Draft Constitution of Bhutan
Finance, Trade and Commerce
- Taxes, fees and other forms of levies shall not be imposed or altered
except by law.
- There shall be a Consolidated Fund into which shall be deposited
all revenue not allocated to specific purposes by law and from which
expenditure of the State shall be met.
- Public money shall not be drawn from the treasury except through
appropriation in accordance with the law.
- The State, in public interest, may raise loans, make grants or guarantee
loans in accordance with the law.
- 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 undue burden on future generations.
- It shall be an important objective for the Government to ensure
that the cost of recurrent expenditures is met from internal resources
of the country.
- A minimum foreign currency reserve that is adequate to meet the
cost of not less than one year's import must be maintained.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Parliament shall establish a relief fund and the Druk Gyalpo shall
have the prerogative to use this fund for urgent and unforeseen humanitarian
- The State shall make adequate financial provisions for the independent
administration of constitutional bodies.
- Unless otherwise provided under the provisions of this Constitution
or any other law, there shall be free movement of goods and services
among all the Dzongkhags.
- Trade and Commerce with foreign nations shall be regulated by law.
- Parliament shall not enact laws that allow monopoly except to safeguard
- 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
- Political parties shall promote national unity and progressive economic
development and strive to ensure the well-being of the nation.
- Candidates and political parties shall not resort to regionalism,
ethnicity and religion to incite voters for electoral gain.
- A political party shall be registered by the Election Commission
on its satisfying the qualifications and requirements set out hereinafter,
that: (a) Its membership is not based on region, sex, language, religion
or social origin; (b) It is broad-based with cross-national membership
and support and is committed to national cohesion and stability; (c)
It does not receive money or any assistance from foreign sources,
be it governmental, non-governmental, private organizations or from
private parties or individuals; (d) The members of the party shall'bear
true faith and allegiance to this Constitution and uphold the sovereignty,
security, unity and integrity of the Kingdom; (e) The party is established
for the advancement of democracy and for the social, economic and
political growth of Bhutan; and (f) It has not been dissolved earlier
under the provisions of section 10 of this Article.
- Representation in the National Assembly shall be by two political
parties established through a primary round of election in which all
registered political parties may participate.
- 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 accordance with the provision of sections
10 and 11 of this Article.
- The two political parties having the 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
- 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.
- The members of the National Assembly belonging to one party shall
not defect to the other party either individually or en bloc.
- A political party shall stand dissolved: (a) By declaration of the
Supreme Court, 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 or has acted against
the security, unity and integrity of Bhutan; (c) On declaration by
the Supreme Court on such other grounds as may be prescribed by Parliament
or under a law in force; or (d) On violation of the Election Act.
- Where the ruling party or opposition party in the National Assembly
stands dissolved under section 10 of this Article or a Government
could not be formed under section 7 of Article 17, the National Assembly
shall also stand - dissolved and, accordingly, sections 1 to 8 of
this Article shall apply.
- 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
Public Campaign Financing
- 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 candidates and political parties
during elections to the National Assembly. The payment, out of the
Public Election Fund, shall be made by the Election Commission in
a non-discriminatory manner to political parties registered by the
Election Commission under section 4 of Article 15 and in accordance
with the laws made by Parliament or a law in force.
- The Election Commission shall fix a ceiling for the total expenditure,
including the funding received from the Election Commission, that
may be incurred by political parties and candidates taking part in
elections to the National Assembly.
- The funding received by political parties and candidates, from the
Election Commission shall be subjected to scrutiny and auditing as
called for by the Election Commission.
Formation of Government
- The Druk Gyalpo shall award Dakyen to the leader or nominee of the
party, which wins the majority of seats in the National Assembly,
as the Prime Minister.
- No person shall hold office as Prime Minister for more than two
- 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.
- A candidate for the post of Prime Minister or Minister shall be
an elected member of the National Assembly and a natural bom citizen
- Not more than two members elected from the electoral constituencies
of the same Dzongkhag shall be entitled to be appointed as Ministers.
- 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
- 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, and the parties shall be called upon to demonstrate their
strength to form a Government, failing which general election shall
The Opposition Party
- 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 national interest and fulfill the aspirations of the people.
- The Opposition Party shall promote national integrity, unity, and
harmony and co-operation among all sections of society.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Opposition Party shall aid and support the Government in times
of external threat, natural calamities and such other national crises
when the life of the nation is at stake.
- For the purpose of holding the first election, after the adoption
of this Constitution, and 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.
- The Interim Government shall consist of a Chief Advisor and other
Advisors as deemed necessary who shall be 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.
- On the Interim Government being appointed the Prime Minister and
the Ministers, who were in office immediately before the National
Assembly was dissolved shall resign from office.
- 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.
- The Government shall be formed within ninety days from the date
of dissolution of the National Assembly.
- The Interim Government shall cease to exist from the date on which
the new Prime Minister enters office on the new National Assembly
- The Royal Government of Bhutan shall protect and strengthen the
sovereignty of the Kingdom, provide good governance, and ensure peace,
security, well-being and happiness of the people.
- 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. Ministries shall not be
created for the purpose of appointing Ministers.
- Subject to sections 16 and 19 of Article 2, the Lhengye Zhungtshog,
headed by the Prime Minister 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.
- 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
- 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;
(b) Define the goals of State action and determine
the resources required to achieve them;
(c) Plan and co-ordinate government policies and
ensure its implementation; and
(d) Represent the Kingdom at home and abroad.
- The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall promote an efficient civil administration
based on the democratic values and principles enshrined in this Constitution.
- The Lhengye Zhungtshog shall be collectively responsible to the
Druk Gyalpo and to Parliament.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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, on the recommendation
of the National Judicial Commission.
- 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
(b) The Drangpons of the Supreme Court shall be ten
years or until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is
- 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 subject to the rules made under section 18 of this
Article, shall have the power to review its judgments and orders.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Supreme Court and the High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction
to enforce the fundamental rights under Article 7 and for this purpose,
the said Courts may issue such declarations, orders, directions or
writs as may be appropriate in the circumstances of each case.
- The Chief Justice of the High Court shall be appointed from among
the Drangpons of the High Court, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Parliament may, by law, establish impartial and independent Administrative
Tribunals as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution centers.
- The Druk Gyalpo shall appoint members of the National Judicial Commission
by warrant under His hand and seal. The National Judicial Commission
(a) The Chief Justice of Bhutan as Chairperson;
(b) The senior most Drangpon of the Supreme Court;
(c) The Chairperson of the Legislative Committee;
(d) The Attorney General.
- Every person shall have the right to approach the Courts for enforcement
of the rights conferred on him by this Constitution or by the laws.
- The Supreme Court may, from time to time, make rules to regulate
the general practices and procedures of the Courts as required to
enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial process and system
in the Kingdom.
- 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
- Bhutan shall have Local Governments in each of the twenty Dzongkhags
comprising the Dzongkhag Tshogdu, Gewog Tshogde and Thromde Tshogde.
- 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.
- 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 the matters of local governance; and
(d) Discharge any other responsibilities as may
be prescribed by law made by Parliament.
- A Local Government shall strive, within its financial and administrative
capacity, to achieve the objectives set out under this Article.
- The Dzongkhag Tshogdu shall comprise of: (a) The Gup and Mangmi
as the two elected representatives from each Gewog; and (b) Two elected
representatives from each Thromde.
- A Gewog shall be divided into Chiwogs for the election of the Tshogpas
to the Gewog Tshogde. The Gup who is elected by the people of the
Gewog shall be the Chairperson of the Gewog Tshogde.
- A large urban area shall have a Thromde Tshogde, which shall be
headed by a Thrompon appointed by the Government, while a small urban
area shall have a Thromde Tshogde, which shall be headed by a Chairperson
elected from among its members. The powers and functions of the Thrompon
and the Chairperson shall be as defined by law made by Parliament.
- A Thromde shall be divided into constituencies for the election
of the members of the Thromde Tshogde.
- A Gewog Tshogdey or a Thromde Tshogdey shall not have more than
ten and fewer than seven elected members.
- The Dzongkhag Tshogdu and the Gewog Tshogde shall elect their respective
Chairpersons from among their members.
- The Dzongkhag Tshogdu shall meet at least twice a year while the
Gewog Tshogde and the Thromde Tshogde shall assemble at least thrice
- 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.
- The election of the members of Local Governments shall be conducted
as per the provisions of the Election Act of Bhutan.
- Candidates for election to Local Governments may belong to political
parties or be independent candidates.
- Local Governments shall be:
(a) Supported by the Royal 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 Royal Government in the form of annual grants;
(d) Supported by the Royal Government to promote
holistic and integrated area-based development planning; and
(e) 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.
- Local Governments shall be supported by an administrative machinery
staffed by civil servants.
- A Dzongkhag shall have a Dzongdag as chief executive supported by
civil servants. The Dzongdag shall have no political affiliation and
shall discharge his responsibilities as the chief executive in the
interests of the people and the country.
- The Dzongkhag Tshogdu, unless sooner dissolved, and the Gewog Tshogde
as well as the Thromde Tshogde shall continue for five years from
the date of the first sitting of the respective bodies.
- Parliament shall, by law, regulate the powers and functions of the
Dzongdag and the Local Governments to ensure self-reliant and self-sustaining
units of local self-government.
- Under this Constitution, the general will of the people shall be
the basis of government and it shall be expressed through periodic
- 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 or certificate, issued under law;
(b) Not less than eighteen years of age;
(c) Registered in the census 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.
- 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 Referendums, in a free and fair manner.
- The Election Commission shall be independent and shall consist of
a Chief Election Commissioner and two other members, 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.
- The term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and the members
shall be five years or until they attain the age of sixty-five years,
whichever is earlier.
- Law shall govern the delimitation of constituencies for election
of the members of Parliament and Local Governments.
- Parliament shall, by law, ensure that the Election Commission holds
elections so that the National Assembly is re-constituted within ninety
days after its dissolution. Provided that in the case of the National
Council and the Local Governments, as the case may be, elections shall
be held so that they are re-constituted on the date of expiry of the
term of the respective bodies. In the case of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu
being dissolved prematurely, it shall be re-constituted within ninety
days after its dissolution.
- 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.
- A candidate for an elective office under this Constitution shall:
(a) Be a Bhutanese citizen;
(b) Not be under foreign protection;
(c) Not be married to a person who is not a citizen
(d) Be listed on the register of the concerned constituency
at least for one year;
(e) Be a minimum of twenty-five years of age to be
a member of Parliament and a member of a Local Government and a maximum
of sixty-five years of age at the time of filing the nomination; and
(f) Have the necessary educational and other qualifications
as may be prescribed by Parliament.
- A person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member holding
an elective office under this Constitution, if the person:
(a) Is of unsound mind or mentally infirm;
(b) Is convicted for treason;
(c) Is terminated from Public Service;
(d) Is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced
(e) Is in arrears of taxes or other dues to the Government;
(f) Has failed to lodge accounts of election expenses
within the time and in the manner required by law without good reason
(g) Holds any office under the Government or public
companies and corporations; or
(h) Is disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
- Any disqualification under section 10 of this Article shall be adjudicated
by the High Court on an election petition filed pursuant to a law
made by Parliament under section 8 of this Article.
- In order to provide for informed choice by the voter, a candidate
for an elective office shall file, along with his nomination, an affidavit,
(a) The income and assets of himself, his spouse,
and dependent children;
(b) His bio-data and educational qualifications;
(c) His records of criminal convictions, if any;
(d) Whether he 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.