(TibetanReview.net, Mar24’22) – The ghost of Resolution No. 39 of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) loomed large as the 17th TPiE took up discussion on the annual budget of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) on Mar 23. An angry section of its members opposed the allocation of salaries for the two justice commissioners, saying they had been removed by that resolution of the previous parliament and called their continuance in service illegal.
As these members kept disrupting the presentation of the proposed budget of the TSJC in the name of a flurry of point-of-order interventions, the speaker decided to postpone the discussion on it until after an internal meeting of the TPiE on that resolution.
The date for the internal meeting is yet to be fixed.
By resolution No. 39 the TPiE removed from service all three justice commissioners of the TSJC for the reason that they had imposed a penalty on its Standing Committee members for canceling a meeting of the TPiE in violation of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile (the Charter). The dismissal was carried out in a single sitting of the TPiE by more than a two-thirds majority vote without even an impeachment procedure.
The justice commissioners stepped down even as they questioned the legality of the TPiE move.
However, this posed an existential threat to the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as there was now no chief justice commissioner to administer oath to the newly elected Sikyong and the elected candidates to the 17th TPiE.
The gravity of the situation compelled the justice commissioners to return to their posts and the chief justice commissioner went on to administer oath to the Sikyong in a virtual presence of HH the Dalai Lama.
However, the religious and Dotoe elected candidates, along with one each from U-Tsang and the Americas, refused to take their oath of office under the removed chief justice commissioner. They instead took their oath without the presence of anyone swearing them in. This, being not in accordance with the Charter, was rejected by the Tibetan Election Commission. The stalemate continued for three months, with the CTA remaining without a TPiE and the Kashag (cabinet) functioning without any Kalon (minister) or means to seek Charter-mandated TPiE sanctions as and when required it for its smooth functioning.
The Dalai Lama, on being finally approached for advice, suggested that the elected candidates go by the charter in taking their oath as there was no question of him giving any other advice. It was thus that the recalcitrant members took their oath of office along with the rest. However, they continued to stick to their decision not to recognize the justice commissioners’ return to their posts.
Resolution No. 39 is widely seen as patently illegal carried out by a sleight of hand, but it still remains on record, with no one having approached the TSJC or without any other Charter body having taken it up for a ruling or decision thereon.