High court still studying legality of DNT’s case

l Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu


Amid impatience burning among the people to get an update on the second Constitutional Case filed by Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) against the government, the High Court says it will take more time to decide whether or not they can accept the case.

It was on August 18, 2017, that DNT filed a constitutional case with the Court against the government for alleged violation of the Constitution by granting fiscal incentives without the parliament’s endorsement.

While many people have been thinking that the Court’s decision would not take time, a judge of the High Court said that before being admitted as a case, it has to attend the merits of admission. “This is a Constitutional case registered by a political party. Due to this, the need for deliberations arises,” he said.

Underlining that the case is not like other cases, he said that all the justices of the High Court need to study the case at the individual level after which deliberations would be held amongst the justices.

Seeking anonymity, a private legal practitioner said that the problem with Bhutanese individuals and institutions is “impatience.” “Everyone wants their cases to be solved as soon as possible. They do not think that once a judgment is passed, it cannot be revoked and that judges have to be very careful,” she said. On the alleged Constitutional Case too, she reiterated what the justices had said. “A Constitutional Case cannot be viewed at with the same lens of other cases. Due diligence has to be followed and as some of the judges have told you, the legality of the case should be studied first,” she said. When questioned the need for studying the Case’s legality, she said that if such measures are not adopted, it would set precedence. “In future, we may see political parties dragging each other, saying that the cases are Constitutional Cases,” she said.

DNT had filed the Constitutional Case with the High Court against the government for alleged violation of the Constitution by granting fiscal incentives. The Party said that the government had violated Article 14.1 of the Constitution, which states, “Taxes, fees and other forms of levies shall not be imposed or altered except by law.”

In a press release earlier, DNT claimed that it is not seeking political mileage but trying to fulfill the duty of protecting the Constitution. DNT is singularly focused on correcting the violation of the Constitution for the future of Bhutan rather than punishing the violator, the press release stated.

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