Indignation

Day before yesterday, when members of the National Assembly met to discuss the preliminary agenda for the Assembly’s next session, the opposition party proposed that a bill to amend the Tobacco Control Act be considered.

It has not yet been one year since the Tobacco Control Act was adopted, but according to Section 193 of the National Assembly Act:

When a Bill has been passed or has been rejected during a session in any year, no Bill of the same substance may be introduced in the Assembly in that year except by leave of the Assembly.

Regretfully, the members of the National Assembly did not grant permission to introduce a bill to amend the Tobacco Control Act.

Meanwhile, indignation spreads: four people have been detained for handling 9 packets of chewing tobacco!

And a woman has been arrested for possessing 5 sticks of cigarettes. This clip is from Bhutan Today:


 

Facebook Comments:

Comments

  1. At the rate people are getting arrested, we are concerned that our jails will be filled up sooner, which will also cost out government dear to feed them, our already over loaded courts are getting more than over crowded that can lead to compromise of other cases, and a lot of chain reactions.

    Now, if our esteemed law makers can’t do simple maths as this, I don’t know what to expect from them for the development of our country.

  2. after getting flash back of what our present government has done, esp the law makers, sometimes i regret of being a bhutanese. its quite disheartening to see people getting arrested and imprisoned using tobacco..bhutan is no more a shangrila..darkness looms over….phew!!!

  3. Dear Ol,
    I hope you will read my say about Tobacco Act 2010 in today’s Bhutanobserver issue

    Actually, government should amend the act and i am worrying a lot for these act.

  4. Kinley,

    If you are ashamed to be a law abiding Bhutanese Citizen, seek a country of your choice. I would suggest you to emigrate to a country where you don’t have to abide by any kind of laws.

  5. Penlop haap says:

    Democracy is not simply based on the principle of majority. But on the collective wisdom.

    It is sad that with the Tobacco Control Act, our democracy has been hijacked by collective stupidity.

    Every MP I spoke to doesn’t own up to the Act and yet together “collectively” they oppose any amendment.

    God save our King and our country from such demented people.

  6. Getting strict with Act is best to control any thing. if the act is soft people too would take advantage of it and last Bhutan could be shameful of having tobacco back to Bhutan. So i fell law should not changed. It should be kept as it is. People are becoming aware of law and who knows one day, like singapore, Bhutan would become one of the cleanness country without tobacco

    What about the case of Paro Airport, Is paro case very complicated to make a judgement.I fell there is straight forward judgement. Is paro Drangpon afraid of making judgement.

    Would be ashame of being Bhutanese if that judgement takes another way.

  7. Teeu Jangchubsempa says:

    I congratulate our Government for persistently taking a brave stand against this social evil called tobacco and its perpetrators. Don’t worry about jails getting filled every day. We can construct enough jails for those who do not want to abide by the law. Jails are not hard to build. They are not Taj Mahals. 🙂

  8. Motor Mouth says:

    what is even more bewildering is the fact that someone blew the whistle on the poor lady. what is happening to our society? have we turned into greedy, harmful and vile creatures? our society has functioned and evolved over the ages with the wisdom, love and compassion found through friendship and communal harmony. if everyone becomes jealous, resentful and disillusioned with each other, then such cases will keep on increasing thus unbinding the good done by our ancestors.

    as for the 5 cigarette sticks, i don’t think such miniscule contraband retrieved on a person should be basis enough to land them in jail for even a day let alone the full term as mandated by the act.

    Penlop Haap rightly said that the MPs are not owning up for their mistakes and collectively are being bullish about the whole tobacco act.

  9. Hon’ble OL, Do we have some provisions to get rid of this collective stupidity? I think this Government has no right to put little population that we have behind the bars and waste tax payers’ money in sustaining those prisons. At this pace, in next decade, Bhutan will have highest number of per capita criminal population in the World! If we make our laws like a house of cards, the day is not near when we will be branded the country of criminals because not many of us will remain clean. This is not because our people are bad but because our laws are such fragile and of “touch-me-not” kind of nature. I am a law abiding citizen and strongly believe in social order and respect for laws. However, laws sometimes are so harsh and dry and they forget to address and preserve the basic values of love and compassion in the society. Those people who have fallen into the peril have devastated their lives. A person once branded a criminal will not be able to regain his social status and he will not be able to live a honorable and dignified life thereafter. The society compels him to maintain his criminal nature. And to make this easier, we have our Hon’ble, well learned MPs who would like to breed as many countrymen of these kind as they can. At this point we must remember that when we push people to the extreme to brand them criminals, we create our peaceful country more vulnerable and prone to more crime. We must remember that ‘Tobacco criminal’ that we give birth today can be our tomorrow’s killers and terrorists. That time, we will be remembered as the engineers of such a misfortune.

  10. drukparopa says:

    if there was a law for stupidity guess who would be crowding the jails? why are the sitting members of the ruling government bent on damaging their own reputation? why are these idiots not being chucked out of office for the irreparable damage they bring to the beloved country? what are the procedures, if any exist, that a constituency can follow, to remove an MP?

  11. Dear Mr.Dorji, can u help me find such country where there’s no rule. i didnt mean to curse bhutan and the lawmakers.i just simply wanted to convey that having passed the tobacco act, there is always a provision for amendments. i know that there is law to govern the country and the people but sometimes, implementation can be other way round like the case of drukair pilot and the police chiefs son…..cheers budy

  12. Health minister’s statement that majority supported the Act was ridiculous. I thought as the former vice chancellor he had little more brain.

    In that case

    – why don’t we ban other things where minority of Bhutanese are involved like extra marital affairs and illicit sex? So that families are saved.

    – Why don’t we ban Landcruisers and go for Maruti? It would be less drain on public finance.

    – Why don’t we ban holidays to Bangkok? Foreign currency could be saved?

    – Why don’t we ban import of wine and scotch whisky? Only minority drink these stuffs?

    Thought Taliban’s ruled ended in Afghanistan.

    Let’s not make a mockery of our nation that has given GNH to the world. A country that is the last bastion of Buddhism and a country that has been appreciated for a smooth transition to democracy.

    Intelligent people like JYT and Zimba who sit in the same cabinet should push for common sense rather than yield to collective stupidity.

  13. TORISE dragon says:

    Is Bhutan government really imposing real laws?? i sometime as a fellow citizen find it real hard even to read the laws in books…..are law makers non smokers/chewers?I guess the GNH is just an speech, because why is this tobacco act imposed,getting background of health reasons are for fake..as i met an old man whos smoking in his late 80’s since 14yrs.nothing happend to him if this is about health….if this is about relegion everyones not smoking…..where its only those minority who smoke….just one question to teh law makers….will BHutan government really ban the black market of selling tobacco?…….i doubt….are those laws enforced equally to the citizens…..if some body say ys than its wrong….coz the consigned agency just do it to the poors n lower lavel people and higher laber are not really cared about what they do or not…..in this news report a women was arrested coz of 15 pieces ciggreete…..what happend to the oficers who were caught with bunch from paro airport…why cant the media keep the new of those officers alive….it that confidential of the law makers???or is that coz of thier high rank so they need to be hiden from public notice……..we need to think a lot of upcoming future of our countrys state if we need GNH…

  14. The ever controversial law and more so the strict implementation certainly needs to be reviewed if not restructured.

    We must understand the basis or reason for laws. To my understanding a law is made and rules are laid out for better functioneing of a society. An act or thing which is unacceptable to majority and which causes discomfort to society and common man is termed illegal and the things which suite majority and is believed to be not harming the society is termed legal.

    The legality or illegality depends on the taste and requirement of society at any given time.

    In context of Tobacco control act: Firstly: Is the act by any means conforms to present society’s taste or requirements.
    Secondly: Who are the people actually affected by these restrictions? Does a comman man has resources to import the tobacco as per legal guidelines? OR is there any government agency detailed to supply the tobacco products in a legal way to common public?

    Questions are limitless? It is a known fact that tobacco is harmful; at the same time it is also equally true that a person (common man) habitual of tobacco cannot quit it so easily as the law making and enforcement agency percieve it to be. So what are we doing to rehabilitate these tobacco victims to give up tobacco in a medically approved gradual manner? ARE WE DOING ANYTHING? IS THERE ANY PLANS FOR IT? DON’T WE HAVE BIGGER AND MORE RELEVANT VICES TO FIGHT AND ENACT LAW AGAINST?

    To sustain the Gross National Happiness, these question of the common man needs to be answered.

    Please show us the way…

  15. tashi om says:

    Again today health minister is saying the act is perfect… Wht he does not understand if that we are not against the Tobacco act as such, but against the penalties which blurr the notion of criminal acts. Having cocaine or slaughtering somebody is less serious than having tobacco. And that’s where the act should be amended.. The universal values are denied.

  16. Right now, I don’t envy the government at all. They obviously find themselves between a rock and a hard place. I am of the view that they never expected such vocal opposition to the penalties as allowed by the tobacco act, in hindsight, they would gladly amend the act so that the penalties are not so draconian.

    For the sake of everyone, I hope good sense prevails and the government and amends the act during the summer session of parliament. I am sure there is a way out to do this.

  17. Flabbergasted says:

    Acts and rules like these is what creates NGOLOPS out of otherwise law abiding citizens.

    At the rate things are going right now, Bhutan could very well be one of the first asian country to witness the same thing that is happening in the arab world at the moment.

    P.S: I pray the informer goes to hell!

  18. I fully subscribe to the Ruling Government’s stance on the tobacco act. If an act has been passed by legislation, it cant be changed at least for a year. I again subscribe to this fact, as mandated by the mother of all laws-the Constitution. What i don’t understand and am skeptical about is the way we implement this very law. Today, people found in possession of the said contraband are jailed as required by the Tobacco Act. I say fine.

    The day, and the day is not very far (in fact it is here, with the Paro case); some one in the bureaucracy is caught in possession of the said contraband; we will find a way past this law. Laws, as everyone knows here are for the commoner only and does not apply to the bureaucracy. Thus to prove me and countless skeptics like me, the government must not shy away from the Paro case and do what must be done according to the Tobacco Act. Only then will people like me realize that the government is serious this time around and yes we can envision our country to be the cleanest state in the whole wide world.

  19. The day will never come when a high ranking official or family member is caught and incarcerated – this I guarantee you. Only commoners will be caught and jailed.

  20. I agree with you Sonam,
    Only common people will be caught and will be sent to jail. Look at MP’s and other high ranking officials, their car are not checked even at Checkpost and even do not stop for entry. Even if they are in possession of some Tobacco, they are let gone free.
    the application of law is patently obviously double standard. Implementing Tobacco Control Act is not only to arrest people and jailed them but there are more other many things in the Act that BICMA or our govt. has to do where govt. is miserably failing.

  21. My comment is with due regard and sincere respect to the general public. We don’t hesitate to talk rubbish against the government and the MPs supporting the ruling party without even realizing how irresponsible you are to the society and the government. Accountability is totally out of mind when it comes to ground reality!!! Forget every thing you got to be proper human being!!!

  22. Isn’t this like “shedding tears over a spilt milk”.

  23. I agree with you Sonam,
    Only common people will be caught and will be sent to jail. Look at MP’s and other high ranking officials, their car are not checked even at Checkpost and even do not stop for entry. Even if they are in possession of some Tobacco, it seems they will let those untouchable one go free.
    The application of law is patently obvious a double standard. The reason is simple -Implementing Tobacco Control Act is not only to arrest people and jailed them but there are many other things beautifully written in the Tobacco Control Act that BICMA or our govt. our has to do. The implementation of Tobacco Control Act inline with arresting people and forwarding the case to court, our govt or the responsible agency is sucessful but the other implementation requirement stated in Act is miserably failing.

  24. TORISE dragon says:

    well said sonam….i guess we should get back to the monarchy where the KING Himself rules the country……because this law makers whom we placed them on that chair are the horses who are kicking back in return of making Lyonpos,MP’s and NC’s…….

    if one among the leaders happens to read this….i pleadge to answer the above asked questions…

  25. If justice is to be render in tobacco cases, all the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act has to be implemented. At this hour, our govt. is only interested to implement a provision where common people have an obligation but utterly failing to fulfill their obligations as a responsible agency. When govt. them self is miserably failing to implement the obligation stated therein the act, why simply make common people to follow the act.
    The finest example where our govt. or responsible agency (BNC) is miserably failing – One of the provisions of the TCA states, “Board shall designate smoking rooms/areas in public places under section (3) from time to time”. Now the question is; did the board (BNC) designate smoking rooms/areas in public places? Answer is clear – BNC has not done their job as required by act. Therefore, we should join our hand to charge BNC too for violating the act because as a responbile agency they fail fail to execute their responsility.
    BNC will definitely defend their position with lame excuses of time constraint but if this is the case, fristly the implementation of the act itself shouldn’t have commence.
    Let’s now uproot the deeply inherited mindset pointing finger at other when youself always fail to practice as in the same way you ask other to do. Now it’s a time where our govt. has to lead by example and let common follow you thereafter
    Some Comment please …………….

  26. If justice is to be rendered in tobacco cases, i urged our govt. to implement all the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act. At this hour, our govt. is only interested to implement a provision where common people have an obligation but utterly failing to fulfill their obligations as a responsible agency. When govt. them self is miserably failing to implement the obligation stated therein the act, why simply make common people to follow the act.
    The finest example where our govt. or responsible agency (BNC) is miserably failing – One of the provisions of the TCA states, “Board shall designate smoking rooms/areas in public places under section (3) from time to time”. Now the question is; did the board (BNC) designate smoking rooms/areas in public places? Answer is clear – BNC has not done their job as required by act. Therefore, we should join our hand to charge BNC too for violating the act because as a responbile agency they fail fail to execute their responsility.
    BNC will definitely defend their position with lame excuses of time constraint but if this is the case, fristly the implementation of the act itself shouldn’t have commence.
    Let’s now uproot the deeply inherited mindset pointing finger at other when youself always fail to practice as in the same way you ask other to do. Now it’s a time where our govt. has to lead by example and let common follow you thereafter
    Some Comment please …………….

  27. If justice is to be rendered in tobacco cases, I urge that our govt. has to implement all the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act. At this hour, our govt. is only interested to implement a provision where common people have an obligation but utterly failing to fulfill their obligations as a responsible agency. When govt. them self is miserably failing to implement the obligation stated therein the act, why simply make common people to follow the act.
    One of the provisions of the TCA states, “Board shall designate smoking rooms/areas in public places under section (3) from time to time”. Now the question is; did the board (BNC) have designated smoking rooms/areas in public places? Answer is clear – BNC has not done their job as required by act. This proves that govt. or responsible agency (BNC) is miserably failing to implement their mandate as responsible agency.Therefore; we should join our hand to charge BNC too for violating the act because as an implementing agency, they too have failed to carry out their responsility as required by the act.
    BNC will definitely defend their position with lame excuses of time constraint but if this is the case, fristly the implementation of the act itself shouldn’t have commence.
    Let’s now uproot the deeply inherited mindset pointing finger at other when youself always fail to practice as in the same way you ask other to do. Now it’s a time where our govt. has to lead by example and let common follow you thereafter.
    Expertise view of our Hon’ble Opposition Leader if possible and others too.

  28. Pasang Dorji says:

    Who the HELL was that inspector? I think court has to charge that inspector instead of that woman for bullying others.
    Really, I can’t see any honesty in Bhutan now. Lawmakers has no mercy on poor people. As I read in one of the articles, law doesn’t say that consuming tobacco product is illegal for all citizens of our country, but it is all about money. I heard that few MPs (our government) smoke- means that are rich and they can buy enough tobacco for themselves and enjoy, while poor people are forced to stay in the darkness.

    I really appreciate for Lyonpo Tshering TObgay for your hard work and honesty. Even though Bhutan has a weak opposition, you guys are doing so great.
    I hope by now, people must have understood what democracy means, and they won’t go for MPs by looking at the President again.

  29. TORISE dragon says:

    The news with bhutantoday 28th april 2011 says officials who raided her house (women who was arrested on the possesion of 5stick ciggretes) have no search warrent as mendate under section 43(b)of tobaco control act. the legal officer said that such instances could lead to MISUSE of power and to settle scores…..she was jailed for a month and now what is the law amended to a person who dont even hav orders from teh egency to do so? can a BNCA,police etc officers go n just raid the house without search warrent…or is ther any laws to be followed before proceding something related to crime and controled acts…..FOR SURE I THINK THIS TIME GOVERNMENT IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF POWER THEY HAVE.BUT REMEMBER THAT EVERYPOWERS WONT WORK IN WRONG TIMING AND WRONG PLACES.

  30. I simply wonder why OL has to blog every issues and arrest made in connection with Tobacco Act?. If the intention is to amend the Act do it with relevant institution like NA and raise it in the parliament session. Please stop stirring up people’s emotion connected with Tobacco Act. It creates more problem, polarize society and cause unnecessary bad publicity for Bhutan.

    Cheers

  31. Thinlay Hunter says:

    Thinlay,
    Do you own this blog? NAH! i dint think so. hahahahahahahahaha

  32. TORISE dragon says:

    Thinley…
    i dont care what post you hold and what do you do for this country.But as an citizen i must inform you that opposition leaders are not to rule the country but to oppose what is done wrong to the citizen fellows like you and i.The lyonpo isbnt complaining or stirring peoples mind but hes making it transparent and its we poeple that the tobacco act isnt good to normal people paying 100% tax.Its much of harsh law enforced where its equal to murdering of a man law.i dont support the tobacco act law coz am non smoker but m ashamed to read the law equal to slaughtering of a man when found guilty of using ya trading of tobacco.
    as THINLAY u told abt NA and now i guess u r a bhutanese too and belong to an village.I must ask u one question..did u ever see the NA and NC supporting the poor people who are chain smokers and now they cnt buy to smoke due to 100% tax? did u ever see any one talking about tobacco act is too much for we normal citizens? i say no and must tell you that you and i are simple citizens and its high time we need the laws to be effective and simple for generations of generations to our childs…so you beta think of supporting the important talks rather than complaining and nagging to what beta people does for betterment………

  33. Dear India,
    T o quote your statement, “People are becoming aware of law and who knows one day, like singapore, Bhutan would become one of the cleanness country without tobacco”
    Don’t talk bullshit. Have you ever been to singapore. In singapore, Tobacco is not ban. Smoking in public place is only banned not tobacco as you claimed.

  34. TORISE dragon
    Is that really true that officials who raided women’s house were without court warrant? If that is the case, the due process of law hasn’t fulfilled and any evidence discovered during the such operation should be thrown out in the court of law during the trail. In legal principle regime, this is termed as, “fruit of poisonous tree” . The law enforcement agency has power but if the power are not used as required by law, then it is violation of fundamental rights of the people.
    Our constitution under the article 7 section 1 clearly provide, ” All persons shall have the rights to life, liberty and security of person and shall not be deprived of such rights except in accordance with the due process of law”. So before mounting any search, obtaining search warrant from the competent Court is due process requirement under Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of
    Bhutan. Without warrant and mounting search is obviously a infringement to the rights of people and therefore, they should answerable for such due process compliance failure and violation of fundamental rights in the court of law.

  35. Thinlay says:

    I thought i was saying the right thing. As a ordinary citizen, we can not do much about tobacco act unless it is re-discussed and amended by the NA.

    Cheers

  36. TORISE dragon,
    Please TORISE dragon tell me – are you sure that the women house was raided without judicial warrant?
    I am asking this since laws are being made for all and there is exception for the law enforcement agencies to bypass the procedure stated in the procedural law. Law requires an action from the law enforcement agencies but it does not mean that they can execute their duty as they wish. There are certain procedure that need to be followed and if they fail, the issue of due process surface where we have to question them for such failure.
    For the good of society at large, as a concern citizen of this great nation, we have the responsibility to make issue and prevent such misuse of power. If we fail to act today, such thing will go on for long time till someone make an issue out of that.

Leave a Reply