibetan democracy stems from the discrepancy between the Parliament and the TSJC over the majority vote count and interpretation of laws (Tibetan charter).

Though the Parliament has approved Topgyal Tsering Zongkha, President Lobsang Sangay’s nomination for Kalon (Minister) of the 15th Kashag (Cabinet) after it declared that he secured the 50 percent votes of the Tibetan legislatures after securing 21 votes out of 43 during the morning session of the seventh session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile on 22 March, as it stands now, he was not administered the oath of office by the judicial body as the latter argues that 50 percent of 43 is 21.5.

While, the Parliament maintains that decimal points should be ignored as per the article 49 on the parliament’s rule book list of numbers and the decision of the speaker to announce Topgyal Zongkha as a new Kalon was based on the same, the TSJC has called it a misinterpretation of the the Tibetan Charter by mixing the Article 22 and 49 by the parliament.

As the article 22 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile clearly states that the Kalon nominee must secure ‘not less than 50 percent of the total votes’, the new Kalon nomination approved by the Speaker failed to fulfill the requirement mandated by the Tibetan charter, the TSJC maintained.

While the legal body has objected to the Parliaments by arguing that the Kalon approved by the house does not fulfill the Tibetan Charter, Speaker Pema Jungney has responded by pointing to Article 46 and 58 of the Charter which states that the Commission has no jurisdiction over any member of parliament with regard to his or her exercise of powers granted under the Charter and  that the commission cannot inquire into the question whether the parliament had complied with its own rules and regulations in its functioning or finalization of decisions.

However, the TSJC maintains that the approval of the Kalon’s nomination is in violation of the Tibetan Charter. Secretary Tashi Gyatso further said that the legal body will fulfill its duty of defending the Tibetan Charter and any act that undermines it will not go unchecked.

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