Bhutan is a Sovereign Kingdom and the Sovereign power belongs to the people of The Supreme Court shall be the guardian of this Constitution and the final. The Kingdom of Bhutan .. Bhutan is a Sovereign Kingdom and the Sovereign power belongs to The Supreme Court shall be the guardian of this Constitution. The Constitution of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan encapsulate the people's . Constitution of Bhutan embodies these virtues and secures to the people these.
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The Constitution of Bhutan was enacted 18 July by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Sources. "The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan" (PDF). In accordance with a Royal Command for the need of a written constitution, the first draft of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan was formally submitted to. Adopted in , the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan marked the development of the state from an absolute monarchy to a democratic constitutional.
The Bhutanese authorities ousted both the leaders from the country Ibid. Gurung, D. Chhetri, G. Sharma and D. Sunwar was an important landmark in the evolution of political resistance in Bhutan Dhakal and Strawn The abolition of the feudal system, democratisation of the administration, granting civil and political rights for all Bhutanese citizens and maintaining closer ties with India were the major demands of the BSC Rose The Bhutan government did not allow the Satyagraha to take place and fired at the protestors.
According to some reports around 25 people were killed in the incident Dhakal and Strawn The hostile political environment prevailed in Bhutan compelled the BSC to shift its headquarters to Siliguri in India.
It continued its activities from Siliguri until When the leaders of the BSC were offered amnesty by the king on the condition that they would keep away from politics, they accepted it and returned to Bhutan.
The political developments between s and s like the Satyagrahas of the BSC, the assassination of Prime Minister Jigmie Palden Dorji and the coup attempt against the king in and the abortive attempt to kill the fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck at his coronation in indicated the tensions in the polity.
The integration of Sikkim with India in , the struggle against illegal immigrants in Assam during the late s and early s and the Gorkhaland agitation led by the Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF in Darjeeling Hills in late s affected the thinking of the Bhutanese elite in a big way Bray Among these developments the experience of Sikkim had a lasting effect on the Bhutanese psyche.
This was modified in It also made people who were not residents of Bhutan on or before 31 December be illegal immigrants Ibid: The Marriage Act of was intended to control the marriage of Bhutanese citizens to foreigners.
According to this act the Bhutanese citizens who marry foreigners have to face penalties like denial of promotion in the civil services, denial of admission in the foreign ministry and armed forces, and denial of agricultural and industrial loans PFHRB This act affected the people of Nepali origin very badly.
This act came in the way of their upward mobility, as many of them marry from the Nepali communities in India and Nepal. In the mid s the Bhutanese government coined a new term — Lhotshampa - for the people of Nepali origin.
Constitution of Bhutan
According to the official version the meaning of the term Lhotshampa is southern people Thinley This was a deliberate attempt by the government to create a wedge between Bhutanese of Nepali origin and the people of Nepali ethnicity both in Nepal and India. The ethnic conflict between the Ngalong-dominated state and the people of Nepali origin started in This was not an overnight development. It was an outburst of the pent-up anger of the people of Nepali origin over a period of time.
The people of Nepali origin opposed it in very many ways. After a prolonged trial in Thimphu, Rizal was sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court. As per the manifesto of the BPP, it stands for democracy, parliamentary system of government, constitutional monarchy and multi-party system in Bhutan Ibid: These demands include the right to basic freedoms to far reaching transformations in the political system of Bhutan BS A series of demonstrations were organized by the BPP throughout Southern Bhutan during September-October to push forward the charter of thirteen demands.
According to the government sources, in these demonstrations around 50, people participated. The government coined a new term, Ngolops anti-nationals or terrorists to describe the demonstrators and political rivals. Subsequently it became synonymous with anybody who demanded human rights and democracy in Bhutan. This has been confirmed by the government sources themselves Bhutan 5.
The severity of the state violence unleashed by the government resulted in the massive exodus of the people of Nepali origin from southern Bhutan. The leaders of the party were senior officers in the Bhutanese government like R.
Constitution of Bhutan
The King said that the Drafting Committee should comprise government officials, National Assembly members, and eminent citizens who were well qualified, had a good understanding of the laws of Bhutan, and who would be able to contribute towards drafting the Constitution. Government of Bhutan under the Constitution Basic provisions[ edit ] The Constitution defines the Kingdom of Bhutan as a democratic constitutional monarchy belonging to the people of the Kingdom.
However, the provisions of any law, whether made before or after the coming into force of this Constitution, which are inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be null and void. The Constitution establishes the " Chhoe-sid-nyi " dual system of religion and politics of Bhutan as unified in the person of the King who, as a Buddhist , is the upholder of the Chhoe-sid religion and politics; temporal and secular. The Constitution also limits the membership of the royal family to reigning and past Monarchs, their Queens and their Royal Children born of lawful marriage.
The King may also award titles, decorations, dar for Lhengye and Nyi-Kyelma conferring a red scarf of rank and honour with the title of " Dasho " in accordance with tradition and custom.
Also among the Royal Prerogatives are the grants of citizenship , amnesty, pardon and reduction of sentences; and land "kidu" and other "kidus" benefits. Under this Section, title to the throne vests in the legitimate descendants of King Ugyen Wangchuck , enshrined on December 17, Title may pass only to children born of lawful marriage, by hereditary succession to direct lineal descendants in order of seniority upon the abdication or demise of the King.
Article 2 Section 6 provides that upon reaching age 65, the King must retire abdicate in favor of the Crown Prince or Crown Princess , provided the royal heir has reached age Such is an example of semi- Salic law.
Title may never pass to children incapable of exercising the Royal Prerogatives by reason of physical or mental infirmity, nor to anyone whose spouse is a person other than a natural born citizen of Bhutan. Upon the ascension of the King to the Throne, the members of the royal family, the members of Parliament, and the holders of offices requiring appointment by the King must take an oath of allegiance to the King.
These provisions are effective until the royal heir presumptive reaches age 21 and becomes Regent by right. However, when the King regains the ability to exercise the Royal Prerogatives, notice is given to that effect by resolution of Parliament. The Council of Regency is composed of 6 members: one senior member of the royal family nominated by the Privy Council below , the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of Bhutan, the Speaker, the Chairperson of the National Council, and the leader of the Opposition Party.
The Privy Council is responsible for: all matters pertaining to the privileges and conduct of the King and the royal family; rendering advice to the King on matters concerning the Throne and the royal family; all matters pertaining to crown properties; and any other matter as may be commanded by the King.
These judicial appointments are made from among the vacant positions' peers, juniors, and available eminent jurists in consultation with the National Judicial Commission below. The King appoints positions other than Constitutional Officers on the advice of other bodies.
The King also appoints Dzongdags to head Local Governments, and other secretaries to the Government on the recommendation of the Prime Minister who obtains nominations from the Royal Civil Service Commission on the basis of merit and seniority and in accordance with other relevant rules and regulations.
The King also appoints the Je Khenpo below as the spiritual leader of Bhutan. As stated above, the King may relinquish the exercise of Royal Prerogatives, and such relinquishment may be temporary.
The Constitution provides that the King must abdicate the throne for willful violations of the Constitution or for suffering permanent mental disability. Either must be upon a motion passed by a joint sitting of Parliament.
The King may respond to the motion in writing or by addressing the joint sitting of Parliament in person or through a representative. If the National Referendum passes in all the Dzongkhags in the Kingdom, the King must abdicate in favour of the heir apparent.
Heritage of Bhutan[ edit ] Further information: Dual system of government , Dratshang Lhentshog , Buddhism in Bhutan , and Drukpa Lineage Bhutanese Buddhist monk looking out of the window of a monastery.
The Constitution states that Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan. The Constitution places upon religious institutions and personalities the responsibility to promote the spiritual heritage of Bhutan while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics in Bhutan.
The sole Constitutional exception is the King under the Chhoe-sid-nyi dual system of religion and politics. The Je Khenpo must be a learned and respected monk ordained in accordance with the Druk-lu tradition, having the nine qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog. The Je Khenpo appoints, on the recommendation of the Dratshang Lhentshog Commission for the Monastic Affairs , the Five Lopons from among monks with the nine qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog stages of development and completion in Vajrayana practice.
The Zhung Dratshang and Rabdeys monastic bodies in the dzongs other than Punakha and Thimphu are to receive adequate funds and other facilities from the State. The State must endeavour to preserve, protect and promote the cultural heritage of the country, including monuments, places and objects of artistic or historic interest, Dzongs fortresses , Lhakhangs monasteries , Goendeys monastic communities , Ten-sum sacred images, scriptures, and stupas , Nyes sacred pilgrimage sites , language , literature , music , visual arts and religion to enrich society and the cultural life of the citizens.
It must also recognize culture as an evolving dynamic force and endeavour to strengthen and facilitate the continued evolution of traditional values and institutions that are sustainable as a progressive society.
The State must conserve and encourage research on "local" arts, custom, knowledge and culture.
The Constitution states that every Bhutanese is a trustee of the Kingdom's natural resources and environment for the benefit of the present and future generations and declares it the fundamental duty of every citizen to contribute to protection, conservation, and prevention of all forms of ecological degradation including noise, visual and physical pollution.
This Article mandates the adoption and support of environment friendly practices and policies. By the standards of similar works elsewhere, the commentary is, it has to be said, brief.
Part of the reason for this is, of course, that no case law is included. That is not surprising, partly because constitutional litigation has not yet taken root in Bhutan and partly because it was only as recently as that the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court which would be expected to generate authoritative constitutional jurisprudence , was established.
Even so, the non-inclusion of those few challenging cases that have come up so far, such as the one decided by the High Court in popularly called the Leader of the Opposition case which concerned the constitutional validity of a tax imposed by the government, will be seen by many as an opportunity missed.
Philosophical Basis An understanding of the philosophical basis of the Constitution is important for any meaningful interpretation of its provisions. But why the compelling need for a written Constitution when an unwritten one has proved adequate for years not only in Bhutan but in other countries, including those which have had a glorious and long-standing tradition of democracy, freedom and the rule of law such as the United Kingdom?
There is not much in the book by way of exegesis on this point, either. A number of practical objectives for the Constitution were, however, offered by the Fourth King, and Tobgye refers to them frequently, e. In that sense, the enactment of the Constitution marked a watershed moment for the country: It was a decisive step towards transferring sovereignty from the king to the people, and that can be seen as reasonable justification for the move towards a written Constitution.
Readers would have profited if the book had captured the apprehensions that were expressed within Bhutan about the potential implications of popular democracy. That there were nagging fears among a sizeable section of the community on this score was evidenced by numerous comments which appeared in the media at the time.
Sample this observation by a member of the Constitutional Drafting Committee and chairman of the Royal Advisory Council: …the people are concerned about how the Constitution would affect the Monarchy and they are disturbed by the idea of political parties, believing that party politics will be unhealthy for a small country like Bhutan. Published material, including editorial comment in the state-owned media, suggests that any criticism of, or dissent against, the proposed changes was muted, including among the educated middle classes and the elite in society.
This principle has often been a subject of severe contestation in many developing countries, especially when the elected representatives of the people begin to flex their collective muscle on the strength of large majorities in parliament. In the case of Bhutan a further question arises, viz.
Even in mature democracies, it is not uncommon for some powers to be reserved to the monarch. Some examples of the circumstances in which each of those powers may be exercised, and their relative status in the face of the principle of constitutional supremacy would have been welcome. Readers would also have liked greater elucidation on the scope of judicial review more generally.
As the Bhutanese public become more litigious——as they inevitably will in the coming years——the courts are bound to be faced with increasingly complex questions involving scrutiny of governmental actions and decisions.
The Constitution deals with judicial review but in relatively brief terms. That is an issue which has a wider resonance as well. As a country which has not, at least in modern times, been colonised and, therefore, come under the influence of any foreign legal system, relying instead on traditional Buddhist principles of law and justice notably the 17th century Tsa Yig code and the Thrimzhung Chhenmo established by the Third King in , the overlay in recent years of legislation drafted by western consultants trained in the American, British, or other European tradition, can lead to some confusion.
How the judges will cope with conflicting perspectives in key areas——or even, at a more basic level, with divergent approaches to legislative drafting——remains to be seen. It is also a reality which is also fraught with serious implications which politicians, civil servants, judges, and everyone else concerned with governance will have to come to grips with sooner rather than later. That development will, as well as turning the spotlight on an institution which has historically enjoyed a relatively low profile, subject judges to unprecedented strains.
A properly resourced and independent judiciary performs many vital functions: as well as administering justice to citizens without fear or favour, it is the ultimate protector of rights; it provides the last word in the interpretation of laws and, in many countries, makes law where parliament has either failed or neglected to make law; the judiciary is also the supreme protector of the constitution.A number of practical objectives for the Constitution were, however, offered by the Fourth King, and Tobgye refers to them frequently, e.
The State must conserve and encourage research on " local " arts, custom, knowledge and culture. Where many states have been seen to violate individual rights in the pursuit of economic development, Bhutan has employed similarly violative means to achieve its unique focus on development through national happiness.
The political debate initiated by these political parties was devoid of any ideological content except their loyalty to the King of Bhutan. All persons in Bhutan have the right to material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author or creator.
Article 35 contains provisions regarding Constitutional Amendment and the authoritativeness of the Dzongkha version of the Constitution. On the most local level, a Thromde Tshogde Municipal Committee is headed by a Thrompon Mayor , who is directly elected by the voters of the Dzongkhag Thromde.