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Tibetan parliament rejects apex court’s penal order for failing to hold 10th session

8th session of 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. (Photo courtesy: TPiE)

(TibetanReview.net, Sep26’20) – The current 11 members of the standing committee of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) may have opened themselves to the risk of being held to be in contempt of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC) as they have rejected the latter’s decision to penalize them for postponing and thereby failing to hold the second biannual session of the parliament in 2020 as mandated by the Charter of Tibetans in Exile. The TSJC has stripped the standing committee members of their right to vote in any election under the CTA till Mar 11, 2021.

By a four-page announcement dated Sep 25, the parliament in exile said the TSJC order dated Sep 25 was unconstitutional, claiming the latter had no jurisdiction over it, that it was in violation of the division of powers among the three pillars of democracy.

The TSJC had, in its order, held that the 11 members of the standing committee had deliberately ignored the mandate of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, which requires the holding of a session within six months from the conclusion of the last one.

Citing the difficulty of holding the 10th session of the parliament from Sep 16 to 24 as scheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the parliament had earlier announced that the session had been postponed till Mar 2021. This was beyond the maximum of six-month interval allowed by the Charter.

In its order, the TSJC rejected the TPiE’s explanations for postponing the 10th session as insufficient, pointing out that the Indian parliament as well as state assemblies such as those of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana held their sessions by maintaining social distancing. There were others around the world where virtual meetings were held, it pointed out.

The parliament’s announcement made it clear that neither the Kashag nor any other office of the CTA will accept the TSJC order.

While the TPiE has announced in strong terms that it will never accept the TSJC’s decision, the task of implementing the order falls mainly on the Election Commission which is certainly subject to the jurisdiction of the latter.

The Kashag is yet to respond to the TPiE’s announcement.

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