Draft Constitution of Bhutan
- 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
and prevention of all forms of ecological degradation including noise,
visual and physical pollution through the adoption of environment
friendly practices and ethos.
- 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.
- The Government shall ensure that, in order to conserve the country's
natural resources and to prevent degradation of the fragile mountain
ecosystem, a minimum of sixty percent of Bhutan's total land shall
be maintained under forest cover for all time.
- Parliament may, in order to ensure sustainable use of natural resources,
enact environmental legislation and implement environmental standards
and instruments based on the precautionary principle, polluter pay
principle, maintenance of intergenerational equity, and reaffirm the
sovereign rights of the State over its own biological resources.
- 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
- A person, both of whose parents are citizens of Bhutan, shall be
a natural born citizen of Bhutan.
- 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.
- A person who applies for citizenship by naturalization shall:
(a) Have resided in Bhutan for at least fifteen
(b) Not have any record of imprisonment for criminal
offences within the country or outside;
(c) Be able to speak and write Dzongkha;
(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 King, the Country and the People of Bhutan;
(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 Tsawa-Sum
as may be prescribed.
- The grant of citizenship by naturalization shall take effect by
a Royal Kasho of the Druk Gyalpo.
- If any citizen of Bhutan acquires the citizenship of a foreign State,
his citizenship shall be terminated.
- Subject to the provisions of this Article and the Citizenship Acts,
Parliament shall, by law, regulate all other matters relating to citizenship.
- A Bhutanese citizen 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.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech, opinion
- 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.
- There shall be freedom of the press, radio and television and other
forms of electronic dissemination of information.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to information.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to vote and the exercise
of adult franchise.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to freedom of movement
and residence within Bhutan.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to equal access and opportunity
to join the Public Service.
- 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.
- A Bhutanese citizen 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.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to material interests resulting
from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is
the author or creator.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful
trade, profession or vocation.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to equal pay for work of
- 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.
- 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
- A person charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed
innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law.
- A person shall not be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment.
- A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to unlawful attacks
on his honour and reputation.
- A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.
- 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
(d) Incitement to an offence;
(e) The disclosure of information received in
regard to the affairs of the State or in discharge of official duties;
(f) The rights and freedom of others.
- The right to initiate appropriate proceedings in the Supreme Court
or High Court against the State for the enforcement of the rights
conferred by this Article shall be guaranteed.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall preserve, protect and defend the sovereignty,
integrity, security and unity of Bhutan and render national service
when called upon to do so.
- A Bhutanese citizen shall have the duty to preserve, protect and
respect the culture and heritage of the nation.
- 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.
- A person shall respect the National Flag and the National Anthem.
- 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
- A person shall have the responsibility to provide help, to the greatest
possible extent, to victims of accidents and in times of natural calamity.
- A person shall have the responsibility to safeguard public property.
- A person shall have the responsibility to pay taxes in accordance
with the law.
- Every person shall have the duty to uphold justice and to act against
- Every person shall have the duty to act in aid of the law.
- Every person shall have the duty and responsibility to respect and
abide by the provisions of this Constitution.
Principles of State Policy
- The State shall endeavour to apply the Principles of State Policy
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
- The State shall strive to promote those circumstances that will
enable the successful pursuit of Gross National Happiness.
- 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
freedom of the people.
- The State shall endeavour to protect a person from being unlawfully
intercepted in telephonic, mail or any other mode of communication.
- The State shall endeavour to provide justice through a fair, transparent
and expeditious process.
- 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
- The State shall endeavour to develop and execute policies to minimize
inequalities of income, concentration of wealth among citizens, and
promote equitable distribution of public facilities among individuals
and people living in different parts of the Kingdom.
- The State shall endeavour to ensure that all the Dzongkhags are
treated with equity on the basis of different needs so that allocation
of national resources shall result in comparable socio-economic development.
- The State shall endeavour to achieve economic self-reliance within
an open and progressive economy.
- The State shall encourage and foster private sector development
through fair market competition and prevent the growth of commercial
- The State shall endeavour to promote those circumstances that would
enable the citizens to secure an adequate livelihood.
- The State shall endeavour to provide the right to work, vocational
guidance and training and just and favourable conditions of work.
- The State shall endeavour to provide the right to rest and leisure,
including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays
- The State shall endeavour to provide the right to fair and reasonable
remuneration for one's work.
- 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.
- The State shall provide free education to all children of school
going age up to tenth standard and ensure that technical and professional
education shall be made generally available and that higher education
shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
- The State shall endeavour to take all 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.
- The State shall endeavour to take all appropriate measures to ensure
that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination and
exploitation including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence,
degrading treatment and economic exploitation.
- The State shall endeavour to promote those circumstances that are
conducive to co-operation in community life and the integrity of the
extended family structure.
- 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.
- The State shall provide free access to basic public health services
in both modem and traditional medicines.
- 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.
- The State shall encourage the free participation in the cultural
life of the community to promote the arts and sciences and to foster
- 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.
- There shall be a Parliament for Bhutan in which all legislative
powers under this Constitution shall be vested and which shall consist
of the Druk Gyalpo, the National Council and the National Assembly.
- Parliament shall ensure a Government that safeguards the interests
of the nation and fulfills the aspirations of the people through public
review of policies and issues, Bills and legislations, and scrutiny
of State functions.
- The election of the members of Parliament shall be in accordance
with the provisions of the Election Act of Bhutan.
- 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.
- The Druk Gyalpo shall summon the first sitting of Parliament after
each general election.
- At the commencement of each session of Parliament, the Druk Gyalpo
shall be received in a joint sitting of Parliament with Chibdrel Ceremony
and the session shall be opened with a Zhug-drel-phunsum tshog-pai
ten-drel, and each session shall conclude with the Tashi-mon-lam.
- The Druk Gyalpo may address or sit in the proceedings of either
House or a joint sitting of Parliament as and when deemed expedient.
- The Druk Gyalpo may send messages to either or both the Houses as
- The House receiving the command shall, as early as possible, consider
the matter referred to in the message and submit its opinion to the
- The Prime Minister shall present an Annual Report on the state of
the nation, which shall include legislative plans and the annual plans
and priorities of the Government to the Druk Gyalpo and to a joint
sitting of Parliament.
- Each House of Parliament may determine its rules of procedure and
the Speaker or the Chairperson shall conduct the proceedings of the
respective Houses in accordance with the rules and may also provide
for appointment of Committees to carry out the business of Parliament.
- The Speaker and the Chairperson shall convene an extraordinary session
of Parliament on the command of the Druk Gyalpo if the exigencies
of the situation so demand.
- 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
the National Council or the National Assembly.
- 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
- 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.
- The members of Parliament and Local Governments shall take an Oath
or Affirmation of Office, as provided in the Third Schedule of this
Constitution, before assuming their responsibilities.
- The Prime Minister, the Ministers, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker
and the Chairperson of the National Council shall take an Oath or
Affirmation of Secrecy, as provided in the Fourth Schedule of this
Constitution, before assuming office.
- Every member of Parliament shall subscribe to maintaining the decorum
and dignity of the House and shall desist from acts of defamation
and use of physical force.
- 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
- The immunities herein granted shall not cover corrupt acts committed
by the members in connection with the discharge of their duties and
shall also not cover other acts of accepting money or any other valuable
consideration to speak or to vote in a particular manner.
- The National Assembly and the rational 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
- Except for existing International Conventions, Covenants, Treaties,
Protocols and Agreements entered into by Bhutan, which shall continue
in force, 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.
The National Council
- 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.
- 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.
- All candidates for membership to the National Council shall neither
belong to nor have affiliation to any political party.
- At the first sitting after any general election, or when necessary
to fill a vacancy, the National Council shall elect a Chairperson
from among its members.
- The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal, confer
Dakyen to the Chairperson.
- The National Council shall assemble at least twice a year.
The National Assembly
- The National Assembly shall have a maximum of seventy-five members
elected by 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.
- The number of elected members from each Dzongkhag shall be reapportioned
to reflect the changing population after every ten years, after the
census for that year has been taken, subject to the limitation of
a minimum of two and a maximum of seven members from each Dzongkhag.
- 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.
- The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal, confer
Dakyen to the Speaker.
- The National Assembly shall assemble at least twice a year.
Passing of Bills
- A Bill passed by Parliament shall come into force upon Assent of
the Druk Gyalpo.
- Money Bills and financial Bills shall originate only in the National
Assembly whereas any other legislative Bills may originate in either
- A Bill pending in either House shall not lapse by reason of the
prorogation of either House.
- A Bill shall be passed by a simple majority of the total number
of members of the respective House or by not less than two-thirds
of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting,
in the case of a joint sitting.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 which, when passed, shall be presented to the
Druk Gyalpo for Assent within fifteen days from the date of passing
of such Bill.
- 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.
- Where the other House neither passes nor returns the Bill within
the prescribed period under section 5 of this Article, 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.
- 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.
- Upon deliberation and passing of the Bill in a joint sitting, it
shall be re- submitted to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent thereto, whereupon
Assent shall be granted to the Bill.