(TibetanReview.net, Apr08’21) – Speaker Pema Jungney of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) who, with Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, led the sacking of the entire panel of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) in March in a dispute about the justice commission’s jurisdiction over it has resigned both as speaker and member of parliament on Apr 8. However, in a strange twist to his move, Pema Jungney has denied any wrongdoing, obscuring the reason for his resignation.
His resignation followed that of Domey member of parliament Mr Lobsang Choejor.
Pema Jungney’s resignation also followed the interview Oslo-based Voice of Tibet radio broadcast service had with Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, former executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Speaker of the TPiE and who was actively involved in the drafting of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile.
Rinpoche, while acknowledging that the TPiE had the power to remove justice commissioners of the TSJC, found serious substantive faults and procedural lapses in its sacking of the entire panel of justice commissioners of the TSJC. The move subverted the basic framework of the Charter of Tibetan in Exile as the TSJC also played a vital role in many other key aspects of the functioning of the CTA.
Rinpoche said the Charter did not visualize a situation in which the CTA would be rendered devoid of a TSJC.
“I resigned following Samdhong Rinpoche’s statements in the Voice of Tibet interview, as I cannot take responsibility, [… ghen soeki yoe marey], not that I accept any wrongdoing,” Tibetsun.com Apr 8 quoted Pema Jungney as saying.
Although Pema Jungney had cited several provisions of the Charter to justify the Standing Committee of TPiE’s expulsion move, none of them are seen, on plain reading, to be relevant to it. Nevertheless, the TPiE voted in support of the expulsion move with 31-10 majority vote with four absentees.
None of the TPiE members appeared to be conversant about the plain provision of the Charter which says there has to be a report by an enquiry committee for any move to remove a justice commissioner of the TSJC. In any case, no one raised it during the short discussion which preceded the vote to remove the justice commissioners. Neither did the speaker explain why this vital procedural requirement was not complied with.
This serious shortcoming was also referred to by Rinpoche.