Civil service bill

Earlier today, at about 4:30 PM, after four days of discussions, we decided to conclude the deliberations on the Civil Service Bill. The bill will be adopted tomorrow morning. It will then be forwarded to the National Council.

But I’m still confused.

On day one of the discussions, we decided to remove Section 2(d) of the bill. This section repeals all sections of the Judicial Service Act that pertain to personnel matters. So we removed it to protect the independence of the judiciary. But on day two, the section was reinserted in order to ensure parity in personnel policies among all branches of the government. And today, the section was removed yet again.

I’m satisfied that section 2(d) will be removed, that the sections of the Judicial Service Act that pertain to personnel matters will not be repealed. After all, how can the judiciary be truly independent if they do not have authority over their own human resources?

But, I’m concerned that the Civil Service Bill still infringes on the independence of the judiciary. The bill states that “Civil servants in all the three branches of the government, shall function in accordance with the policies, rules, regulations and procedures framed by the Royal Civil Service Commission”, and that the purpose of the legislation is to “provide an umbrella Civil Service Act to ensure parity, consistency and uniformity of personnel actions within the three branches of the Government.”

And, so I’m confused. The Judiciary Service Act gives the judiciary complete authority over personnel matters. But, the Civil Service Bill says that the judiciary’s personnel actions will be governed by the “umbrella” Civil Service Act.


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    CORPOPRATIONS UNDER SCRUTINY- 8 July, 2009 – National Assembly members raised issues concerning government corporations yesterday, while questioning cabinet ministers on measures taken by the government to monitor their activities and prevent misuse of public resources.

    Punakha Kabji-Talo MP Tshering Penjore said that corporations were sustained by government as well as private shareholders, but a few people running the company, especially the management, might misuse these resources. “What are the ways used by the government to ensure that revenue is not misused?” he said.
    Responding to the MP’s comments, finance minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu said that the government owned maximum shares in all corporations, which required the companies to function according to the Companies Act. “Corporations’ annual financial reports are also with the finance ministry,” he said.

    He said that boards of directors governed all management in corporations and the government also appoints the managing directors. He added that Druk Holdings and Investments (DHI), after establishment, monitored the corporations under its purview.

    Opposition leader Tshering Tobgay said that DHI, after its inception only a few years ago, had already managed to make great achievements in terms of revenue and progress. He commended the progress of DHI and its companies.

    Health minister Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa said that the corporations were growing and making profits even before they came under the purview of DHI. He said that DHI’s achievement, on the other hand, was not known, as their work progress or achievement reports were never submitted to the government. He informed the Assembly that the DHI Chairman was paid Nu 140,000 as salary, excluding allowances. “We doubt whether there’s equal pay for equal work and it needs to be looked at,” he said.

    Members also questioned the sitting fees paid to board members in corporations. Mongar MP Sonam Penjor said that some corporations and private companies were paying Nu 10,000 per member as sitting fees, which costs the companies millions and was unfair to shareholders. He suggested that the managing director and the member secretary of the company should not be paid sitting fees. “The sitting fee system in corporations need to be looked at,” he said.

    Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu said that the government is monitoring the sitting fees and most corporations were paying about Nu 3,000 to Nu 5,000. The fees were higher in private companies, he said. The finance minister, however, said that the ministry would review the matter.

  2. Perhaps we need to look at other democratic countries and see if judiciary has that much independence as ours do. In some countries the judges are appointed by the President e.g. The United States and yet they claim Judiciary is totally independent, why? While we are not able to witness your debates but your frequent changes on resolutions evades our trust in the Parliament. The Civil Service issue in the US, UK and even India (they don’t have a Act yet) has remained unresloved, so if the MPs are not competent to discuss the issue, the best choice is to leave the civil service as it is, since it has worked. Otherwise we see a potential danger of making things very complicated and unpleasant.

  3. here, everyone, every organization wants autonomy and independence!! But the question is, can small country like Bhutan with around 7 lakhs people can afford to have such fragmentation??? Earlier, we were more than happy to work under one umbrella i.e. Monarch!!!

  4. It seems to me that the Highest Legislative body doesn’t know what they are doing. Mps do something today and then they will change it the next day and then again do the samething. This itself shows that they didn’t do any homework. And I feel that the term independence of Judiciary shouldn’t be taken is a very broad term. Judiciary shouldn’t be thought at par with ACC,RAA.. Whatever it is if there arises anything that infringes the Independence of Judiciary, it may be challenged before the Supreme Court in future..I guess.

    I have a question that always lingers in my mind… Is the govt. complete in the abscence of High Court and the Supreme Court,the guardian of the Constitution? Not a single Mps raised this concern till date.

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