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 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:
The existing CTA posts are designated as follows:
Office of the Auditor General
The Office of the Auditor General is responsible for auditing the accounts of all the CTA departments and its subsidiaries. It also audits the accounts of most of the public institutions like co-operatives, trading concerns, educational institutes, hospitals, health centres, and so on. The Office of the Auditor General also evaluates the efficiency, propriety and management performance. In short, this office functions as a financial watchdog on the CTA. As a rule, it is on the basis of audit reports that the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile takes different branches of the CTA to task.
The Office of the Auditor General is headed by an Auditor General who is directly appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Auditor General holds the office for
a term of ten years, or until he/she reaches the age of
65, whichever of the two is found to be earlier.