Thursday, May 16, 2013

Case of Two Who Got Away - Part II

It took two days of strenuous deliberations for the eminent members of the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to arrive at a decision with respect to their two wayward members who, as admitted by RCSC Commissioner Bachu Phub Dorji, “have breached civil service code of conduct” in joining political parties while still being members of the Civil Service. The decision of the Commission, as reported in the Kuensel issue of 16th May, 2013, is that the two teachers should be asked to “compulsorily retire” with immediate effect.

Excuse me, but isn’t that exactly what the teachers have asked? - that they be retired from the Civil Service - in order that they can join politics? Why did the RCSC take two days to deliver a decision that is exactly what the teachers had all along been asking? And, by the way, giving the erring civil servants “full post-retirement benefits” is considered “major penalty”?

I think the RCSC is missing out on the long-term implications of their decision. I think they are setting a precedence that is going to haunt them over the years.

I can understand that the RCSC has been placed in a difficult position - given that a wrong decision could cause further chaos and confusion to the already bewildering state of affairs that is currently prevailing in the electoral process that is currently underway. Sadly, the RCSC's decision causes even more confusion. I think they could have come up with a more credible decision. A more sensible pronouncement could have redeemed the teachers of the ethical and moral baggage that they now have to carry around them. Since the teachers’ have been charged on grounds of inappropriate conduct, by default, the uprightness and integrity of the political parties who employed them will stand to be questioned.

Kuensel further quotes; “Chief election commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said their understanding of compulsory retirement was “honourable discharge” and that they welcome the news”.

What is implied is that “honourable discharge” is not tantamount to dismissal. In other words, the Chief Election Commissioner is implying that the two teachers have been consigned to the realm of the Purgatory - the middle realm. They are neither in hell nor in heaven. Thus, the ECB’s rule of disallowing “dismissed employees” from contesting in elections, would not be applied. 

That is all hunky-dory - but now we need to wait and see how the ECB will explain away that small matter surrounding the issue of the teachers being APOLITICAL beings and how then can still remain to be candidates of two political parties. Remember, even as I write this, the "honourable discharge" has not taken place.

Frankly, all this to me is an exercise in academia. For the good of the country and the electoral process, I would prefer that no big deal is made of the issue at this late stage. As far as I am concerned, given the lack of any credible choice, and the precariousness of our financial condition, I would prefer that we give the Primary Round a complete miss. However, since that is no longer plausible, I am personally in favour of the disqualified BKP being reinstated to contest the Primary Rounds. After all, it seems that BKP got disqualified because they were honorable enough to follow the ECB rules while, ironically, those parties that disregarded the rules, went on to qualify.

From all indications, the 2013 Parliamentary Elections is going to be an eventful one. If rumours are to be believed, even more bizarre occurrences are in the works. For size, try this: there is a strong rumour that secret alliances have already been forged between parties.

Those of you who are so eager to quote the Constitution should know that this is completely against the very spirit of our Constitution. In the coming weeks, this will be the subject that I will most actively broach on! Because, the very essence of our Constitution defining our democracy as a two-party Parliamentary Democracy is based on the fact that collusive party politics and horse-trading among political parties is the worst form of democracy.


  1. I wondered if someone like me could afford to be judgemental on RCSC’s decision, and I realized obviously! When a civil servant breaks a rule, it is an offense to be dealt with; by punishment. These civil servants went against regulations which is being overlooked by both ECB and RCSC and even making adjustments. As per the RCSC, they’ve been “penalized” by asking them to “compulsorily retire”. The ECB sees this as an “honourable discharge” and the penalization does not translate to anywhere close to “disqualification” making them eligible to be a member of their respective political parties. I wonder if the reactions would have been the same had they been DPT candidates ? With this precedence, what happens if the next time civil servants join political parties en masse before resignation?

  2. In our GNH country, Bhutan, anything can happen. Impossible can become possible. The RCSC used draft rules and regulations 2010 to retire me compulsorily. Now, is that decision/RCSC's order valid? As far as I am concerned, it is INVALID. What do you have to say on this?

  3. Compulsorily retired should not be considered as honorable discharge. If it is honorable, why is it compulsory?