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HARMONIZATION OF LAWS: SOLUTION AT THE SOURCE!

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    btcivicsense
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    While going through several articles published in the Kuensel dated Thursday, August 11, 2016 and Friday, August 13, 2016 like “12 major legislative and policy issues under NC scanner, Council supports Supreme court writ and Thrompon not part of LG (August 13, 2016)”, YES I totally agree that there is clear contradictory and non-harmonization among relevant laws and the constitution. BUT the approach in addressing this issue is something that I would like to share my opinion. I applaud what Hon’ble NC members are initiating in this regard, however, I say that it is short term measures as for how long will the Hon’ble NC’s continue undertaking such task.

    My recommendation is, there is a “SOLUTION AT SOURCE” from long term perspective and it is mere commonsense. We all know that there is a tool adopted by many countries especially OECD known as “Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA – for more information please Google it)”. However, RIA is much bigger and complex tool but we could simplify it into our context, objective and scope. Borrowing RIAs concept and methodology, we could develop a similar tool as a mandatory requirement to be fulfilled by the concerned agency/organization prior to submission of any legislation for enactment to/by the parliament. Such tool may be called as “Legislation Impact Assessment/Analysis (LIA – broad scope) or Cross-Legislation Impact Assessment/Analysis (CLIA – narrow scope)” with the objective to overcome dis-harmony and contradictory legal provisions with other relevant laws and the constitution. It should be like a rule that laws shall be accepted by the parliament only upon ensuring proposed law is not in contradictory or dis-harmony with any other relevant laws. If there are inevitable and pertinent legal provisions that is in contradictory or dis-harmony then concrete observations and suggestion has to be submitted but upon consulting and having reached a consensus with the concerned stakeholder(s). Overall, upon ensuring and addressing all the contradictory and dis-harmony among all relevant laws, a detail report has to be submitted along with the Bill to the parliament.

    On the other hand, like to inform all here that a good practice like RIA has been initiated 5 – 7 years ago in Bhutan and the managing authority is the Cabinet Secretariat (CS). If you visit CS website, one will find a whole lot of guidelines and regulations on RIA. It is just sad that there are good initiatives and measures put in place previously but it dies down just as a mere record especially when there is change in people managing the work and the organization/agency/institution. First negative impact of this is all the hard work, time and resources put in by various dedicated individuals go down the drain. Secondly, government’s investment is lost and finally, it adds up further to the cost and resources. I often observe that stock taking of good and bad practices is not being considered by the subsequent people or organization/agency/institution who takes over as the new in-charge or when there is a change or transition. One reason behind is also due to lack of proper record keeping and poor handing-taking over norms. These are simple things, YET we fail to do the needful and inculcate strong foundation. I wonder WHY?

    Am sharing this mainly being concerned on the approach adopted in addressing non-harmonization or contradiction of laws and trying to provide a long term solution that is sustainable.

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