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The Constitution of
The Kingdom of Bhutan

Table of contents
Article 1 ........................................................................................ 1
Kingdom of Bhutan ..................................................................... 1
Article 2 ........................................................................................ 2
The Institution of Monarchy....................................................... 2
Article 3 ........................................................................................ 9
Spiritual Heritage ........................................................................ 9
Article 4 ...................................................................................... 10
Culture ........................................................................................ 10
Article 5 ...................................................................................... 11
Environment............................................................................... 11
Article 6 ...................................................................................... 12
Citizenship .................................................................................. 12
Article 7 ...................................................................................... 13
Fundamental Rights .................................................................. 13
Article 8 ...................................................................................... 16
Fundamental Duties .................................................................. 16
Article 9 ...................................................................................... 18
Principles of State Policy ........................................................... 18
Article 10 .................................................................................... 21
Parliament .................................................................................. 21
Article 11 ..................................................................................... 25
The National Council................................................................. 25
Article 12 .................................................................................... 26
The National Assembly .............................................................. 26
Article 13 .................................................................................... 27
Passing of Bills ........................................................................... 27
Article 14 .................................................................................... 28
Finance, Trade and Commerce................................................. 28
Article 15 .................................................................................... 30
Political Parties .......................................................................... 30
Article 16 .................................................................................... 34
Public Campaign Financing ..................................................... 34
Article 17 .................................................................................... 35
Formation of Government ........................................................ 35
Article 18 .................................................................................... 36
The Opposition Party ................................................................ 36
Article 19 .................................................................................... 37
Interim Government.................................................................. 37
Article 20 .................................................................................... 38
The Executive ............................................................................. 38
Article 21 .................................................................................... 39
The Judiciary ............................................................................. 39
Article 22 .................................................................................... 42
Local Governments.................................................................... 42
Article 23 .................................................................................... 46
Elections ...................................................................................... 46
Article 24 .................................................................................... 49
Election Commission ................................................................. 49
Article 25 .................................................................................... 50
The Royal Audit Authority ....................................................... 50
Article 26 .................................................................................... 51
The Royal Civil Service Commission ....................................... 51
Article 27 .................................................................................... 53
The Anti-Corruption Commission ........................................... 53
Article 28 .................................................................................... 54
Defence ........................................................................................ 54
Article 29 .................................................................................... 55
The Attorney General ................................................................ 55
Article 30 .................................................................................... 56
The Pay Commission ................................................................. 56
Article 31 .................................................................................... 56
Holders of Constitutional Offices ............................................. 56
Article 32 .................................................................................... 58
Impeachment.............................................................................. 58
Article 33 .................................................................................... 58
Emergency .................................................................................. 58
Article 34 .................................................................................... 60
National Referendum ................................................................ 60
Article 35 .................................................................................... 61
Amendment & Authoritative Text............................................ 61
First Schedule ............................................................................. 62
The National Flag and the National Emblem of Bhutan ....... 62
The National Flag ...................................................................... 62
The National Emblem ............................................................... 62
Second Schedule ......................................................................... 63
The National Anthem of Bhutan .............................................. 63
Third Schedule ........................................................................... 63
Oath or Affirmation of Office ................................................... 63
Fourth Schedule ......................................................................... 63
Oath or Affirmation of Secrecy ................................................ 63
Glossary ...................................................................................... 64

Preamble
WE, the people of Bhutan:
BLESSED by the Triple Gem, the protection of our
guardian deities, the wisdom of our leaders, the
everlasting fortunes of the Pelden Drukpa and the
guidance of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo Jigme
Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck;
SOLEMNLY pledging ourselves to strengthen the
sovereignty of Bhutan, to secure the blessings of
liberty, to ensure justice and tranquillity and to
enhance the unity, happiness and well-being of the
people for all time;
DO HEREBY ordain and adopt this Constitution for
the Kingdom of Bhutan on the Fifteenth Day of the
Fifth Month of the Male Earth Rat Year corresponding
to the Eighteenth Day of July, Two Thousand and
Eight.

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Article 1
Kingdom of Bhutan
1. Bhutan is a Sovereign Kingdom and the Sovereign power
belongs to the people of Bhutan.
2. The form of Government shall be that of a Democratic
Constitutional Monarchy.
3. The international territorial boundary of Bhutan is inviolable
and any alteration of areas and boundaries thereof shall be
done only with the consent of not less than three-fourths of
the total number of members of Parliament.
4. The territory of Bhutan shall comprise twenty Dzongkhags
with each Dzongkhag consisting of Gewogs and Thromdes.
Alteration of areas and boundaries of any Dzongkhag or
Gewog shall be done only with the consent of not less than
three-fourths of the total number of members of Parliament.
5. The National Flag and the National Emblem of Bhutan shall
be as specified in the First Schedule of this Constitution.
6. The National Anthem of Bhutan shall be as specified in the
Second Schedule of this Constitution.
7. The National Day of Bhutan shall be the Seventeenth Day of
December of each year.
8. Dzongkha is the National Language of Bhutan.
9. This Constitution is the Supreme Law of the State.
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10. All laws in force in the territory of Bhutan at the time of
adopting this Constitution shall continue until altered, repealed
or amended by Parliament. 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.
11. The Supreme Court shall be the guardian of this Constitution
and the final authority on its interpretation.
12. The rights over mineral resources, rivers, lakes and forests
shall vest in the State and are the properties of the State, which
shall be regulated by law.
13. There shall be separation of the Executive, the Legislature
and the Judiciary and no encroachment of each other’s powers
is permissible except to the extent provided for by this
Constitution.
Article 2
The Institution of Monarchy
1. His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo is the Head of State and the
symbol of unity of the Kingdom and of the people of Bhutan.
2. The Chhoe-sid-nyi of Bhutan shall be unified in the person of
the Druk Gyalpo who, as a Buddhist, shall be the upholder of
the Chhoe-sid.
3. The title to the Golden Throne of Bhutan shall vest in the
legitimate descendants of Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck as
enshrined in the inviolable and historic Gyenja of the
Thirteenth Day, Eleventh Month of the Earth Monkey Year,
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corresponding to the Seventeenth Day of December, Nineteen
Hundred and Seven and shall:
(a) Pass only to children born of lawful marriage;
(b) Pass by hereditary succession to the direct lineal
descendants on the abdication or demise of the Druk
Gyalpo, in order of seniority, with a prince taking
precedence over a princess, subject to the requirement
that, in the event of shortcomings in the elder prince,
it shall be the sacred duty of the Druk Gyalpo to select
and proclaim the most capable prince or princess as
heir to the Throne;
(c) Pass to the child of the Queen who is pregnant at the
time of the demise of the Druk Gyalpo if no heir exists
under section 3(b);
(d) Pass to the nearest collateral line of the descendants
of the Druk Gyalpo in accordance with the principle
of lineal descent, with preference being given for elder
over the younger, if the Druk Gyalpo has no direct
lineal descendant;
(e) Not pass to children incapable of exercising the Royal
Prerogatives by reason of physical or mental infirmity;
and
(f) Not pass to a person entitled to succeed to the Throne
who enters into a marriage with a person other than a
natural born citizen of Bhutan.
4. The successor to the Throne shall receive dar from the
Machhen of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal at Punakha Dzong
and shall be crowned on the Golden Throne.
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5. Upon the ascension of the Druk Gyalpo to the Throne, the
members of the Royal Family, the members of Parliament and
the office holders mentioned in section 19 of this Article shall
take an Oath of Allegiance to the Druk Gyalpo.
6. Upon reaching the age of sixty-five years, the Druk Gyalpo
shall step down and hand over the Throne to the Crown Prince
or Crown Princess, provided the Royal Heir has come of age.
7. There shall, subject to the provision of section 9 of this Article,
be a Council of Regency when:
(a) The successor to the Throne has not attained the age
of twenty-one years;
(b) The Druk Gyalpo has temporarily relinquished, by
Proclamation, the exercise of the Royal Prerogatives;
or
(c) It has been resolved by not less than three-fourths of
the total number of members of Parliament in a joint
sitting that the Druk Gyalpo is unable to exercise the
Royal Prerogatives by reason of temporary physical
or mental infirmity.
8. The Council of Regency shall collectively exercise the Royal
Prerogatives and the powers vested in the Druk Gyalpo under
this Constitution and shall be composed of:
(a) A senior member of the Royal Family nominated by
the Privy Council;
(b) The Prime Minister;
(c) The Chief Justice of Bhutan;
(d) The Speaker;
(e) The Chairperson of the National Council; and
(f) The Leader of the Opposition Party.
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9. In the case speîified under section 7(b) or 7(c) of this Article,
the descendant of the Druk Gyalpo, who is the heir
presumptive, shall, instead of the Council of Regency, become
Regent by right, if the heir presumptive has attained the age
of twenty-one years.
10. The members of the Council of Regency shall take an Oath of
Allegiance before Parliament to faithfully discharge their
duties.
11. When the successor to the Throne attains the age of twentyone
years or when the Druk Gyalpo resumes the exercise of
the Royal Prerogatives under sections 7(a) and 7(b) of this
Article, notice shall be given by Proclamation. However, when
the Druk Gyalpo regains the ability to exercise the Royal
Prerogatives under section 7(c) of this Article, notice shall be
given to that effect by resolution of Parliament.
12. The members of the Royal Family shall be the reigning and
past Monarchs, their Queens and the Royal Children born of
lawful marriage.
13. The Druk Gyalpo and the members of the Royal Family shall
be entitled to:
(a) Annuities from the State in accordance with a law
made by Parliament;
(b) All rights and privileges including the provision of
palaces and residences for official and personal use;
and
(c) Exemption from taxation on the royal annuity and
properties provided for by sections 13(a) and 13(b) of
this Article.
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14. There shall be a Privy Council, which shall consist of two
members appointed by the Druk Gyalpo, one member
nominated by the Lhengye Zhungtshog and one member
nominated by the National Council. The Privy Council shall
be responsible for:
(a) All matters pertaining to the privileges of the Druk
Gyalpo and the Royal Family;
(b) All matters pertaining to the conduct of the Royal
Family;
(c) Rendering advice to the Druk Gyalpo on matters
concerning the Throne and the Royal Family;
(d) All matters pertaining to crown properties; and
(e) Any other matter as may be commanded by the Druk
Gyalpo.
15. The Druk Gyalpo shall not be answerable in a court of law for
His actions and His person shall be sacrosanct.
16. The Druk Gyalpo, in exercise of His Royal Prerogatives, may:
(a) Award titles, decorations, dar for Lhengye and Nyi-
Kyelma in accordance with tradition and custom;
(b) Grant citizenship, land kidu and other kidus;
(c) Grant amnesty, pardon and reduction of sentences;
(d) Command Bills and other measures to be introduced
in Parliament; and
(e) Exercise powers relating to matters which are not
provided for under this Constitution or other laws.
17. The Druk Gyalpo may promote goodwill and good relations
with other countries by receiving state guests and undertaking
state visits to other countries.
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18. The Druk Gyalpo shall protect and uphold this Constitution
in the best interest and for the welfare of the people of Bhutan.
19. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal,
appoint:
(a) The Chief Justice of Bhutan in accordance with section
4 of Article 21;
(b) The Drangpons of the Supreme Court in accordance
with section 5 of Article 21;
(c) The Chief Justice of the High Court in accordance with
section 11 of Article 21;
(d) The Drangpons of the High Court in accordance with
section 12 of Article 21;
(e) The Chief Election Commissioner and Election
Commissioners in accordance with section 2 of Article
24;
(f) The Auditor General in accordance with section 2 of
Article 25;
(g) The Chairperson and members of the Royal Civil
Service Commission in accordance with section 2 of
Article 26;
(h) The Chairperson and members of the Anti-Corruption
Commission in accordance with section 2 of Article
27;
(i) The heads of the Defence Forces from a list of names
recommended by the Service Promotion Board;
(j) The Attorney General in accordance with section 2 of
Article 29;
(k) The Governor of the Central Bank of Bhutan on the
recommendation of the Prime Minister;
(l) The Chairperson of the Pay Commission in accordance
with section 1 of Article 30;
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(m) The Cabinet Secretary on the recommendation of the
Prime Minister;
(n) The Secretary General of the respective Houses on
the recommendation of the Royal Civil Service
Commission;
(o) Ambassadors and Consuls on the recommendation of
the Prime Minister;
(p) The Secretaries to the Government on the
recommendation of the Prime Minister who shall
obtain nominations from the Royal Civil Service
Commission on the basis of merit and seniority and in
accordance with other relevant rules and regulations;
and
(q) Dzongdags on the recommendation of the Prime
Minister who shall obtain nominations from the Royal
Civil Service Commission.
20. The Druk Gyalpo shall abdicate the Throne for willful
violations of this Constitution or for being subject to permanent
mental disability, on a motion passed by a joint sitting of
Parliament in accordance with the procedure as laid down in
sections 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 of this Article.
21. The motion for abdication shall be tabled for discussion at a
joint sitting of Parliament if not less than two-thirds of the
total number of the members of Parliament submits such a
motion based on any of the grounds in section 20 of this Article.
22. The Druk Gyalpo may respond to the motion in writing or by
addressing the joint sitting of Parliament in person or through
a representative.
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23. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall preside over the joint sitting
of Parliament mentioned in section 21 of this Article.
24. If, at such joint sitting of Parliament, not less than three-fourths
of the total number of members of Parliament passes the
motion for abdication, then such a resolution shall be placed
before the people in a National Referendum to be approved or
rejected.
25. On such a resolution being approved by a simple majority of
the total number of votes cast and counted from all the
Dzongkhags in the Kingdom, the Druk Gyalpo shall abdicate
in favour of the heir apparent.
26. Parliament shall make no laws or exercise its powers to amend
the provisions of this Article and section 2 of Article 1 except
through a National Referendum.
Article 3
Spiritual Heritage
1. Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, which promotes
the principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion
and tolerance.
2. The Druk Gyalpo is the protector of all religions in Bhutan.
3. It shall be the responsibility of religious institutions and
personalities to promote the spiritual heritage of the country
while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics
in Bhutan. Religious institutions and personalities shall remain
above politics.
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4. The Druk Gyalpo shall, on the recommendation of the Five
Lopons, appoint a learned and respected monk ordained in
accordance with the Druk-lu, with the nine qualities of a
spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog, as the Je
Khenpo.
5. His Holiness the Je Khenpo shall, on the recommendation of
the Dratshang Lhentshog, appoint monks with the nine
qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog
as the Five Lopons.
6. The members of the Dratshang Lhentshog shall comprise:
(a) The Je Khenpo as Chairman;
(b) The Five Lopons of the Zhung Dratshang; and
(c) The Secretary of the Dratshang Lhentshog who is a
civil servant.
7. The Zhung Dratshang and Rabdeys shall continue to receive
adequate funds and other facilities from the State.
Article 4
Culture
1. The State shall endeavour to preserve, protect and promote
the cultural heritage of the country, including monuments,
places and objects of artistic or historic interest, Dzongs,
Lhakhangs, Goendeys, Ten-sum, Nyes, language, literature,
music, visual arts and religion to enrich society and the cultural
life of the citizens.
2. The State shall recognize culture as an evolving dynamic force
and shall endeavour to strengthen and facilitate the continued
11
evolution of traditional values and institutions that are
sustainable as a progressive society.
3. The State shall conserve and encourage research on local arts,
custom, knowledge and culture.
4. Parliament may enact such legislation as may be necessary to
advance the cause of the cultural enrichment of Bhutanese
society.
Article 5
Environment
1. Every Bhutanese is a trustee of the Kingdom’s natural
resources and environment for the benefit of the present and
future generations and it is the fundamental duty of every
citizen to contribute to the protection of the natural
environment, conservation of the rich biodiversity of Bhutan
and prevention of all forms of ecological degradation including
noise, visual and physical pollution through the adoption and
support of environment friendly practices and policies.
2. The Royal Government shall:
(a) Protect, conserve and improve the pristine environment
and safeguard the biodiversity of the country;
(b) Prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(c) Secure ecologically balanced sustainable development
while promoting justifiable economic and social
development; and
(d) Ensure a safe and healthy environment.
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3. The Government shall ensure that, in order to conserve the
country’s natural resources and to prevent degradation of the
ecosystem, a minimum of sixty percent of Bhutan’s total land
shall be maintained under forest cover for all time.
4. Parliament may enact environmental legislation to ensure
sustainable use of natural resources and maintain
intergenerational equity and reaffirm the sovereign rights of
the State over its own biological resources.
5. Parliament may, by law, declare any part of the country to be
a National Park, Wildlife Reserve, Nature Reserve, Protected
Forest, Biosphere Reserve, Critical Watershed and such other
categories meriting protection.
Article 6
Citizenship
1. A person, both of whose parents are citizens of Bhutan, shall
be a natural born citizen of Bhutan.
2. A person, domiciled in Bhutan on or before the Thirty-First
of December Nineteen Hundred and Fifty Eight and whose
name is registered in the official record of the Government of
Bhutan shall be a citizen of Bhutan by registration.
3. A person who applies for citizenship by naturalization shall:
(a) Have lawfully resided in Bhutan for at least fifteen
years;
(b) Not have any record of imprisonment for criminal
offences within the country or outside;
(c) Be able to speak and write Dzongkha;
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(d) Have a good knowledge of the culture, customs,
traditions and history of Bhutan;
(e) Have no record of having spoken or acted against the
Tsawa-sum;
(f) Renounce the citizenship, if any, of a foreign State on
being conferred Bhutanese citizenship; and
(g) Take a solemn Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution
as may be prescribed.
4. The grant of citizenship by naturalization shall take effect by
a Royal Kasho of the Druk Gyalpo.
5. If any citizen of Bhutan acquires the citizenship of a foreign
State, his or her citizenship of Bhutan shall be terminated.
6. Subject to the provisions of this Article and the Citizenship
Acts, Parliament shall, by law, regulate all other matters
relating to citizenship.
Article 7
Fundamental Rights
1. All persons shall have the right to life, liberty and security of
person and shall not be deprived of such rights except in
accordance with the due process of law.
2. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech,
opinion and expression.
3. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to information.
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4. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion. No person shall be compelled to
belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement.
5. There shall be freedom of the press, radio and television and
other forms of dissemination of information, including
electronic.
6. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to vote.
7. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of
movement and residence within Bhutan.
8. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to equal access and
opportunity to join the Public Service.
9. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to own property, but
shall not have the right to sell or transfer land or any immovable
property to a person who is not a citizen of Bhutan, except in
keeping with laws enacted by Parliament.
10. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful
trade, profession or vocation.
11. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to equal pay for work
of equal value.
12. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of peaceful
assembly and freedom of association, other than membership
of associations that are harmful to the peace and unity of the
country, and shall have the right not to be compelled to belong
to any association.
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13. Every person in Bhutan shall have the right to material interests
resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of
which he or she is the author or creator.
14. A person shall not be deprived of property by acquisition or
requisition, except for public purpose and on payment of fair
compensation in accordance with the provisions of the law.
15. All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal
and effective protection of the law and shall not be
discriminated against on the grounds of race, sex, language,
religion, politics or other status.
16. A person charged with a penal offence has the right to be
presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the
law.
17. A person shall not be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment.
18. A person shall not be subjected to capital punishment.
19. A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful
interference with his or her privacy, family, home or
correspondence nor to unlawful attacks on the person’s honour
and reputation.
20. A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.
21. A person shall have the right to consult and be represented by
a Bhutanese Jabmi of his or her choice.
16
22. Notwithstanding the rights conferred by this Constitution,
nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from subjecting
reasonable restriction by law, when it concerns:
(a) The interests of the sovereignty, security, unity and
integrity of Bhutan;
(b) The interests of peace, stability and well-being of the
nation;
(c) The interests of friendly relations with foreign States;
(d) Incitement to an offence on the grounds of race, sex,
language, religion or region;
(e) The disclosure of information received in regard to
the affairs of the State or in discharge of official duties;
or
(f) The rights and freedom of others.
23. All persons in Bhutan shall have the right to initiate appropriate
proceedings in the Supreme Court or High Court for the
enforcement of the rights conferred by this Article, subject to
section 22 of this Article and procedures prescribed by law.
Article 8
Fundamental Duties
1. A Bhutanese citizen shall preserve, protect and defend the
sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and unity of Bhutan
and render national service when called upon to do so by
Parliament.
2. A Bhutanese citizen shall have the duty to preserve, protect
and respect the environment, culture and heritage of the nation.
17
3. A Bhutanese citizen shall foster tolerance, mutual respect and
spirit of brotherhood amongst all the people of Bhutan
transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional
diversities.
4. A person shall respect the National Flag and the National
Anthem.
5. A person shall not tolerate or participate in acts of injury, torture
or killing of another person, terrorism, abuse of women,
children or any other person and shall take necessary steps to
prevent such acts.
6. A person shall have the responsibility to provide help, to the
greatest possible extent, to victims of accidents and in times
of natural calamity.
7. A person shall have the responsibility to safeguard public
property.
8. A person shall have the responsibility to pay taxes in
accordance with the law.
9. Every person shall have the duty to uphold justice and to act
against corruption.
10. Every person shall have the duty to act in aid of the law.
11. Every person shall have the duty and responsibility to respect
and abide by the provisions of this Constitution.
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Article 9
Principles of State Policy
1. The State shall endeavour to apply the Principles of State
Policy set out in this Article to ensure a good quality of life
for the people of Bhutan in a progressive and prosperous
country that is committed to peace and amity in the world.
2. The State shall strive to promote those conditions that will
enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness.
3. The State shall endeavour to create a civil society free of
oppression, discrimination and violence, based on the rule of
law, protection of human rights and dignity, and to ensure the
fundamental rights and freedoms of the people.
4. The State shall endeavour to protect the telephonic, electronic,
postal or other communications of all persons in Bhutan from
unlawful interception or interruption.
5. The State shall endeavour to provide justice through a fair,
transparent and expeditious process.
6. The State shall endeavour to provide legal aid to secure justice,
which shall not be denied to any person by reason of economic
or other disabilities.
7. The State shall endeavour to develop and execute policies to
minimize inequalities of income, concentration of wealth, and
promote equitable distribution of public facilities among
individuals and people living in different parts of the Kingdom.
19
8. The State shall endeavour to ensure that all the Dzongkhags
are treated with equity on the basis of different needs so that
the allocation of national resources results in comparable socioeconomic
development.
9. The State shall endeavour to achieve economic self-reliance
and promote open and progressive economy.
10. The State shall encourage and foster private sector
development through fair market competition and prevent
commercial monopolies.
11. The State shall endeavour to promote those circumstances that
would enable the citizens to secure an adequate livelihood.
12. The State shall endeavour to ensure the right to work,
vocational guidance and training and just and favourable
conditions of work.
13. The State shall endeavour to ensure the right to rest and leisure,
including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic
holidays with pay.
14. The State shall endeavour to ensure the right to fair and
reasonable remuneration for one’s work.
15. The State shall endeavour to provide education for the purpose
of improving and increasing knowledge, values and skills of
the entire population with education being directed towards
the full development of the human personality.
20
16. The State shall provide free education to all children of school
going age up to tenth standard and ensure that technical and
professional education is made generally available and that
higher education is equally accessible to all on the basis of
merit.
17. The State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to
eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation against
women including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence,
harassment and intimidation at work in both public and private
spheres.
18. The State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to
ensure that children are protected against all forms of
discrimination and exploitation including trafficking,
prostitution, abuse, violence, degrading treatment and
economic exploitation.
19. The State shall endeavour to promote those conditions that
are conducive to co-operation in community life and the
integrity of the extended family structure.
20. The State shall strive to create conditions that will enable the
true and sustainable development of a good and compassionate
society rooted in Buddhist ethos and universal human values.
21. The State shall provide free access to basic public health
services in both modern and traditional medicines.
22. The State shall endeavour to provide security in the event of
sickness and disability or lack of adequate means of livelihood
for reasons beyond one’s control.
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23. The State shall encourage free participation in the cultural
life of the community, promote arts and sciences and foster
technological innovation.
24. The State shall endeavour to promote goodwill and cooperation
with nations, foster respect for international law and
treaty obligations, and encourage settlement of international
disputes by peaceful means in order to promote international
peace and security.
Article 10
Parliament
1. There shall be a Parliament for Bhutan in which all legislative
powers under this Constitution are vested and which shall
consist of the Druk Gyalpo, the National Council and the
National Assembly.
2. Parliament shall ensure that the Government safeguards the
interests of the nation and fulfils the aspirations of the people
through public review of policies and issues, Bills and other
legislations, and scrutiny of State functions.
3. The election of the members of Parliament shall be in
accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Laws of the
Kingdom.
4. A person shall not be a member of the National Council as
well as the National Assembly or a Local Government at the
same time.
5. The Druk Gyalpo shall summon the first sitting of Parliament
after each general election.
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6. At the commencement of each session of Parliament, the Druk
Gyalpo shall be received in a joint sitting of Parliament with
Chibdrel Ceremony. Each session shall be opened with a Zhugdrel-
phunsum tshog-pai ten-drel and each session shall
conclude with the Tashi-mon-lam.
7. The Druk Gyalpo may address or sit in the proceedings of
either House or a joint sitting of Parliament as and when
deemed expedient.
8. The Druk Gyalpo may send messages to either or both the
Houses as deemed expedient.
9. The House receiving the message shall, as early as possible,
consider the matter referred to in the message and submit its
opinion to the Druk Gyalpo.
10. The Prime Minister shall present an Annual Report on the
state of the nation, including legislative plans and the annual
plans and priorities of the Government, to the Druk Gyalpo
and to a joint sitting of Parliament.
11. Both Houses shall determine their rules of procedure, and the
proceedings of each House shall be conducted in accordance
with its own rules. The rules of procedure in each House shall
provide for the appointment of Committees to carry out the
business of Parliament.
12. The Speaker and the Chairperson shall convene an
extraordinary sitting of Parliament on the command of the
Druk Gyalpo if the exigencies of the situation so demand.
23
13. Each Member of Parliament shall have one vote. In case of
equal votes, the Speaker or the Chairperson shall cast the
deciding vote.
14. The presence of not less than two-thirds of the total number
of members of each House respectively shall constitute a
quorum for a sitting of the National Council or the National
Assembly.
15. The proceedings of Parliament shall be conducted in public.
However, the Speaker or the Chairperson may exclude the
press and the public from all or any part of the proceedings if
there is a compelling need to do so in the interests of public
order, national security or any other situation, where publicity
would seriously prejudice public interest.
16. The Speaker shall preside over the proceedings of a joint sitting
and the venue for the joint sitting of the Houses shall be the
hall of the National Assembly.
17. When the office of a member of Parliament becomes vacant
for any reason other than the expiration of term, an election of
a member to fill the vacancy shall be held within ninety days
as from the date of the vacancy.
18. The members of Parliament shall take an Oath or Affirmation
of Office, as provided for in the Third Schedule of this
Constitution, before assuming their responsibilities.
19. The Prime Minister, the Ministers, the Speaker, the Deputy
Speaker, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the
National Council shall take an Oath or Affirmation of Secrecy,
as provided for in the Fourth Schedule of this Constitution,
before assuming office.
24
20. Every member of Parliament shall maintain the decorum and
dignity of the House and shall desist from acts of defamation
and use of physical force.
21. The members of Parliament or any Committee thereof shall
be immune from any inquiry, arrest, detention or prosecution
on account of any opinion expressed in the course of the
discharge of their functions or vote cast in Parliament and no
person shall be liable in respect of any report, paper or
proceedings made or published under the authority of
Parliament.
22. The immunities herein granted shall not cover corrupt acts
committed by the members in connection with the discharge
of their duties or cover other acts of accepting money or any
other valuables in consideration to speak or to vote in a
particular manner.
23. The concurrence of not less than two-thirds of the total number
of members of each House respectively is required to remove
the right of immunity of a member.
24. The National Assembly and the National Council shall
continue for five years from the date of the first sitting of the
respective Houses. While the National Council shall complete
its five-year term, premature dissolution of the National
Assembly may take place on the recommendation of the Prime
Minister to the Druk Gyalpo or in the event of a motion of no
confidence vote against the Government being passed in the
National Assembly or in accordance with section 12 of Article
15.
25
25. Except for existing International Conventions, Covenants,
Treaties, Protocols and Agreements entered into by Bhutan,
which shall continue in force subject to section 10 of Article
1, all International Conventions, Covenants, Treaties, Protocols
and Agreements duly acceded to by the Government hereafter,
shall be deemed to be the law of the Kingdom only upon
ratification by Parliament unless it is inconsistent with this
Constitution.
Article 11
The National Council
1. The National Council shall consist of twenty-five members
comprising:
(a) One member elected by the voters in each of the twenty
Dzongkhags; and
(b) Five eminent persons nominated by the Druk Gyalpo.
2. Besides its legislative functions, the National Council shall
act as the House of review on matters affecting the security
and sovereignty of the country and the interests of the nation
and the people that need to be brought to the notice of the
Druk Gyalpo, the Prime Minister and the National Assembly.
3. A candidate to or a member of the National Council shall not
belong to any political party.
4. At the first sitting after any National Council election, or when
necessary to fill a vacancy, the National Council shall elect a
Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson from among its
members.
26
5. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal,
confer Dakyen to the Chairperson.
6. The National Council shall assemble at least twice a year.
Article 12
The National Assembly
1. The National Assembly shall have a maximum of fifty-five
members, elected from each Dzongkhag in proportion to its
population, provided that no Dzongkhag shall have less than
two members or more than seven members, for which purpose
Parliament shall, by law, provide for each Dzongkhag to be
divided into constituencies through appropriate delimitation,
and for the voters in each constituency directly electing one
member to the National Assembly.
2. The number of elected members from each Dzongkhag shall
be reapportioned to reflect the changing registered voter
population after every ten years, subject to the limitation of a
minimum of two and a maximum of seven members from
each Dzongkhag.
3. At the first sitting after any general election, or when necessary
to fill a vacancy, the National Assembly shall elect a Speaker
and a Deputy Speaker from among its members.
4. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal,
confer Dakyen to the Speaker.
5. The National Assembly shall assemble at least twice a year.
27
Article 13
Passing of Bills
1. A Bill passed by Parliament shall come into force upon Assent
of the Druk Gyalpo.
2. Money Bills and financial Bills shall originate only in the
National Assembly whereas any other legislative Bill may
originate in either House.
3. A Bill pending in either House shall not lapse by reason of the
prorogation of either House.
4. A Bill shall be passed by a simple majority of the total number
of members of the respective Houses or by not less than twothirds
of the total number of members of both Houses present
and voting, in the case of a joint sitting.
5. Where a Bill has been introduced and passed by one House, it
shall present the Bill to the other House within thirty days
from the date of passing and that Bill may be passed during
the next session of Parliament. In the case of Budget and Urgent
Bills, they shall be passed in the same session of Parliament.
6. Where the other House also passes the Bill, that House shall
submit the Bill to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent within fifteen
days from the date of passing of such Bill.
7. Where the other House does not pass the Bill, that House shall
return it to the House in which the Bill originated with
amendments or objections for re-deliberation. If the Bill is
then passed, it shall be presented to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent
within fifteen days from the date of passing of such Bill.
28
8. Where the House in which the Bill originated refuses to
incorporate such amendments or objections of the other House,
it shall submit the Bill to the Druk Gyalpo, who shall then
command the Houses to deliberate and vote on the Bill in a
joint sitting.
9. Where the other House neither passes nor returns the Bill by
the end of the next session, the Bill shall be deemed to have
been passed by that House and the House in which the Bill
originated shall present the Bill within fifteen days to the Druk
Gyalpo for Assent.
10. Where the Druk Gyalpo does not grant Assent to the Bill, He
shall return the Bill with amendments or objections to
deliberate and vote on the Bill in a joint sitting.
11. Upon deliberation and passing of the Bill in a joint sitting, it
shall be resubmitted to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent thereto,
whereupon Assent shall be granted to the Bill.
Article 14
Finance, Trade and Commerce
1. Taxes, fees and other forms of levies shall not be imposed or
altered except by law.
2. There shall be a Consolidated Fund into which shall be
deposited all public monies not allocated to specific purposes
by law and from which expenditure of the State shall be met.
3. Public money shall not be drawn from the Consolidated Fund
except through appropriation in accordance with the law.
29
4. The Government, in the public interest, may raise loans, make
grants or guarantee loans in accordance with the law.
5. The Government shall exercise proper management of the
monetary system and public finance. It shall ensure that the
servicing of public debt will not place an undue burden on
future generations.
6. The Government shall ensure that the cost of recurrent
expenditures is met from internal resources of the country.
7. A minimum foreign currency reserve that is adequate to meet
the cost of not less than one year’s essential import must be
maintained.
8. The annual budget, with a report on the budget of the previous
fiscal year, shall be presented to the National Assembly by the
Finance Minister.
9. Where the budget has not been approved by the National
Assembly before the beginning of the fiscal year, the preceding
budget on current expenses shall be applied until the new one
is sanctioned. Revenues shall be collected and disbursements
made in accordance with the law in force at the end of the
preceding year. However, if one or more parts of the new
budget have been approved, they shall be put into effect.
10. Any expenditure not included in the budget, or in excess of
the budget appropriation, as well as the transfer of any fund
from one part of the budget to another, shall be made in
accordance with the law.
30
11. Funds for more than one fiscal year may be appropriated in
accordance with the law if the nature of the expenditure so
requires. In such a case, each annual successive budget shall
include the funds allocated for that year.
12. Parliament shall establish a relief fund and the Druk Gyalpo
shall have the prerogative to use this fund for urgent and
unforeseen humanitarian relief.
13. The State shall make adequate financial provisions for the
independent administration of constitutional bodies.
14. Unless otherwise provided for under the provisions of this
Constitution or any other laws, there shall be free movement
of goods and services among all the Dzongkhags.
15. Trade and Commerce with foreign nations shall be regulated
by law.
16. Parliament shall not enact laws that allow monopoly except
to safeguard national security.
Article 15
Political Parties
1. Political parties shall ensure that national interests prevail over
all other interests and, for this purpose, shall provide choices
based on the values and aspirations of the people for
responsible and good governance.
2. Political parties shall promote national unity and progressive
economic development and strive to ensure the well-being of
the nation.
31
3. Candidates and political parties shall not resort to regionalism,
ethnicity and religion to incite voters for electoral gain.
4. A political party shall be registered by the Election
Commission on its satisfying the qualifications and
requirements set out hereinafter, that:
(a) Its members shall be Bhutanese citizens and not
otherwise disqualified under this Constitution;
(b) Its membership is not based on region, sex, language,
religion or social origin;
(c) It is broad-based with cross-national membership and
support and is committed to national cohesion and
stability;
(d) It does not accept money or any assistance other than
those contributions made by its registered members,
and the amount or value shall be fixed by the Election
Commission;
(e) It does not receive money or any assistance from
foreign sources, be it governmental, non-governmental,
private organizations or from private parties or
individuals;
(f) Its members shall bear true faith and allegiance to this
Constitution and uphold the sovereignty, territorial
integrity, security and unity of the Kingdom;
(g) It is established for the advancement of democracy
and for the social, economic and political growth of
Bhutan; and
(h) It has not been dissolved earlier under the provisions
of section 11 of this Article.
32
5. Election to the National Assembly shall be by two political
parties established through a primary round of election in
which all registered political parties may participate.
6. A primary round of election shall be held to select the two
political parties for the general election on the expiry of the
term of the National Assembly or in the event of dissolution
under section 12 of this Article.
7. The two political parties obtaining the first and the second
highest number of votes in the primary election shall be
declared as the two political parties for the purpose of section
5 of this Article to contest in the general election.
8. The party which wins the majority of seats in the National
Assembly in the general election shall be declared as the ruling
party and the other as the opposition party. However, in the
case of casual vacancy, if the opposition party gains majority
of seats in the National Assembly after the bye-election, such
party shall be declared as the ruling party.
9. No election shall be held where the remainder of the term of
the National Assembly is less than one hundred and eighty
days.
10. The members of the National Assembly belonging to one party
shall not defect to the other party either individually or en
bloc.
33
11. A political party shall be dissolved only by declaration of the
Supreme Court:
(a) If the objectives or activities of the party are in
contravention of the provisions of this Constitution;
(b) If it has received money or assistance from foreign
sources;
(c) On such other grounds as may be prescribed by
Parliament or under a law in force; or
(d) On violation of the Electoral Laws.
12. Where the ruling party in the National Assembly stands
dissolved under section 11 of this Article or the Government
is dismissed under section 24 of Article 10 or under section 7
of Article 17, the National Assembly shall also stand dissolved
and, accordingly, sections 1 to 8 of this Article shall apply.
13. During the election of the opposition party under section 14
of this Article, the National Assembly shall be suspended
animation and the ruling party and their candidates shall not
contest in the elections.
14. Where the original opposition party stands dissolved under
this Constitution, an opposition party shall be elected:
(a) Within sixty days from the date of the dissolution of
the original opposition party;
(b) From the parties registered with the Election
Commission in accordance with section 4 of this
Article; and
(c) Through an election held under the Electoral Laws to
fill the seats of those constituencies which stood vacant
on the dissolution of the original opposition party.
34
15. Upon such election of the opposition party and the seats having
been filled up, the National Assembly shall resume thereafter
in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
16. Parliament shall, by law, regulate the formation, functions,
ethical standards, and intra-party organization of political
parties and shall ensure the transparency of party funds through
regular auditing of their accounts.
Article 16
Public Campaign Financing
1. Parliament shall, by law, establish a Public Election Fund into
which shall be paid every year such amounts as the Election
Commission may consider appropriate to fund registered
political parties and their candidates during elections to the
National Assembly and candidates to the National Council.
2. The payment out of the Public Election Fund shall be made
by the Election Commission in a non-discriminatory manner
to registered political parties and candidates in accordance with
laws made by Parliament.
3. The Election Commission shall fix a ceiling for the total
expenditure that may be incurred by political parties and their
candidates taking part in elections to the National Assembly.
4. The Election Commission shall fix a ceiling for contribution
offered voluntarily by any of its registered members to a
political party subject to the provisions of the Election Fund
Act.
35
5. The funding received by political parties and their candidates
shall be subjected to scrutiny and auditing as called for by the
Election Commission in accordance with laws made by
Parliament or law in force.
Article 17
Formation of Government
1. The Druk Gyalpo shall confer Dakyen to the leader or nominee
of the party, which wins the majority of seats in the National
Assembly, as the Prime Minister.
2. No person shall hold office as Prime Minister for more than
two terms.
3. The Druk Gyalpo shall appoint Ministers from among the
members of the National Assembly, on the recommendation
of the Prime Minister, or shall remove a Minister on the advice
of the Prime Minister.
4. A candidate for the post of Prime Minister or Minister shall
be an elected member of the National Assembly and a natural
born citizen of Bhutan.
5. Not more than two members elected from the electoral
constituencies of the same Dzongkhag shall be entitled to be
appointed as Ministers.
6. A motion of no confidence against the Government may be
moved by not less than one-third of the total number of
members of the National Assembly.
36
7. A vote of no confidence against the Government, if passed by
not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the
National Assembly, shall require the Government to be
dismissed by the Druk Gyalpo.
Article 18
The Opposition Party
1. The Opposition Party shall play a constructive role to ensure
that the Government and the ruling party function in
accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, provide
good governance and strive to promote the national interest
and fulfil the aspirations of the people.
2. The Opposition Party shall promote national integrity, unity
and harmony, and co-operation among all sections of society.
3. The Opposition Party shall endeavour to promote and engage
in constructive and responsible debate in Parliament while
providing healthy and dignified opposition to the Government.
4. The Opposition Party shall not allow party interests to prevail
over the national interest. Its aim must be to make the
Government responsible, accountable and transparent.
5. The Opposition Party shall have the right to oppose the elected
Government, to articulate alternative policy positions and to
question the Government’s conduct of public business.
6. The Opposition Party shall aid and support the Government
in times of external threat, natural calamities and such other
national crises when the security and national interest of the
country is at stake.
37
Article 19
Interim Government
1. Whenever the National Assembly is dissolved, the Druk
Gyalpo shall appoint an Interim Government to function for a
period, which shall not exceed ninety days, to enable the
Election Commission to hold free and fair elections.
2. The Interim Government shall consist of a Chief Advisor and
other Advisors appointed by the Druk Gyalpo within fifteen
days after the dissolution of the National Assembly. The Chief
Justice of Bhutan shall be appointed as the Chief Advisor.
3. Upon the appointment of the Interim Government, the Prime
Minister and the Ministers who were in office immediately
before the National Assembly was dissolved shall resign from
office.
4. The Interim Government shall carry out the routine functions
of the Government but shall not be entitled to take any policy
decisions or enter into any agreement with foreign
governments or organizations.
5. The Government shall be formed within ninety days from the
date of dissolution of the National Assembly.
6. The Interim Government shall cease to exist from the date on
which the new Prime Minister enters office when the new
National Assembly is constituted.
38
Article 20
The Executive
1. The Government shall protect and strengthen the sovereignty
of the Kingdom, provide good governance, and ensure peace,
security, well-being and happiness of the people.
2. The Executive Power shall be vested in the Lhengye
Zhungtshog which shall consist of the Ministers headed by
the Prime Minister. The number of Ministers shall be
determined by the number of Ministries required to provide
efficient and good governance. Creation of an additional
ministry or reduction of any ministry shall be approved by
Parliament. Ministries shall not be created for the purpose only
of appointing Ministers.
3. Subject to sections 16 and 19 of Article 2, the Lhengye
Zhungtshog shall aid and advise the Druk Gyalpo in the
exercise of His functions including international affairs,
provided that the Druk Gyalpo may require the Lhengye
Zhungtshog to reconsider such advice, either generally or
otherwise.
4. The Prime Minister shall keep the Druk Gyalpo informed from
time to time about the affairs of the State, including
international affairs, and shall submit such information and
files as called for by the Druk Gyalpo.
5. The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall:
(a) Assess the state of affairs arising from developments
in the State and society and from events at home and
abroad;
39
(b) Define the goals of State action and determine the
resources required to achieve them;
(c) Plan and co-ordinate government policies and ensure
their implementation; and
(d) Represent the Kingdom at home and abroad.
6. The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall promote an efficient civil
administration based on the democratic values and principles
enshrined in this Constitution.
7. The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall be collectively responsible to
the Druk Gyalpo and to Parliament.
8. The Executive shall not issue any executive order, circular,
rule or notification which is inconsistent with or shall have
the effect of modifying, varying or superseding any provision
of a law made by Parliament or a law in force.
Article 21
The Judiciary
1. The Judiciary shall safeguard, uphold, and administer Justice
fairly and independently without fear, favour, or undue delay
in accordance with the Rule of Law to inspire trust and
confidence and to enhance access to Justice.
2. The judicial authority of Bhutan shall be vested in the Royal
Courts of Justice comprising the Supreme Court, the High
Court, the Dzongkhag Court, the Dungkhag Court and such
other Courts and Tribunals as may be established from time
to time by the Druk Gyalpo on the recommendation of the
National Judicial Commission.
40
3. The Supreme Court shall be a court of record.
4. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall be appointed from among
the Drangpons of the Supreme Court or from among eminent
jurists by the Druk Gyalpo, by warrant under His hand and
seal in consultation with the National Judicial Commission.
5. The Drangpons of the Supreme Court shall be appointed from
among the Drangpons of the High Court or from among
eminent jurists by the Druk Gyalpo, by warrant under His hand
and seal in consultation with the National Judicial Commission.
6. The term of office of:
(a) The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall be five years or until
attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is
earlier; and
(b) The Drangpons of the Supreme Court shall be ten years
or until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever
is earlier.
7. The Supreme Court of Bhutan, which shall comprise the Chief
Justice and four Drangpons, shall be the highest appellate
authority to entertain appeals against the judgments, orders,
or decisions of the High Court in all matters and shall have
the power to review its judgments and orders.
8. Where a question of law or fact is of such a nature and of such
public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of
the Supreme Court, the Druk Gyalpo may refer the question
to the Supreme Court for its consideration, which shall hear
the reference and submit its opinion to Him.
41
9. The Supreme Court may, on its own motion or on an
application made by the Attorney General or by a party to a
case, withdraw any case pending before the High Court
involving a substantial question of law of general importance
relating to the interpretation of this Constitution and dispose
off the case itself.
10. The Supreme Court and the High Court may issue such
declarations, orders, directions or writs as may be appropriate
in the circumstances of each case.
11. The Chief Justice of the High Court shall be appointed from
among the Drangpons of the High Court or from among
eminent jurists by the Druk Gyalpo, by warrant under His hand
and seal, on the recommendation of the National Judicial
Commission.
12. The Drangpons of the High Court shall be appointed from
among the Drangpons of the Dzongkhag Courts or from among
eminent jurists by the Druk Gyalpo, by warrant under His hand
and seal, on the recommendation of the National Judicial
Commission.
13. The term of office of the Chief Justice and the Drangpons of
the High Court shall be ten years or until attaining the age of
sixty years, whichever is earlier.
14. The High Court of Bhutan, which shall comprise of a Chief
Justice and eight Drangpons, shall be the court of appeal from
the Dzongkhag Courts and Tribunals in all matters and shall
exercise original jurisdiction in matters not within the
jurisdiction of the Dzongkhag Courts and Tribunals.
42
15. The independence of the Drangpons of the Supreme Court
and the High Court shall be guaranteed, provided that a
Drangpon may be censured or suspended by a command of
the Druk Gyalpo on the recommendation of the National
Judicial Commission for proven misbehaviour, which, in the
opinion of the Commission, does not deserve impeachment.
16. Parliament may, by law, establish impartial and independent
Administrative Tribunals as well as Alternative Dispute
Resolution centres.
17. The Druk Gyalpo shall appoint members of the National
Judicial Commission by warrant under His hand and seal. The
National Judicial Commission shall comprise:
(a) The Chief Justice of Bhutan as Chairperson;
(b) The senior most Drangpon of the Supreme Court;
(c) The Chairperson of the Legislative Committee of the
National Assembly; and
(d) The Attorney General.
18. Every person has the right to approach the courts in matters
arising out of the Constitution or other laws subject to section
23 of Article 7.
Article 22
Local Governments
1. Power and authority shall be decentralized and devolved to
elected Local Governments to facilitate the direct participation
of the people in the development and management of their
own social, economic and environmental well-being.
43
2. Bhutan shall have Local Governments in each of the twenty
Dzongkhags comprising the Dzongkhag Tshogdu, Gewog
Tshogde and Thromde Tshogde.
3. Local Governments shall ensure that local interests are taken
into account in the national sphere of governance by providing
a forum for public consideration on issues affecting the local
territory.
4. The objectives of Local Government shall be to:
(a) Provide democratic and accountable government for
local communities;
(b) Ensure the provision of services to communities in a
sustainable manner;
(c) Encourage the involvement of communities and
community organizations in matters of local
governance; and
(d) Discharge any other responsibilities as may be
prescribed by law made by Parliament.
5. A Local Government shall strive, within its financial and
administrative capacity, to achieve the objectives set out under
this Article.
6. The Dzongkhag Tshogdu shall comprise:
(a) The Gup and Mangmi as the two elected
representatives from each Gewog;
(b) One elected representative from that Dzongkhag
Thromde; and
(c) One elected representative from Dzongkhag Yenlag
Thromdes.
44
7. A Gewog shall be divided into Chiwogs for the election of
the Tshogpas to the Gewog Tshogde. The Gup and Mangmi,
who are elected by the people of the Gewog shall be the
members of the Gewog Tshogde. The Gup shall be the
Chairperson of the Gewog Tshogde.
8. A Thromde Tshogde shall be headed by a Thrompon, who is
directly elected by the voters of the Dzongkhag Thromde. The
powers and functions of the Thrompon shall be defined by
law made by Parliament.
9. A Dzongkhag Thromde shall be divided into constituencies
for the election of the members of the Thromde Tshogde.
10. A Gewog Tshogde or a Thromde Tshogde shall not have more
than ten and fewer than seven elected members.
11. The Dzongkhag Tshogdu shall elect a Chairperson from among
its members.
12. The Dzongkhag Tshogdu shall meet at least twice a year while
the Gewog Tshogde and the Thromde Tshogde shall assemble
at least three times a year.
13. The presence of not less than two-thirds of the total number
of members shall be required to constitute a quorum for a sitting
of a Local Government.
14. When the office of a member of the Local Government
becomes vacant for any reason other than the expiration of
term, an election of a member to fill the vacancy shall be held
within thirty days as from the date of the vacancy.
45
15. The members of Local Governments shall take an Oath or
Affirmation of Office, as provided for in the Third Schedule
of this Constitution, before assuming their responsibilities.
16. The election of the members of Local Governments shall be
conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral
Laws.
17. A candidate to or a member of the Local Governments shall
not belong to any political party.
18. Local Governments shall be:
(a) Supported by the Government in the development of
administrative, technical and managerial capacities and
structures which are responsive, transparent, and
accountable;
(b) Entitled to levy, collect, and appropriate taxes, duties,
tolls, and fees in accordance with such procedure and
subject to limitations as may be provided for by
Parliament by law;
(c) Entitled to adequate financial resources from the
Government in the form of annual grants;
(d) Allocated a proportion of national revenue to ensure
self-reliant and self-sustaining units of local selfgovernment;
(e) Supported by the Government to promote holistic and
integrated area-based development planning; and
(f) Entitled to own assets and incur liabilities by
borrowing on their own account subject to such
limitations as may be provided for by Parliament by
law.
46
19. Local Governments shall be supported by administrative
machinery staffed by civil servants.
20. A Dzongkhag shall have a Dzongdag as the chief executive
supported by civil servants. The Dzongdag shall have no
political affiliation and shall discharge his or her
responsibilities as the chief executive in the interests of the
people and the country.
21. The Dzongkhag Tshogdu, the Gewog Tshogde and the
Thromde Tshogde, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for
five years from the date of the first sitting of the respective
bodies.
22. The powers and functions of the Dzongdag and the Local
Governments shall be in accordance with the laws made by
Parliament.
Article 23
Elections
1. Under this Constitution, the general will of the people shall
be the basis of government and it shall be expressed through
periodic elections.
2. A person shall have the right to vote by direct adult suffrage
through secret ballot at an election if the person is:
(a) A Bhutanese citizen as evidenced by a Citizenship
Card;
(b) Not less than eighteen years of age;
47
(c) Registered in the civil registry of that constituency for
not less than one year, prior to the date of the election;
and
(d) Not otherwise disqualified from voting under any law
in force in Bhutan.
3. A candidate for an elective office under this Constitution shall:
(a) Be a Bhutanese citizen;
(b) Be registered voter of that constituency;
(c) Be a minimum of twenty-five years and maximum of
sixty-five years of age at the time of filing the
nomination;
(d) Not receive money or any assistance from foreign
sources, be it governmental, non-governmental, private
organizations or from private parties or individuals;
and
(e) Fulfil the necessary educational and other
qualifications prescribed in the Electoral Laws.
4. A person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member
holding an elective office under this Constitution, if the person:
(a) Is married to a person who is not a citizen of Bhutan;
(b) Is terminated from Public Service;
(c) Is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced
to imprisonment;
(d) Is in arrears of taxes or other dues to the Government;
(e) Has failed to lodge accounts of election expenses
within the time and in the manner required by law
without good reason or justification;
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(f) Holds any office of profit under the Government,
public companies or corporations as prescribed in the
Electoral Laws; or
(g) Is disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
5. Any disqualification under section 4 of this Article shall be
adjudicated by the High Court on an election petition filed
pursuant to a law made by Parliament under section 7 of this
Article.
6. In order to provide for informed choice by the voter, a
candidate for an elective office shall file, along with his or her
nomination, an affidavit, declaring:
(a) The income and assets of the candidate, spouse and
dependent children;
(b) His or her bio-data and educational qualifications;
(c) Records of criminal convictions, if any; and
(d) Whether the candidate is accused in a pending case
for an offence punishable with imprisonment for more
than one year and in which charges are framed or
cognizance is taken by a court of law prior to the date
of filing of such a nomination.
7. Parliament shall, by law, make provisions for all matters
relating to, or in connection with, elections including the filing
of election petitions challenging elections to Parliament and
Local Governments, and the Code of Conduct for the political
parties and the conduct of the election campaign as well as all
other matters necessary for the due constitution of the Houses
of Parliament and the Local Governments.
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Article 24
Election Commission
1. There shall be an Election Commission which shall be
responsible for the preparation, maintenance, and periodical
updating of electoral rolls, the election schedule, and the
supervision, direction, control, and conduct of elections to
Parliament and Local Governments, as well as holding of
National Referendums, in a free and fair manner.
2. The Election Commission shall be independent and shall
consist of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election
Commissioners, appointed by the Druk Gyalpo from a list of
names recommended jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chief
Justice of Bhutan, the Speaker, the Chairperson of the National
Council and the Leader of the Opposition Party.
3. The term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and
Election Commissioners shall be five years or until they attain
the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.
4. The Election Commission shall be responsible for the
delimitation of constituencies for election of the members of
Parliament and Local Governments.
5. Parliament shall, by law, ensure that the Election Commission
holds elections so that the National Assembly and Local
Governments are re-constituted within ninety days after its
dissolution.
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Provided that in the case of the National Council, elections
shall be held so that it is re-constituted on the date of expiry of
the term. In the case of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu, the Gewog
Tshogde and the Thromde Tshogde being dissolved
prematurely, it shall be re-constituted within ninety days after
its dissolution.
6. The Election Commission shall function in accordance with
the Electoral Laws.
Article 25
The Royal Audit Authority
1. There shall be a Royal Audit Authority to audit and report on
the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the use of public
resources.
2. The Royal Audit Authority shall be an independent authority
headed by the Auditor General who shall be appointed by the
Druk Gyalpo from a list of eminent persons recommended
jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of Bhutan, the
Speaker, the Chairperson of the National Council and the
Leader of the Opposition Party.
3. The term of office of the Auditor General shall be five years
or until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is
earlier.
4. The Royal Audit Authority shall, without fear, favour, or
prejudice, audit the accounts of all departments and offices of
the Government including all offices in the Legislature and
the Judiciary, all public authorities and bodies administering
public funds, the police and the defence forces as well as the
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revenues, public and other monies received and the advances
and reserves of Bhutan.
5. The Auditor General shall submit an Annual Audit Report to
the Druk Gyalpo, the Prime Minister and Parliament.
6. Parliament shall appoint a five member Public Accounts
Committee, comprising members of Parliament who are
reputed for their integrity, to review and report on the Annual
Audit Report to Parliament for its consideration or on any
other report presented by the Auditor General.
7. The Royal Audit Authority shall function in accordance with
the Audit Act.
Article 26
The Royal Civil Service Commission
1. There shall be a Royal Civil Service Commission, which shall
promote and ensure an independent and apolitical civil service
that will discharge its public duties in an efficient, transparent
and accountable manner.
2. The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and four other
members appointed by the Druk Gyalpo from among eminent
persons having such qualifications and experience as would
enhance the performance of the Commission, from a list of
names recommended jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chief
Justice of Bhutan, the Speaker, the Chairperson of the National
Council and the Leader of the Opposition Party.
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3. The term of office of the Chairperson and members of the
Commission shall be five years or until they attain the age of
sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.
4. The Commission shall endeavour to ensure that civil servants
render professional service, guided by the highest standards
of ethics and integrity to promote good governance and social
justice, in implementing the policies and programmes of the
Government.
5. The Commission shall, in the interest of promoting merit,
productivity and equity, ensure that uniform rules and
regulations on recruitment, appointment, staffing, training,
transfers and promotion prevail throughout the civil service.
6. The Commission shall ensure that all civil servants shall have
recourse to justice through the Administrative Tribunal
established under section 16 of Article 21 to hear their appeals
against administrative decisions including those of the
Commission.
7. Every civil servant who has been adversely affected by an
administrative action shall have the right of access to the
Commission.
8. The Commission shall meet regularly and shall be supported
by a permanent Secretariat, which shall function as the central
personnel agency of the Government.
9. The Commission shall submit an Annual Report on its policies
and performances to the Druk Gyalpo and to the Prime
Minister.
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10. The Royal Civil Service Commission shall function in
accordance with the Civil Service Act.
Article 27
The Anti-Corruption Commission
1. There shall be an Anti-Corruption Commission, headed by a
Chairperson and comprising two members, which shall be an
independent authority and shall take necessary steps to prevent
and combat corruption in the Kingdom.
2. The Chairperson and members of the Commission shall be
appointed by the Druk Gyalpo from a list of names
recommended jointly by the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice
of Bhutan, the Speaker, the Chairperson of the National
Council and the Leader of the Opposition Party.
3. The term of office of the Chairperson and members of the
Commission shall be five years or until attaining the age of
sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.
4. The Commission shall submit an Annual Report on its policies
and performances to the Druk Gyalpo, the Prime Minister and
Parliament.
5. Prosecution of individuals, parties or organizations on the basis
of the findings of the Commission shall be undertaken
expeditiously by the Office of the Attorney General for
adjudication by the courts.
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6. The Anti-Corruption Commission shall function in accordance
with the Anti-Corruption Act.
Article 28
Defence
1. The Druk Gyalpo shall be the Supreme Commander in Chief
of the Armed Forces and the Militia.
2. The Royal Body Guards shall be responsible for the security
of the Druk Gyalpo while the Royal Bhutan Army shall serve
as a professional standing army and both forces shall form the
core of Bhutan’s defence against security threats.
3. The Royal Bhutan Police shall, as a trained uniform force
under the Ministry of Home Affairs, be primarily responsible
for maintaining law and order and prevention of crime, and
shall also be considered an important part of the nation’s
security force.
4. Parliament may, by law, require compulsory militia service
for adult citizens to strengthen the defence of the country.
5. The State shall be responsible for the maintenance of the
Armed Forces to safeguard the security of the country and the
well-being of the nation.
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6. Bhutan shall not use military force against a foreign State
except in self-defence or for the purpose of maintaining its
security, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Article 29
The Attorney General
1. There shall be an Office of the Attorney General, which shall
be autonomous, to carry out the responsibilities within the
domain and authority of the Government and such other legal
matters as may be entrusted to the office.
2. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal,
appoint an eminent jurist as the Attorney General on the
recommendation of the Prime Minister.
3. The Attorney General as the chief legal officer shall be the
legal advisor to and legal representative of the Government.
4. In the performance of his or her duties, the Attorney General
shall have the right to appear before all courts.
5. The Attorney General shall have the power to institute, initiate,
or withdraw any case in accordance with the law.
6. The Attorney General shall have the right to appear and express
opinions on any legal question in Parliament.
7. The Attorney General shall submit an Annual Report to the
Druk Gyalpo and to the Prime Minister.
8. The Attorney General’s Office shall function in accordance
with the Office of the Attorney General’s Act.
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Article 30
The Pay Commission
1. There shall be a Pay Commission, headed by a Chairperson,
which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time
to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
2. The Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government
revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits,
and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary,
the members of Parliament and Local Governments, the
holders and the members of constitutional offices and all other
public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom
and other provisions of this Constitution.
3. The recommendations of the Commission shall be
implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog
and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be
made by Parliament.
Article 31
Holders of Constitutional Offices
1. No person shall hold a constitutional office or post under this
Constitution unless the person is:
(a) A natural born citizen of Bhutan; and
(b) Not married to a person who is not a citizen of Bhutan.
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2. The holders of constitutional offices under this Constitution
shall be:
(a) The Chief Justice of Bhutan and the Drangpons of the
Supreme Court;
(b) The Chief Justice and the Drangpons of the High
Court;
(c) The Chief Election Commissioner;
(d) The Auditor General;
(e) The Chairperson of the Royal Civil Service
Commission; and
(f) The Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
3. The holders of the constitutional offices shall have no political
affiliation.
4. The holders of the constitutional offices shall not be eligible
for re-appointment.
5. Parliament may, by law, prescribe necessary educational and
other qualifications for the holders of constitutional offices.
6. The holders of constitutional offices shall take an Oath or
Affirmation of Office, as provided for in the Third Schedule
of this Constitution, before assuming office.
7. The salary, tenure, discipline and other conditions of service
of the holders of constitutional offices shall be as prescribed
by law, provided that the salary and benefits of the holders of
constitutional offices shall not be varied to their disadvantage
after appointment.
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Article 32
Impeachment
1. The holders of constitutional offices shall be removed only
by way of impeachment by Parliament.
2. A holder of constitutional office shall be liable to be impeached
only on the ground of incapacity, incompetency or serious
misconduct with the concurrence of not less than two-thirds
of the total number of members of Parliament.
3. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall preside over all impeachment
proceedings and, in the case of the impeachment of the Chief
Justice of Bhutan, the senior most Drangpon of the Supreme
Court shall preside.
4. The Attorney General shall submit a written report on the
Articles of impeachment to the Speaker.
5. The procedure for impeachment, incorporating the principles
of natural justice, shall be as laid down by law made by
Parliament.
Article 33
Emergency
1. The Druk Gyalpo may, on the written advice of the Prime
Minister, proclaim an emergency if the sovereignty, security,
and territorial integrity of Bhutan or any part thereof is
threatened by an act of external aggression or armed rebellion.
2. The Druk Gyalpo may, on the written advice of the Prime
Minister, proclaim that a public emergency or calamity, which
59
threatens or affects the nation as a whole or part thereof, exists
in which case the Government may take measures to the extent
strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.
3. The Proclamation of Emergency under section 1 or 2 of this
Article shall remain in force for a period of not more than
twenty-one days from the date of the Proclamation unless
Parliament, in a joint sitting, resolves by not less than twothirds
of the total number of members of Parliament to extend
it within the said period.
4. Not less than one-fourth of the total number of members of
the National Assembly may move a resolution to disapprove
such a Proclamation of Emergency or disapprove the
continuance in force of such Proclamation by writing to the
Druk Gyalpo if the House is not in session and to the Speaker
if the House is in session.
5. A joint sitting shall be held at the earliest date within twentyone
days from the day on which the motion is received by the
Speaker or, as the case may be, by the Druk Gyalpo, failing
which the Proclamation of Emergency shall lapse.
6. Where a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, the
Government shall be empowered to give appropriate directions
to the concerned Local Government.
7. Where a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, the
enforcement of the rights conferred by this Constitution under
sections 2, 3, 5, 12 and 19 of Article 7 may be suspended.
60
8. The Druk Gyalpo may, on the written advice of the Prime
Minister, proclaim a Financial Emergency if His Majesty is
satisfied that a situation has arisen whereby the financial
stability or credit of Bhutan is threatened. Such a Proclamation
shall be laid before each House within a period of twenty-one
days after such Proclamation unless Parliament, in a joint
sitting, resolves by not less than two-thirds of the total number
of members of Parliament to extend it within the said period.
9. The Constitution shall not be amended during a state of
emergency.
Article 34
National Referendum
1. The will of the people shall be expressed in a National
Referendum. A simple majority of the total number of votes
cast and counted shall be required for the referendum to be
adopted.
2. The Druk Gyalpo may command a National Referendum if:
(a) In His opinion a Bill, which is not passed in a joint
sitting of Parliament, is of national importance; or
(b) An appeal is made by not less than fifty percent of the
total number of members of all Dzongkhag Tshogdues.
3. A National Referendum shall not be held on the question of
imposition, variation, repeal of taxes or any other grounds as
may be prescribed by law made by Parliament.
4. Parliament shall, by law, prescribe the procedure for holding
a National Referendum.
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Article 35
Amendment & Authoritative Text
1. Subject to the provision of section 26 of Article 2 and section
9 of Article 33, Parliament shall have the power to amend by
way of addition, variation, or repeal the provisions of this
Constitution in accordance with the procedure set out in this
Article.
2. A motion to amend the Constitution under section 1 of this
Article shall be initiated by a simple majority of the total
number of members of Parliament at a joint sitting and, on
being passed by not less than three-fourths of the total number
of members in the next session at a joint sitting of Parliament,
the Constitution shall stand amended on Assent being granted
by the Druk Gyalpo.
3. Parliament may call for a National Referendum if, in its
opinion, a Constitutional Bill, which is not granted Assent by
the Druk Gyalpo is of national importance. Accordingly,
sections 1, 3 and 4 of Article 34 shall apply.
4. In any instance of a difference in meaning between the
Dzongkha and the English texts of this Constitution, each text
shall be regarded as equally authoritative and courts shall
reconcile the two texts.
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First Schedule
The National Flag and the National Emblem of Bhutan
The National Flag
The upper yellow half that touches the base symbolizes the secular
tradition. It personifies His Majesty the King, whose noble actions
enhance the Kingdom. Hence, it symbolizes that His Majesty is the
upholder of the spiritual and secular foundations of the Kingdom.
The lower orange half that extends to the top symbolizes the spiritual
tradition. It also symbolizes the flourishing of the Buddhist teachings
in general and that of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions in particular.
The dragon that fully presses down the fimbriation symbolizes the
name of the Kingdom, which is endowed with the spiritual and secular
traditions.
The white dragon symbolizes the undefiled thoughts of the people
that express their loyalty, patriotism and great sense of belonging to
the Kingdom although they have different ethnic and linguistic origins.
The National Emblem
Within the circle of the national emblem, two crossed-vajras are placed
over a lotus. They are flanked on either side by a male and female
white dragon. A wish-fulfilling jewel is located above them. There
are four other jewels inside the circle where the two vajras intersect.
They symbolize the spiritual and secular traditions of the Kingdom
based on the four spiritual undertakings of Vajrayana Buddhism. The
lotus symbolizes absence of defilements, the wish-fulfilling jewel,
the sovereign power of the people, and the two dragons, the name of
the Kingdom.
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Second Schedule
The National Anthem of Bhutan
In the Kingdom of Bhutan adorned with cypress trees,
The Protector who reigns over the realm of spiritual and secular
traditions,
He is the King of Bhutan, the precious sovereign.
May His being remain unchanging, and the Kingdom prosper,
May the teachings of the Enlightened One flourish,
May the sun of peace and happiness shine over all people.
Third Schedule
Oath or Affirmation of Office
“I, ….., do solemnly swear/affirm that I shall uphold the sovereignty
and integrity of Bhutan faithfully, conscientiously discharge my duties
in the service of the Tsawa-sum and perform the duties of my office
without fear or favour to the best of my ability, and that I shall bear
true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Bhutan.”
Fourth Schedule
Oath or Affirmation of Secrecy
“I, …., do solemnly swear/affirm that I shall not directly or indirectly
communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought
under my consideration or shall become known to me as a ….for the
Royal Government of Bhutan except as may be required for the due
discharge of my duties as ...”
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GLOSSARY
Chhoe-sid: Religion and politics (temporal and secular).
Chhoe-sid-nyi: Dual system of religion and politics (temporal and
secular).
Chibdrel: A ceremonial procession to receive and honour
distinguished personages and personalities.
Chiwog: A unit under a Gewog.
Dakyen: Award of rank and responsibility.
Dar: Scarf that symbolizes the conferring of rank.
Drangpon: Judge or Justice of a Royal Court of Justice.
Dratshang: Monastic Body.
Dratshang Lhentshog: The Commission for the Monastic Affairs.
Druk: Bhutan.
Druk Gyalpo: The King of Bhutan.
Druk-lu: The tradition of the Drukpa Kargyu, established by
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Dungkhag Court: Sub-district Court.
Dzong: Fortress, which is commonly used as an administrative center
and traditionally is the abode of monks.
Dzongdag: District Administrator.
Dzongkha: The National Language of Bhutan.
Dzongkhag: District.
Dzongkhag Tshogdu: District Council.
Gewog: County.
Gewog Tshogde: County Committee.
Goendey: A monastic community.
Gup: Head of a Gewog.
Gyenja: Agreement.
Jabmi: Legal Counsel.
Je Khenpo: The Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan.
Kargyu: One of the four orders of Mahayana Buddhism.
Kasho: A written order.
65
Ked-dzog: Stages of development and completion in Vajrayana
practice.
Kidu: Benefits granted by the King or the Government of Bhutan.
Lhakhang: Temple.
Lhengye: Ministerial position.
Lhengye Zhungtshog: Council of Ministers or Cabinet.
Lhentshog: Commission.
Lopon: Teacher.
Machhen: The holy relic of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who
unified Bhutan in the 17th century.
Mangmi: An elected representative of the Gewog, who is also a deputy
Gup.
Nye: Sacred pilgrimage site.
Nyi-Kyelma: Conferring a red scarf (rank and honour with the title
of Dasho).
Nyingma: One of the four orders of Mahayana Buddhism.
Pelden Drukpa: Glorious Bhutan or an illustrious Bhutanese person.
Rabdeys: Monastic bodies in dzongs other than Punakha and
Thimphu.
Tashi-mon-lam: Prayers for fulfillment of good wishes and
aspirations.
Ten-sum: Three types of sacred treasures comprising of images,
scriptures and stupas.
Thromde: Municipality.
Thromde Tshogde: Municipal Committee.
Thrompon: Municipal Administrator or Mayor.
Triple Gem: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Tsa Thrim Chhenmo: The Supreme Constitution.
Tsawa-Sum: The King, Country and People.
Tshogpa: An association or committee.
Yenlag Thromde: Satellite town.
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Zhug-drel-phunsum tshog-pai ten-drel: Traditional ceremony for
the acquisition of the triple attributes of grace, glory and wealth during
a formal and auspicious occasion.
Zhung Dratshang: Central Monastic Body.

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