On the subject of Kuensel editorial ( today the 18th August ) on Fiscal Incentives and questioning constitutionality of the Cabinet request to the Speaker. Perhaps Kuensel has shot itself in the foot this time. A pity after the much appreciated last two prior editorials on " Table tours "
Looks like a " table editorial " meaning a piece devoid of the slightest effort to examine the context and procedures for approaching His Majesty the King for exercise of Royal Pre- rogative in commanding Supreme Court's review /opinion on constitutional matters.
The editorial maintains that the Cabinet overlooked ( meaning breached ) the Constitution in making this request to quote " the Speaker to consider seeking the Supreme Court's interpretation on Fiscal Incentives granted before May 8." Unquote.
This allegation against the Cabinet is way off the mark. Seeking interpretation of Supreme Court on matter of Fiscal Incentives is a legistive issue.Therefore such a request has to be routed through the Parliament. The Government cannot directly approach His Majesty the King on legislative matters. Thus the Cabinet request to the Speaker for consideration.
The Cabinet request in no way breaches the Royal Pre- rogatives incorporated in the Constitution. If the Speaker deems the Cabinet request worthy of action then he will follow the due Parliamentary established procedure for approaching His Majesty the King in seeking Supreme Court opinion on the Fiscal Incentives granted prior May 8.
Many Bhutanese individual and Agencies have been quick on harping about Constitutionalities of many things. And Kuensel jumps into the same fervour blindfolded. Most unfortunate. Constitution is sacred. Not a tool for expression of everyday grievances.
I wrote 3 articles on Fiscal Incentives controversies in my blog on 24th June, 27th June and finally on 6th July. After having heard both the PM and OL live on BBS, I pointed out that the landmark Supreme Court Judgement has to be re- visited again because in so far as I recall that judgement did not take away the authority of the Government to grant Fiscal Incentives.
The Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay maintained that Government had the authority till Parliament endorsed Fiscal Incentives as Money Bill. The Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho maintained that Government had the authority ( meaning DPT Cabinet ) till the day the Supreme Court Judgement was passed on the 1st Constitutional Court Case " Opposition versus the Government " on taxation procedure.
The present Cabinet's request to the Speaker for Supreme Court's interpretation is similar to my stand that the landmark judgement needs to be revisited to resolve the difference in the proper understanding of the judgement by both the PDP and DPT Parties. Two completely different interpretation of a landmark judgement is uncommon if not down right rediculous. This was dealt exhaustively in my article of 6th July, 2017 under the title , " The Fiscal. Incentives the flashing constitutional controversy in Bhutanese Politics."
It is difficult to write 6 editorials a week and I respect the dilemmas between temptations of controversies and substantive subjects. An Editor of Kuensel unlike other Papers we have in Bhutan, has to pass a different standard that can only come with much collective experiences on the editorial desk. That's why I miss Mr. Phuntsho Wangdi the very hard working former Kuensel Editor the quiet unassuming person that he was in personality and a giant that he represented in the field of editorials. He is a man whom any editor could get coaching from.