News and Views on Tibet

Parliamentary session halted as MPs walk out over ‘Document 39’

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By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 13: The proceedings of the biannual session of 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile has been halted since Saturday as a group of MPs from the Utsang, Domey and Europe constituency staged a walk out over their objection citing the revival of the infamous ‘Document 39’ that ousted all the Judges of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission and defamation of sitting judges of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission.

On September 10th, during the discussion on an amendment to the Charter regarding the qualifications of candidates of justice commissioners of the TSJC, MP Juchen Kunchok Choedon protested that the judges of the TSJC who drafted the bill are “illegal and invaders” and without authority citing ‘Document 39’. In response, few MPs including MP Dawa Phunkyi argued that speaking against sitting judges of the TSJC is not permitted and that revival of the ‘Document 39’ goes against the legitimacy of all the incumbent MPs as they were administered oath of office by the Speaker, who was sworn in by the judges of the TSJC.

MP Dawa Phunkyi raised few objections within the house over the matter before walking out and with other joining the protest. Since then, 8 Utsang MPs, 10 Domey MPs and 1 Europe have refused to join the parliamentary session. “We are unable to resume the session because the other group continues to call the sitting judges illegal despite taking oaths from the Speaker who was sworn in by the same judges, and agreeing to not discuss the issue in parliament earlier,” MP Phunkyi told the press on Monday.

On the other side, MP Kunchok Yarphel on Monday told the press, “We cannot accept the condition placed by the other group that they will only return to the parliament if the matter surrounding ‘Document 39’ and the sitting judges are not raised in the parliament.” He cited freedom of speech to raise the matter concerning ‘Document 39’ in the parliament.

The President of the CTA, Sikyong Penpa Tsering told the media, “All sides should refrain from activities that hinder the official proceedings and impede the functioning of CTA.” He however reiterated that the Kashag (Cabinet) considers the issue surrounding ‘Document 39’ to be resolved and the judges of the TSJC to be legitimate.

The Speaker of TPiE Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering declined to speak with the media on Monday evening and the house is unable to convene without the necessary quorum since Saturday, now moving on to the third working day since September 10.

In October last year, elected lawmakers unanimously agreed to seek His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s recommendation, which was to take the oath of office as per the Tibetan charter. The Dalai Lama, while giving his recommendation, said that his guidance cannot be in breach of the Charter. The Tibetan spiritual leader had responded through a two paged letter where he said that he was “disappointed” that the 17th TPiE was unable to convene and that the incident may cause Tibetans, especially those in Tibet, to lose hope. Furthermore, he had suggested that if parliamentarians were to disagree with the said recommendation, the Election Commission should move on to exercise its authority as per the charter to secure a majority in the parliament to continue proceedings. 

11 Responses

  1. The trouble with you whether you are a CCP troll or whatever is, you never answer my questions like why didn’t the custodian of the law (ཁྲིམས་བདག་གསུམ་པོ་) REFUSE TO LEAVE if your claim is to be believed? BUT THE REALITY IS, THEY WERE CONVINCED OF THE DECISION THE PARLIAMENT MADE AND DID THE RIGHT THING BY AND RESIGNED! That’s a fact you can’t deny!
    The parliament is not a football team. It doesn’t play games. It doesn’t need a REFEREE to judge who is doing the right thing or wrong thing. It makes laws to run the country. They are ALL THEMSELVES WELL VERSED IN THE CONSTITUTION! Nobody sits ABOVE Parliament to judge them! This phenomena among Tibetans is the ONLY ONE in the world where a stranger’s dictate receives more respect than the decision of three thirds of the parliament!!! This clearly shows the feudal mentality of Tibetans and utter lack of parliamentary conventions! This kind of mentality is no different from communist China’s National People’s Congress or Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea! They are just rubber stamps but all decision making power lies with Xi and Kim. In the present episode of Resolution 39, Samdhong Rinpoche was hailed exactly like dictator Xi and Kim in their respective countries and the Tibetan parliament was reduced to a sham!!! I have more respect for the parliament than individuals who wield power through their proxies and lackeys.
    Pema Jungne has CATEGORICALLY REJECTED Samdhong Rinpoche’s contention but Samdhong Rinpoche’s foot soldiers and proxys continue the same tired argument and in order to legitimise their comrades and their illegal usurpation of the high office of SJC. They only look through the prism of their vested interest and not the rule of law and democratic conventions and protocols! These people are not democratically enamoured but driven by dictatorial instincts. Their centrifugal force is the power of Samdhong Rinpoche and they are driven by the whims of him. Owing to the undemocratic misdeeds of these people, Tibetan democracy is at its lowest ebb. In parliament, they stone-wall debate by walkouts and nonsensical utterances. People are losing faith in Tibetan democracy. They are seeing only chaos, altercation and anarchy.
    All this because of the feudal mentality that has infected people who can’t think for themselves but follow big wigs for their vaunted status and influence. This would never have happened if the proxy army of Samdhong Rinpoche didn’t put him as the policeman of the Tibetan parliament! Nobody has the authority to dismiss parliamentary resolutions but Tibetan Xi’s and Kim’s have no qualms to do it without blinking an eye! It’s a sad commentary that feudal residues and their dictatorial henchmen have held Tibetan parliament in ransom!

  2. You should ask this question to the impeached Supreme Justice Commissioners! Indeed, why didn’t they use the same pretext you are using here to hang on without quitting their job in the first place? The three SJC SHOULD HAVE KNOWN then exactly as you seem to suggest and remain in their high office! If they had a case as you and your denier comrades seem to repeat like a mantra, why didn’t the three who are at the centre of the controversy knew nothing about it then and walked away? Why?
    If you got any conscience, you have to begrudgingly accept that the three SJCs were perfectly satisfied with the verdict by the Parliament and walked away like real gentlemen but then something happened which turned the whole thing on its head! Isn’t that fishy?
    It is simplistic and undemocratic to say that Article 54 “ invalidated and repudiates Resolution 39”! It shows the level of immorality you are prepared to stoop in order to get your uncharitable ambition. If that was the case why on earth didn’t the three stand firm and refuse to leave their office? Who stopped them? Who shut their mouth?
    It’s only when somebody came along and made such comments doesn’t change an iota of the validity of the Resolution 39! Samdhong Rinpoche had himself said umpteen times in the parliament གལ་ཏེ་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ནས་ཐག་གཅོད་བྱུང་ན་ མི་མང་གིས་འདོད་ཀྱང་མི་འདོད་ཀྱང་ཐ་མའི་ཐག་གཅོད་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ཐག་གཅོད་དེ་མ་གཏོགས་གཞན་མེད་ Why don’t you COMPREHEND THIS?????
    Do you see how Samdhong Rinpoche is contradicting himself!!! What he said is on the record! You can find it on internet!
    I will give you another example. Let’s say, a lawfully married couple’s marriage is wrecked because one partner is involved in infidelity. Does this mean, the marriage is automatically invalidated and they don’t have to go through filing divorce papers and go to court to annual the marriage? Instead, can they just walk away from each other? Don’t they have to go to court to sign papers to annual the marriage?
    By your logic, there is no need to file divorce at all because it was “invalidated” by their infidelity!
    The very notion of invalidating bonafide resolutions automatically is a unique idea only Tibetans have conjured up because of their lack of democratic credentials. Most Tibetans including those born in exile are not well educated. They have no sense of achieving academic success but mostly driven by the greed to get rich by any means. So, there are very few Tibetan intellectuals who knows about democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech etc. Their lives are mostly devoted to making money and getting rich rather than pursuing any intellectual quest for knowledge. So, they lack intellectual scepticism and follow gullible people instead of forming their own ideas. No wonder, we are in such a quagmire of confusion!

    1. རྒྱལ་གཅེས་པ་ Your name calling, unproven allegations and belittling other Tibetans do no lend credence to your point of view.

      Be that as it may, what the Hon. Parliamentarian Samdhong Rinpoche said in the parliament..” གལ་ཏེ་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ནས་ཐག་གཅོད་བྱུང་ན་ མི་མང་གིས་འདོད་ཀྱང་མི་འདོད་ཀྱང་ཐ་མའི་ཐག་གཅོད་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ཐག་གཅོད་དེ་མ་གཏོགས་གཞན་མེད་ ” is absolutely correct. It is absolutely correct when Parliament follows and respects the charter to the letter as expected. However, it is definitely not correct as far as Resolution 39 is concerned because Parliament led by then Speaker Pema Jungney did not follow the Charter’s directive under Article 54. By circumventing Article 54, due process was not followed by Speaker Pema Jungney in his haste to impeach the Supreme Justices. Subsequently, recognizing the monumental error Speaker Pema Jungney tendered his resignation. Therefore, in the process of deliberation, had he followed the directive and adhered to Article 54, Honourable Samdhong Rinpoche’s statement and observation would have indeed applied to Resolution 39 and Speaker Pema Jungney’s resignation would not have been warranted. Unfortunately, his failure and the Parliament’s failure to respect the Charter by not following Article 54 renders Resolution 39 illegal and consequently Hon. Samdhong Rinpoche’s observation not applicable to Resolution 39.

  3. A malevolent CCP stooge is trolling here with renewed zest! The troll doesn’t use reason for civil debate but uses his CCP language of hate and intimidation against his opponents. This is a well trodden path of the evil CCP terrorists and their lackeys.
    First, the wumao claims Resolution 39 to be “illegal”!!! Who is the appointed adjudicator who has come to such conclusion? Can you tell me? Was Samdhong Rinpoche the appointed adjudicator? Who appointed him?
    Is it because you think it’s “illegal”, that makes it illegal? You are a running dog of the CCP and have nothing to do with the Tibetan affairs but you are still butting your rotten head here in order to fulfil the wishes of your boss, right? We know the CCP is putting its agents everywhere to interfere and influence public opinion! Even Twitter and Utube are plagued by CCP spies and influencers!
    The CCP has a vested interest in keeping the Tibetans divided to weaken the Tibetan independence Movement. Just like the CCP is supporting the Kuomintang pro-unification Party in Taiwan and discredit the DPP who are seeking total independence for Taiwan from communist China, the CCP is supporting the present incumbent in Dharamsala because he is sucking up to the communist regime by uttering words that no other Tibetan among the six million Tibetans have never even dreamt of uttering their lives! Samdhong Rinpoche and the incumbent wears the badge of honour for condemning independence minded Tibetans and likening them to an evil cult but simultaneously cozying up to the world’s most despicable cult that is the CCP. They endeared themselves to the CCP and have been richly rewarded for their loyalty and compliance with their dictates. Therefore the CCP troll has every interest to protect these individuals and propagate their narrative to fool the Tibetan public into believing the lies, fabrications and obfuscations that are thrown around to hoodwink unsuspecting ordinary Tibetans. The reality of course is different. The CTA is not a full-fledged Government like sovereign nations. The Supreme Justice Commissioners are only token institutions that characterises sovereign nations but are toothless representations and nothing more. They should have swallowed their bursting ego and taken actions according to their own standing. If a fox jumps where the tiger jumps, its only natural, it will break its neck and that’s what happened to those three undisciplined Justice Commissioners. In other words, they bit off more than they can chew!
    If it was indeed “illegal” as the monotonous babbler would have us believe, why on earth didn’t the justice commissioners protest when they were impeached? Why didn’t they refuse to step down? They were entitled to reject on the basis of its illegality and they were supposed to be the custodians of the law!!! Who taped their mouth? Can you tell me? Why did they act like a lamb before the slaughterer and quietly quit their office? Any answer? This alone exposes the treachery, subterfuge and disingenuous nature of those rogue SJC!
    Indeed, when the plotters saw the disaster that had befallen their comrade-in-arms, Samdhong Rinpoche came in from the cold after a hiatus of ten long years! Only that he was an unelected imposter and had no right to impose anything on others by any stretch of imagination. Bad habits die hard they say and once again, he did what he did. Reinterpretation of the charter to suit his own agenda by dancing around སུ་རུང་ and creat a chaos and division that seems to have no end! For your information, SR in fact took himself the liberty to act like a tinpot dictator to humiliate,degrade and delegitimise the Tibetan Parliament and reduced it to ridicule and derision! Even you have the audacity to call them “dim-witted”! Indeed, he opened a cane of worms which might have come from Zhongnanhai as opposed to Bir! This is how Tibetan democracy was murdered in broad day light by those who should have known better. Such shameless nepotism has stymied the very august body’s legitimacy and its dignity! And yet, instead of being remorseful and attempting to fix the rift, the CCP poodle amplifies the rift to creat even more rancour among the two warring groups. The incumbent has followed in the footsteps of his mentor to save his cronies and that has delegitimised himself. Today, he cuts a lonely figure in the community. Atleast half the exile population have been alienated and have neither respect nor no love lost for him. Through his stupidity, he tried to save the three disgraced SJC and now they are like an albatross around his neck. It is toxic and is corrosive!
    Instead of kicking the cane down the road, both parties must muster courage to deal with it in a civil way to save the dignity of the high office of Tibetan parliament and the unity of Tibetan people. The whole principle of democracy is to come together to discuss any topic in the spirit of give and take and come to an amicable solution without resorting to violence and bloodshed. At the end of the day, both parties must work for the good of the Tibetan people to advance the cherished goal of regaining our country in our hand. It may take hundred or two hundred years but we can never relinquish our nation and be dispossessed forever. We must shed blood if need be but never ever forfeit the ownership of our nation that is bequeathed to us by our illustrious ancestors.

    1. རྒྱལ་གཅེས་པ་ Why don’t you try reading and comprehending Article 54 of the Charter.

      Article 54 is titled “Restriction on discussion in the Tibetan Parliament” and reads as follows…..”No discussion or debate shall take place in the Tibetan Parliament with respect to the removal or conduct of the Chief Justice Commissioner or any of the other two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission except after a committee constituted by the Tibetan Parliament for the purpose had submitted its enquiry report thereon.”

      Article 54 essentially invalidates and repudiates Resolution 39 thus rendering it illegal as there was no commmittee constituted by the then Parliament nor an enquiry report produced. Therefore, any reference to the illegimate Resolution 39 in the current and future Parliament is unwarranted.

  4. “Article 54: Restriction on discussion in the Tibetan Parliament
    No discussion or debate shall take place in the Tibetan Parliament with respect to the removal or conduct of the Chief Justice Commissioner or any of the other two Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission except after a committee constituted by the Tibetan Parliament for the purpose had submitted its enquiry report thereon.”

    Just going to leave this hear for those who’re on the fence. Of course nothing can win over those who’re being wilfully obtuse, but even those who say chatrim needs rectification are just giving too much leg room to malicious misinterpreters. THE CHATRIM IS ADEQUATELY CLEAR. It’s a marvel how that little booklet, no thicker than a tourist brochure, has condensed most intricacies of constitutional governance.

    Kudos to the oldies who drafted it! And no quarters to the motivated malcontents, enough with the appeasement!

  5. I wish more folks were familiar with parliamentary procedures aka Robert’s Rules of Order. Walking out to deny quorum is mob rule and is not permitted. The Speaker has the right to have sergeants at arm to bring them back What should happen is the UTsang, Amdo and Europe MPs who objected to reference to Resolution 39 should make a motion of their objection, have it seconded and put it to vote and move on to complete the agenda.
    The agenda items were agreed to by MPs who then have an obligation to complete the session. MPs can of course raise out of order objections, etc.
    If parliamentary procedures are disrespected then the Speaker has the right to state that those MPs are not members in good standing.

    1. Here comes another apologist, albeit a sneaky one, trying to malign this walkout with his newly acquired Wikipedia knowledge replete with imitative terms like sergeants-at-arms. That very obscure Robert’s law you’re trying to present as some kind of constitutional warrant was a one-off incident in the US senate in its two-hundred year history, which has no incidence anywhere else in the world, whereas walkouts are a regular phenomena everywhere. Any way, that measure is irrelevant as Tibetan MPs staged a walkout NOT to deny quorum to suppress the proceeding at hand but in objection to slander against the judges. LOOK UP ARTICLE 54 of the chatrim, it FORBIDS any talk on the conduct of judges, and here they were doling out abuses calling them bandits and intruders.

      Even the impeachment contravened Article 54. After giving LS free pass on everything even a vanity project like Gangjong, they wanted the whole rigmarole of a committee, investigation and report for a dead duck like Gangjong, but dismissed the Chief Justice in an hour as if he were some contractual day labourer caught spitting gutkha on the premises. Show me the committee and report instituted in parliament by Pema Jungney for the impeachment.

      If not, letter 39 is as illegal, period.

      Those opposing it should vociferously denounce its very legality instead of faffing about how we must bury the bygones after HH’s intervention.

      And as for your bright suggestion, why should the Dhomey-Utsang chithues pass a motion on letter 39, they’d inadvertently legitimatise an illegal document, that’s exactly what the malcontents want. And even the maroon-mob in parliament is not bringing a motion despite crying hoarse about it, because if they did, it would be defeated by a divided house and that would put an end to letter 39 forever. See, that’s situational awareness and real politicking, even our most daft parliamentarians have it. A pompous nickname with irrelevant tidbits picked up from Wikipedia will not give you that, especially when you’re motivated by a sneaky bias to palm off the blame to the other party rather than the actual disrupters.

  6. In the world of journalism, objectivity is regarded is the greatest merit. The greatest news outlets in print, visual or audio, have achieved great heights of fame owing to their credibility objectivity. Today, many Tibetan commentators on visual media are complaining of bias in the Tibetan audio and visual media. Their concerns are not entirely out of merit. The report by Tenzin Dharpo paints RESOLUTION 39 as “infamous”! Why “infamous”? It clearly shows he is biased against the 22 chitues who were responsible for having the audacity to impeach the wayward Justice Commissioners who, through their hubris penalised eleven chitues the right to vote in the 2021, allegedly for not holding the winter session during the height of the Wuhan virus! There was no way, the parliamentarians could travel from their host countries when India was in complete lockdown! It was totally unnecessary to punish the eleven chitues owing to the prevailing circumstances.
    Since, the Justice Commissioners were hell bend on imposing their will on the chitues, the chitues invoked the constitutional rights to impeach them for their unfair and arbitrary use of Sue moto which had no basis whatsoever under the circumstances, nor the exile charter has in anyway sanctioned in any of its articles. So, they were impeached by two thirds majority and Supreme Justice Commissioners accepted the verdict and left their portfolio. That should have been the end of the story but vested interests supporting the present incumbent in Dharamsala raised their ugly head! Samdhong Rinpoche, on the eve of the present incumbent’s election gave an entirely different commentary on the exile charter in order to reverse the impeachment of the three supreme Justice commissioners.
    The reason behind this is, at least one of the justice commissioner was responsible for awarding the case Number 20 victory to plaintiff Penpa Tsering. Samdhong Rinpoche is the God father of Penpa Tsering! He therefore played on the semantic on the words of the charter in order to save the Justice Commissioner who had saved the political life of Penpa Tsering by giving him victory against then Kashag and making him eligible to contest the 2021 election!
    By playing on words such as སུ་རུང་ he cunningly hoodwinked the utterly ignorant Tibetan public. He also exhorted the public to take action to save the three impeached Justice Commissioners! In other words, it was a call for coup d’état against those who impeached Penpa Tsering’s saviours!
    The old guard who supported Penpa Tsering moved swiftly to discredit the 22 chitues and pilloried them to no end. Slanderous accusations were made against them in order to nullify the impeachment. Penpa Tsering on his part stuck to his God father’s interpretation and sought to completely ignore Resolution 39 and appointed Dawa Tsering as the interim leader. Dawa Tsering is another God father for PT. After all, it was Dawa Tsering who anointed him as a Sikyong candidate from U-Tsang!!! You have to wonder why since PT doesn’t belong to U-Tsang!
    Democracy has been hijacked by vested interests. The fact of the matter is, REOLUTION 39 CANNOT BE INVALIDATED WITHOUT FOLLOWING PROPER DEMOCRATIC CONVENTIONS. ONLY THE TIBETAN PARLIAMENT CAN INVALIDATE RESOLUTION 39 AND NOBODY ELSE! Therefore, the only way to deal with present paralysis that has plagued the Tibetan parliament is for both parties to come together and discuss on how to deal with Resolution 39. Without dealing with it, it will remain a festering wound that will continue to paralyse the parliament because it cannot be wished away as some people like Dawa Tsering and Dawa Phunkyi would have us belief. It only goes to show their disgraceful attitude to democracy and its norms. These people are living in a world where rules and regulations mean nothing and only the might is right is the golden rule.

    1. 1. Lie: The pandemic had abated in September 2020 after a deadly streak in the summer and lockdown was actually lifted in India at the time. In fact, both the Indian parliament and Himachal assembly were sitting in session in September. There are only 5 MPs in TPIE from abroad, they could’ve abstained or participated online, otherwise the whole of subcontinent was open. When the Indian government had ruled that the lockdown was lifted, what authority did Pema Jungney and co have to rule otherwise. Did he assume dominionship of the tiny kingdom of Dhasa to make the law of the land, probably some godly figure from Bir bestowed him with such powers, eh?

      2. Correction: The justices assumed Suo Moto same way as the Indian Supreme Court did. Indian SC is also not mandated with suo moto in writ, but by exercising discretionary power of the judiciary, Indian SC assumed this power in light of the particular challenging legal landscape of the country. I wouldn’t mind if the parliamentarians opposed the move as judicial outreach. But if they were in principle against Suo Moto, they should’ve opposed it when the justices assumed the power, not opportunistically when it hurt them.

      3. Reaction: I’m ambivalent on whether the clause specified collective or single removal since that’s a question of semantics and my Tibetan is not good, but I’ll defer to Samdhong Rinpoche’s interpretation over a deluded internet rando.

      4. Refutation of letter 39: Article 54 of the constitution states that the removal of judges CANNOT even be DISCUSSED in the parliament until a proper investigation committee and report are produced. I would support letter 39 if this condition was fulfilled. But Pema Jungney JUMPED straight to impeachment in a huff WITHOUT due procedure that too with a secret ballot. The motion for impeachment was illegal in itself as it contravened Article 54, and the unprecedented conduct of vote by secret ballot was a corrosion of transparency in parliament.

      Quite galling to hear about deference to rules and regulations from someone like you when your whole screed is coloured with indecorous allegations of bias and collusion against sitting ministers and members but your actual argument is just peppered with falsehoods and half-baked interpretations.

      Go on raging in your echo chamber, your pompous verbose hectoring is just full of malice but bereft of any sense – just like the idiotic uncouth MPs representing you.

  7., nice attempt at trying to portray this as a mere difference of opinion between two equally legitimate arguments. Let me reword the article for you, ‘Dimwitted uncouth parliamentarian repeatedly denounces legitimacy of judges while meek possibly collusive speaker watches on despite objections that Article 54 disallows discussion on judges in house and questioning the legality of judges jeopardises the legality of the whole house too.’

    The previous impeachment and accompanying resolution 39 was ILLEGAL because it didn’t adhere to Article 54 which restricts any discussion on judges without a proper investigative committee and report. That whole fiasco could’ve been avoided if the judges had opposed it head-on and prosecuted Pema Jungney for making an illegal motion. Continuing on the same appeasement route, fence-sitters like would rather obfuscate this into a ‘he said-she said match’ instead of taking a clear objective stance that accords with the law. Don’t sit on the fence too hard, Phayul, might be injurious to your own posterior.

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