Constitution: Charter of the Tibetans in Exile
The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile is the supreme law governing the functions of the CTA. It was drafted by the Constitution Redrafting Committee and referred to the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for approval. The parliament, in turn, adopted the Charter on 14 June 1991.
Based on the spirit of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter guarantees to all Tibetans equality before the law and enjoyment of rights and freedom without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, language and social origin. It provides for a clear separation of power among the three organs of the administration: judiciary, legislature and executive.
Before the Charter came into being, the Central Tibetan Administration functioned roughly along the lines of the draft democratic constitution for future Tibet, promulgated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 10 March 1963.
Tibet in Exile
|Population||Approximately 145,150 [Approximate world-wide distribution: India 101,242; Nepal 16,313; Bhutan 1,883; and rest of the world 25,712 (The Office of the Planning Commission’s projected population in 2007, based on the annual percentage growth rate)]|
|Government||Democratic and popularly elected|
|Head of State||His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama|
|Judiciary||Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission|
|Legislature||Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile with 46 members (43 elected directly by the exile population and three nominated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama)|
|Executive||The Kashag (Cabinet) is the apex executive body. The Kalon Tripa (Executive Chief) is elected directly by the exile population for a term of five years. Under the Kashag are the main departments of Religion and Culture, Home, Education, Finance, Security, Information and International Relations, and Health|
|Major NGOs||Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT), Gu-Chu-Sum Movement|
|Foreign Missions||Based in New Delhi, Kathmandu, New York, London, Geneva, Moscow, Brussels, Canberra, Tokyo, Pretoria and Taipei|
|Livelihood||Agriculture, agro-industries, carpet weaving and exports, service sector. The winter sweater selling business is the economic mainstay of about 70 percent of the exile population in India|
|Education||Total school enrolment is 85 to 90 percent of the school-aged children in exile|
Judiciary: The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, has often guided the Tibetans onto the path of modern, democratic system in order to ensure their short-and long-term benefit and happiness. Accordingly as enshrined in the Charter for the Tibetans in exile passed by the 11th Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (now referred to as the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile), the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary-the three pillars of the democratic government of Tibetan exiles founded on the marriage of the spiritual and political values-were instituted with the separation of equal powers among them.
Judiciary is one of the most important organs of a democratic institution. Whenever an issue of contention arises in the course of the Executive’s implementation of any law enacted by the Legislature, the Judiciary-which is independent of both the Executive and the Legislature-interprets, or makes decisions thereof; thus protecting the rule of law by guaranteeing justice to all and making the whole of the institution of democracy vibrant and meaningful.
The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, the highest judicial organ of the Tibetan community in exile, was formally inaugurated, or established, on 11 March 1992 (the seventh day of the first month of the Tibetan Water-Monkey year, 2119) in Gangchen Kyishong, the headquarter of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. Since then, it has been performing its responsibilities.
Legislature: The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
Instituted in 1960, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is the highest legislative organ of the Tibetan refugee community. The creation of this democratically elected body has been one of the major changes that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has brought about in his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. The Parliament consists of 46 members. U-Tsang, Do-tod and Do-med, the three traditional provinces of Tibet, elect ten members each, while the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members each. Three members are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe and one from North America. In addition, one to three members with distinction in the fields of art, science, literature and community service are nominated directly by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is headed by a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members amongst themselves. Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the Parliament. The elections are held every five years and any Tibetan who has reached the age of 18 is entitled to vote.
Sessions of the Parliament are held twice every year, with an interval of six months between the sessions. However, His Holiness can summon special sessions of the Parliament in the case of national emergencies. When the Parliament is not in session, there is a standing committee of twelve members: two members from each province, one member from each religious denomination, and one member who is directly nominated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
As representatives of the people, the members of the Parliament undertake periodic tours of Tibetan communities to make an assessment of their overall conditions. On their return from these trips, they bring to the notice of the administration any specific grievances and matters needing attention.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile keeps in touch with people also through Local Parliaments established in 38 major Tibetan communities. The Charter provides for the establishment of a Local Parliament in a community having a population of not less than 160. The Local Parliaments are scaled-down replicas of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. They keep an eye on the activities of their respective settlement/welfare officers. They also make laws for their respective communities according to the latter?s felt-needs. The laws passed by the Local Parliament must be implemented by the respective settlement/welfare officer.
The Kashag (Cabinet) is the highest executive office of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kashag runs and fulfills all its executive and administrative responsibilities.
In accordance to the Charter of Tibetan Government in Exile, the seven members Kashag, is headed by a Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister). Kalon Tripa is directly elected by exile Tibetan populace. Kalon Tripa, in turn nominates his other seven Kalons and seeks the Parliament’s approval. The term of the Kashag is for five years.Kashag Secretariat
A Secretary (Cabinet Secretary) heads the Kashag Secretariat. The Secretariat provides the Kashag with secretarial and administrative services. All decision made in the Kashag are implemented through the respective departments and concerned offices. The Kashag Secretariat has two sub offices namely: The office of planning Commission and Kashag Contingency section.
Sections of Kashag Secretariat
Kashag Secretariat is divided into six sections
- Kashag meeting( Cabinet Meeting) section.
- Parliament liaisons and planning supervision Section
- Travel Document section
- Audit scrutiny and follow up section
- Dolgyal affairs scrutiny section
- Administrative section.
1. Kashag meeting (Cabinet Meeting) section.
According to the administrative rule the Kashag meets twice in a week. The Cabinet Secretary and his assistant prepares the agenda for every meetings concerning matters of political, social, health and finance on the basis of files received from the different departments and individual petitions for seeking clearance, advice and approval from the Kashag. All discussions and resolutions passed are put in the minutes file and proceedings audio recorded. The decisions made in the Kashag are forwarded to the concerned Departments for implementation.
2. Parliament Liaison and planning supervision section.
This section drafts reply to the queries raised during the Parliament session and that of the Standing Committee of the Parliament. It also co-ordinates in drafting reply from concerned Departments to questions raised in tour reports of members of Parliament. This section assist in drafting official bills of Departments to be tabled in the Parliament session.
3. Travel Document Section.
This section scrutinise all Tibetan applicants seeking to visit abroad as individual, non-governmental meeting, family visit, study, and family re-unification based on exile Tibetan government’s policy of issuing Travel Document sanction.
4. Audit Report scrutiny section.
The section scrutinise the overall audit report of Departments and its branch offices and thereby report any objections to Kashag. After Kashag’s clearance appropriate actions are followed with Audit Office or with concerned departments.
It also gives official tour sanctions put forward by departments and their branch offices after careful study of the Rules and Regulation governing them. The section also handles all interim budget sanction requests and after careful study recommends the same to Standing Committee of Tibetan Parliament, and there after circulates the sanction budget to concerned Departments.
5. Dolgyal affairs scrutiny section
This section keeps record of researched documents related to Dolgyal and updates it from time to time. It researches on any new developments related to Dolgyal and reports it to the Kashag.
6. Administrative section – The Administrative section is further sub divided into 5 sub-sections:
a) Personal Assistant to Kalon Tripa
b) Staff appointment and placement section
c) Accounts section
d) Main office section
e) Sino-Tibet Dialogue (Task force section)
a) Personal Assistant to Kalon Tripa
The personal Assistant brings to the attention of Kalon Tripa daily letters and petitions addressed to him and assist in drafting replies. He keeps daily diary of Kalon Tripa and also prepares the tentative program of official visits of Kalon Tripa and reports it to the Private office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and sends the copy of tour program for information to the speaker of Tibetan Parliament and concerned Departments.
He reports to the Kalon Tripa all letters by Departments whose charge is temporarily under Kalon Tripa and co-ordinates with regard to its follow-up. He keeps all confidential documents related to Kalon Tripa.
b) Staff appointment and placement section
This section keeps records of all the officials of the Central Tibetan Administration concerning new recruitments, transfers, promotions, leaves and resignations. It recommends application for retirements, extension of retirements, re-appointments, contractual appointments, deputations and all special appointments to the Public Service Commission. It also keeps record of overall sanction posts and does timely up date of record due to staff re-shuffle. It responses to all staff petitions and keeps record of individual staff service profile.
c) Accounts Section
This section keeps recurring, special and earmarked accounts of Cabinet Secretariat and its two sub units namely: The Planning Council and Kashag Contingency section. It also prepares annual draft budget of the office in consultation with Cabinet Secretary and keeps Kashag’s special accounts. It maintains the leave records of all Kalons and staff members including its two sub units. It keeps record of all office inventories and looks after its maintenance and replacements. It also helps in arranging of all the Kashag’s official receptions.
d) Main Office Section
This section handles all incoming and outgoing letters of the office and records in its respective registers. The letters are finally indexed and filed by this section. It maintains all official documents of the office. It also supervises and receives all visitors to Kashag and the office. It handles all incoming and outgoing calls of the office.
Personal Assistant to the Secretary assists him in drafting all letters dictated by him and helps in referring the concerned files and maintaining it.
e) Sino-Tibet Dialogue section
This section keeps record of all documents related to Sino-Tibet dialogue process. It arranges the meetings of Task Force committee members. It compiles and does necessary translations of the documents as per directions from Kalon Tripa.
The Kashag Secretariat’s two sub-sections: –
The office of Planning Commission
This sub-section of the Cabinet Secretariat was established in order to assist the Central Tibetan Administration in formulating the plans of various Departments. It helps in integrating various plans according to human, physical and economic resource development needs in Tibetan community. Although it has a separate office complex with its own staffs, but the accounts and administration is directly handled by the Cabinet Secretariat.
Kashag Contingency Section
This section has three sub units namely: 1) Documenting (History recording) unit, 2) Contingency unit and 3) Ad- hoc placement unit. Documenting (History recording unit) is a permanent unit. It compiles document on Tibetan struggle and reconstruction post 1959 period of Tibetan Government in exile. Contingency unit is normally assigned on special and urgent tasks. Ad hoc placement unit is a unit for interim placements.
Recognizing the Democracy as the best system for ensuring happiness and freedom for the people, there have been movements all over the world to introduce this system of governance. In the case of Tibet, our ancient religious kings convened annual winter and summer congresses to facilitate wider discussions on major policy matters. Thus, we can say that Tibet was not without any historical base for the modern democracy.
Towards the end of imperial rule, in the 17th century, the fifth Dalai Lama founded the Gaden Phodrang government of Tibet with compassion and altruism as the basis of its governance. The successive Dalai Lamas thereafter made single-minded effort to develop a happy and spiritually oriented society. However, the low level of education among the public and other factors prevented the development of Tibetan society up to their visions.
The 13th Dalai Lama, in particular, made attempts to introduce a number of reforms to modernize Tibet. Unfortunately, his effort did not bear fruits. When His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was a minor, the Tibetan political system deteriorated immensely. In addition, Tibet was invaded from the eastern parts when Tibetan administration town of Chamdo was occupied by the Chinese army. In the face of this, Tibetans from all walks of life requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to assume temporal and religious power. No sooner the 14th Dalai Lama assumed power at the age of 16, he set out to introduce several basic reforms in Tibet but with little successes. By then Chinese forces began to exert tremendous pressure on Him to comply to their version of reforms.
In 1959, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee to India and decided to create a system in which a popularly elected parliament would be able to exercise people’s power in the exile Tibetan administration. Beginning of 1960 (7th Day of 12th moon in the Earth Hog Year) he addressed the Tibetan people in Bodh Gaya and asked the people to elect their representatives through universal adult suffrage. The elected representatives were duly confirmed as the first member of the Tibetan parliament in exile. On 2nd September 1960 members of the first Tibetan parliament were sworn in. This was the first concrete step toward the democratization of the Tibetan polity.
In 1961 His Holiness the Dalai Lama circulated a draft democratic constitution for future Tibet for suggestions from all the Tibetans in exile communities. The draft was subsequently discussed by an abbreviated meeting for the members of the exile parliament and executive.
On 10th March 1963, His Holiness the Dalai Lama pronounced the Constitution of future Tibet. From then to the time of 10th Tibetan Parliament in Exile, the series of reforms have been initiated as per the constitution in the composition of Tibetan Parliament members and electoral process in order to enhance grassroots level participation in the government. However, despite granting all democratic rights without requiring any struggle by the people, the people’s inability to keep pace with changing time and their low level of education meant that grassroots level participation was not as forthcoming as much as His Holiness would have wished.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, therefore, decided to push for a dramatic increase in the members of the 11th Tibetan Parliament in Exile which promulgated the exile Charter and as per the provision of the Charter, three autonomous institutional bodies within CTA are instituted to facilitate the complete democratization of the exile polity. This resulted in the establishment of a separate permanent office called ‘Election Commission’. A set of rules and regulations was promulgated by the parliament for the Commission. The Election Commission of Central Tibetan Administration is two-tier institution. The Central Election Commission as the apex body. Under this Commission, there are 65 Local Election Commissions in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Europe, North America, Taiwan, Japan and Australia. The Election Commission’s responsibility is to organize and oversee the election of Tibetan Parliament members with their Speaker and Deputy Speaker, the Executive Chief, Local Assemblies with their Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons, Head of settlements and their assistants, members of regional Tibetan Freedom Movement and their presidents. If the Central Tibetan Administration decides to seek the people’s opinion on matter of national importance, it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to conduct referendums towards this effect.
The Chief Tibetan Election Commissioner is appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the head of the state, on the recommendation of a special committee formed for this purpose. During the time of the election of Executive Chief and members of Tibetan Parliament, two Additional Election Commissioners are also appointed by following the same procedure adopted for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner. The Additional Commissioners have the same power as the Chief Election Commissioner.
- The Tibetan Parliament in Exile has 46 members. U-Tsang, Do-toe and Do-med, the three traditional provinces of Tibet, elect 10 members each including two women members for each provinces, while the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members each. Three members are elected by Tibetans in the West: two from Europe and one from North America. In addition, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has the discretion to exercise or not to exercise the provision to nominate one to three members. There are several clauses for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. The Tibetan Parliament members are elected through two rounds of voting, preliminary and final.
- Tibetan Election rules and regulations deals with the procedure for electing the Tibetan executive Chief. It says that the Kashag Chair-person shall be directly elected by the exile population, not below the age of 18. This election shall be held without provincial, gender or sectarian discriminations. The person winning the largest number of votes in the final round, it says, will be appointed as Kashag Chair-person by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The first ever election for the Executive Chief was held on 20th August 2001.
- Chapter Seven of the Election rules and regulations deals with the election of the Local Assembly members. The size of Local Assemblies varies according to the population of respective Settlements. There is clear-cut provision, stipulating that the members of the Local Assembly be elected by the respective local Tibetans.
- Chapter Eight of the Election rules and regulations deals with the process of electing Heads of settlements and their assistants. At the moments, there are few settlements who have elected their heads. All the other settlements have requested Dharamsala Administration to directly appoint their Heads and their assistants as in the past.
- Chapter Nine of the election rules and regulations deals with the process of electing the members of Regional Tibetan Freedom Movements.
The central and regional election commissions must undertake their responsibilities in time and in accordance with the rules and regulations. The developmental history of Tibetan democracy differs from others. Unlike other countries, where people have had to struggle for democracy, sometimes at the cost of many lives, we Tibetans have had democracy granted on us by our leader. It is important for us to exercise our rights and duties to the fullest extend so that we are able to leave behind a rich, vibrant tradition of democracy for the future generation.
Public Service Commission
In 1949 the People’s Liberation Army of China marched into Tibet’s north eastern provinces of Amdo and Kham and finally in 1959, due to the brutal suppression, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile and was followed by the massive exodus of some 80,000 Tibetan refugees into neighbouring countries. Immediately on His arrival in exile in India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama re-established the Tibetan Government in the north Indian hill station of Musoorrie on April 29,1959. In May 1960, the exile government was moved to Dharamsala where various departments were established.
Initially up to the year 1972,the responsibility for the recruitment and appointment etc of CTA civil servants was under the Home and Security department, which was then functioning as one department. Thereafter, with the gradual expansion of Central Tibetan Administration, the Department of Personnel was created under the direct supervision of the Kashag (Cabinet), which is the apex executive body of the Central Tibetan Administration having specific objectives for handling the matters relating to recruitment and appointment of CTA civil servants.
On 10th March 1963, His Holiness the Dalai Lama pronounced the Constitution of future Tibet. From then to the time of 10th Tibetan Parliament in exile, the series of reforms have been initiated as per the constitution in the composition of Tibetan Parliament members and electoral process in order to enhance grassroots level participation in the government. However, despite granting all democratic rights without requiring any struggle by the people, the people’s inability to keep pace with changing time and their low level of education meant that grassroots level participation was not as forthcoming as much as His Holiness would have wished.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, therefore, decided to push for a dramatic increase in the members of the 11th Tibetan Parliament in exile, which promulgated the exile Charter and as per the provision of the Charter, three autonomous institutional bodies within the CTA are instituted to facilitate the complete democratization of the exile polity. This resulted in the establishment of a separate permanent office called “Public Service Commission” which succeeded the function and responsibility of erstwhile Department of Personnel. A set of rules and regulations was promulgated by the parliament for the Commission.
As per the provision of the Charter for Tibetans-in-Exile, a Chairman and two to four members of the Commission are appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the head of the State on the recommendation of the Special Committee for a term of five years.
The members of Public Service Commission shall meet as and when it is deemed necessary in addition to its regular meeting which must be convened at least once a month. Every meeting of the Public Service Commission should be attended by a minimum of two-thirds of the total members. The Secretary of the Commission shall provide information and present views on related matters; however at these meetings, the Secretary shall not have the right to vote or make decisions. The office of the Public Service Commission shall implement any resolution passed by the Commission without delay under the supervision of the Chairman.
Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Chairman, the Commission has a permanent office. The appointment for posts for the Secretary and the necessary staff shall be according to the rules and regulations of the Central Tibetan Administrative Services.
The Commission has the competencies on the following broadly defined statutory powers and duties:
- Recruitment and appointment/ re-appointment of all the CTA officials and general staff.
- All capacity building & promotion related matters.
- Retirement related matters.
- Handling of disputes related to staff grievances.
- Demotions, dismissals, resignation and premature retirement matters.
- Framing of code conducts and other related rules in connection with these functions.
- On top of these, it has the sole responsibility to recruit talented officers and office staff to efficiently man the CTA offices. For that the Commission regularly organizes trainings and refresher courses for the CTA officials/staffs in order to keep up with rapidly changing work environments.
The existing CTA posts are designated as follows:
- Group A-Officers Cadre
- Additional Secretary
- Joint Secretary
- Deputy Secretary
- Under Secretary
- Group B-Staff Cadre
- Section Officer
- Office Superintendent
- Office Assistant
- Senior Clerk
- Junior Clerk/Peons/Drivers
- Group A-Officers Cadre
Out of the total posts for the Under Secretary, sixty (60) percent must be filled by direct recruitment and forty (40) percent by promotion. Thirty (30) percent of the Deputy Secretary and Joint Secretary posts are filled by direct recruitment and deputation and seventy (70) percent are filled by promotion. Out of the total posts allocated for the Additional Secretary and Secretary, five (5) percent must be filled on deputation and the rest must come via promotion.
- Group B-Staff Cadre
Junior Clerk/Peons/Drivers posts are filled by direct recruitment only. For the other four ranks in the staff category, twenty-five (25) percent of the posts are filled by direct recruitment and on deputation and seventy-five (75) percent of the post must cover up via promotions.
Public Service Commission