The Constitution of Bhutan
On 4 September 2001 His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo briefed the Council of Ministers, the Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Royal Advisory Council to draft a formal Constitution for the Kingdom of Bhutan. Accordingly, under the Royal command, the Constitution Drafting Committee, comprising thirty nine members, was formed with the Chief Justice Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye as its Chairman. The members consisted of representatives from the monk body, people, judiciary and the Royal Government. It is a revolutionary command.
The Drafting of the Constitution started on 30 November 2001 and the first draft was submitted to His majesty the Fourth King on 9 December 2002. Then, on 26 March 2005, the first draft Constitution was released and its website was launched simultaneously so that views could also be sought from the Bhutanese outside Bhutan. The simplified second draft Constitution was distributed to the people on 18 August 2005 for further comments.
The provisions of the Draft Constitution have been aired on the radio as the well as the television. Panel discussions on the various Articles were held on the Draft Constitution. The Draft Constitution was, thus, given utmost importance.
His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck held consultations with the people of seven Dzongkhags and the then Chhoetse Penlop, now the Fifth Druk Gyalpo held consultation with the people in the remaining thirteen Dzongkhags. The public consultations started with Thimphu Dzongkhag on 29 October 2005 and ended in Trongsa Dzongkhag on 27 May 2006.
His Highness the Chhoetse Penlop concluded the nationwide consultation in Trongsa with the following line, “On this day, we have discussed the Constitution for the future of Bhutan….a document that places a sacred duty on all Bhutanese which, if borne well, will accord you a special place in the nation’s history.”
The public consultation was done mainly to create mass awareness and to listen to the recommendations and suggestions of the people to further refine the draft Constitution of Bhutan.
The implementation of the Constitution in the year 2008 will usher in a dawn of a new era in the history of Bhutan. It is one of the highlights of 2008.