Constitutional Tribunal Could Face Impeachment

The homepage of the Myanmar Constitutional Tribunal's website

The homepage of the Myanmar Constitutional Tribunal’s website

Shwe Mann, the speaker of Burma’s Lower House of Parliament, told MPs on Tuesday that they can begin impeachment proceedings against members of the Constitutional Tribunal next week if President Thein Sein fails to take action to overturn a controversial tribunal decision.

Last week, 301 Lower House MPs signed a petition calling on the tribunal to withdraw a judgment reached in March that declared it unconstitutional to designate “committees, commissions and bodies formed by each Hluttaw [Parliament]” as “Union-level organizations.”

The decision by the nine-member tribunal, which consists of judges selected by the president and the speakers of both houses of Parliament, is controversial because it was seen as undermining the role of MPs.

“The Constitutional Tribunal is now assuming a position above Parliament that harms its legislative powers,” said Ba Shein, a Lower House MP from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party. “If they continue to exercise their influence in this way, what is left of the role of legislators?”

In April, 191 MPs appealed to the president to do something about the tribunal’s decision, but no action was taken, said Shwe Mann, who called on Tuesday for the tribunal members to resign voluntarily. If they don’t, he said, the MPs can move to impeach them on Aug. 22, after Thein Sein has had a chance to respond to calls to reverse the March ruling.

“If the president acts as requested, the impeachment will not proceed,” the speaker added.

The dispute began in February, when the attorney-general, acting on behalf of the president, asked the tribunal to decide on the status of committees and other bodies formed by Parliament.

The tribunal determined that these bodies could not be designated “Union-level organizations” because,
under Parts I and II of Section 97a of the Constitution, Union-level bodies can only be appointed by the president with the approval of the Union Parliament.

This was immediately criticized as an excessively narrow interpretation of the Constitution. According to Deputy Lower House Speaker Nanda Kyaw Swa, any committee formed by Parliament is a Union-level body under Section 140 and 160 of the Constitution.

Although the dispute has been left unresolved for the past five months, it has received very little public attention. It was only raised in the state media this week, when The New Light of Myanmar reported that Shwe Mann had sent a letter to the president regarding the MP’s concerns.


11 Responses to Constitutional Tribunal Could Face Impeachment

  1. If President Thein Sein does not defend the Committees formed by both Hlutdaws as Union Level, he himself cannot be the President of the Union. Maybe, that’s why Chief of Staff Min Aung Hlaing does not care his order to stop killing the Kachins.

  2. If these Constitution Tribunal Judges see the USDP members as cheaters or non-elected members of Hlutdaws, their stand on Union Level issue may be the right concept. More than half of Hlutdaw members consists with cheaters/non-elected members. What a sham and what a shame?

  3. Constitution Tribunal Judges are to interpret the law, not to make the law. If they do not know how to interpret the constitution, we have a big big problem. These judges need to know their roll and the roll of legislators(Hlutdaw members). To me, they seem like messed up badly. Therefore, they must not be allowed to be there any longer. More messes can bring more problems in the way of Democracy.

  4. So, does it mean that the constitutional will have to face impeachment every time it rules against the MPs? Where is judiciary independence then? Why not just abolish the tribunal and transfer its power to the legislators?

  5. Well, well, well, that is very interesting. What a mess. The most important duty of the MPs is the responsibility to their respective constituencies.

    The Parliamentis not the only source of law. Law is not justice and it can be against national interst.

    The Constitution is a good start, but is till an ass. Like a camel is a horse designed by a committee or group of unskilled people.

    Still, the situation is better than the law of the gun and arbitary arrests and imprisonments.

  6. I think the problem lies in the fact that the Tribunal has been appointed by the President as one of the government departments.
    It can be proposed by the President, but must be voted by the Hluttaw. But of course its ruling must bind the President and both houses of the Hluttaw.And if the Tribunal is found to be biased and make errors in decisions, it must be impeached.
    One other question is what is the position of the Chief Justice: method of his appointment, his character and track record, the belief that he is impeccably clean and efficient at the same time?
    We have a great deal more to learn!!!

  7. Further to my comment, the current tribunal can only report to the President who would have to make his judgement of the Tribunal’s decisions. They may be Pyi Htaungsu Hluttaw level as appointees of the President on the same level as the ministries. So, they are not above the legislative Hluttaw that in essence is “the State” or “Naingaindaw”. The President cannot even assume this status.
    But our problem is that most of our MPs are not true representatives of the people.

  8. Who the hell say’s that MPs are not true represantatives . They all are
    elected by the people. Don’t U see that.

  9. So this “Hlut-taw” thing is real? In “Nay-Pyi-Daw”? Cartoon City with Cartoon name.

    Committees and rules and all that even though people there, who have not a clue, make imaginary things up as they go along? Surely this is an expensive, expensive dress up game for consumption of the gullible, the willing and the wolves.

    What does it matter what is the committee of whatever level when all the real decisions are done by some nebulous entity these dress up people are not even aware of.

    Who is currently signing contracts selling out the country to all and sundry? Who decides how much to suck up Thaksin? Who decides how much to surrender to the Papa Chinese? Who decides what country Burma should suck up to? Who decides whether the itchy military can get in with the American Sit-tut drooling for more efficient guns/ rockets/ drones- all sorts of killing implements- and night-goggles and sun glasses.

    There is a dispute in the ShamCity of Dress Up Clowns? Really?

    Sick!

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