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Tibet parliament can turn down Dalai Lama’s decision

March 18, 2011

VARINDER BHATIA, Indian Express
Posted online: Tue Mar 15 2011, 02:31 hrs

Dharamsala : The Tibetan parliament-in-exile may reject the decision taken by the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso — the temporal and spiritual head of the Tibetans — to quit as political authority, according to sources close to the top leadership.

While The Tibetan parliament adjourned its proceedings on the first day of its Budget Session on Monday and announced that a detailed discussion on the spiritual head’s retirement decision would be held from Tuesday, the members of parliament are holding meetings to pursue the Dalai Lama to reconsider his decision.

Article 31 of the Charter of the Tibetans, which governs the entire Tibetan establishment, empowers parliament to “transfer all powers of Dalai Lama to a special committee” and reject his decision.

Article 31 says: “For the larger interest of the national and public, if 3/4th majority of the parliament agrees, in consultation with the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, all the powers of His Holiness can be transferred to the Desi Lhentsok (special committee). If there is no other option, His Holiness’ (Dalai Lama) powers can be transferred to this committee.”

The special committee comprises three members, who can be elected unanimously or through election in the House. For constituting the committee, even the cabinet ministers have a right to vote, which they do not have otherwise.

It is not for the first time that the Dalai Lama has refused to continue as the political head. When he had expressed his wish to retire two decades ago, in 1991, the Tibetan Parliament had decided to remove Article 31 from the Charter. At that time, Dalai Lama was the one who insisted that Article 31 must be included in the Charter.

“If such a situation arises, Parliament can invoke Article 31 and refuse to accept His Holiness’ decision on his retirement. But, at the same time, we have to take care of his sentiments too,” says Karma Yeshi, member of parliament, Tibetan government-in-exile.

“We are the elected representatives of the people, who are not at all ready to accept His Holiness’ decision. There is nobody who can take his place. We shall be discussing this in house, but everybody will definitely vote for asking the Dalai Lama to take his decision back,” says Dawa Tsering, another MP.

“Dalai Lama is the only person who represents Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. His decision of stepping down will affect the people inside Tibet much more, than those living in exile,” says Urgen Tenzin, former MP and presently Director of the Human Rights Centre of Tibetans.

“It is definitely a very grave situation for us. It is not the question of one man’s relationship with the Tibetan Parliament. It is about the relationship of the Institution of Dalai Lama with the Tibetan government,” said Dolma Gayri, another Tibetan MP.

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