Saturday, July 14, 2018

A landmark Judgement on Druk Gaki Tsokpa vs Election Commission of Bhutan.

The High Court invalidated almost all the reasons that ECB gave to deny registration of Druk Gaki Tsokpa as a Political Party.  I have been appalled by ECB's tendencies to use extra constitutional powers to uproot democratic fundamentals of the infant Bhutanese Democracy. If left to the discretion and unchecked authority of ECB, in future we could end up with only one Political Party and rest would be decorative democratic Thangkas painted by ECB. This time the Judiciary came down strong and firm upon Election Commission of Bhutan.
And it is the first sign that the Judiciary of Bhutan is a trusted Guardian of the Constitution. Palden Drukpa Gyal Lo ! High Court Gyel Lo!

1. An aspiring Political Party is not required to submit list of candidates for constituencies whilst submitting application for registration as a political party. Therefore ECB is wrong to demand
such submission.

2. A graduate Bhutanese of 25 years and above and 65 years and below has the constitutional right to be a constituency candidate. And ECB has no authority to demand otherwise or reject using  presumed assumptions.

In other words ECB mandate is to conduct election and leave it to the voters of the nation to decide on the abilities and capabilities of a Candidate and a Political Party. To me  It looks like that ECB Commissoners lack  the vision to differentiate between the system adopted after 1998 when His Majesty nominated ministrial candidates for National Assembly to choose from and the constitutionally guaranteed nomination from amongst graduates between 25 and 65 years citizens  by respective Political Parties under Democracy system introduced in 2008. Thus ECB's insistance to approve quality of candidates. The responsible authority needs to exercise impartial deligency in appointing Commissioners of Constitutional Bodies to eliminate such void in comprehension.  

3. Election Commision cannot impose  ideological fundamentals and cannot impose varying criterias for different Political Parties. It was established by the High Court that ECB had unfairly made demands and set conditions upon Druk Gaki Tsokpa that were never applied to the 4 existing Political Parties at the time of their registration. There was no difference in manifesto of Druk Gaki Tsokpa and other registered Political Parties according to High Court Judgement.   It seems to me that ECB does not believe in equal standard. How could ECB then conduct fair election with such uneven perception and practice ?

The High Court could not direct ECB to register Druk Gaki Tsogpa because the President Chheku Dukpa failed to submit Registration Form 2 and the aspiring Political Party also did not fulfill the constitutional pre- requisite of having multicultural and ethnic members from all 20 Dzongkhags. What I perceived from  the recent behaviour and statement of Chheku Dukpa was that he is in no position to complete that mandatory pre- requisite. Too bad. Otherwise registration of his Party is assurred now with this Landmark Judgement by the High Court. Future Political Parties are now protected against whims and fancies plus inadequacies in required knowledge and impartial ways of ECB Commissioners.    My own belief and reverence in the soundness of  the Judiciary of Bhutan is even more enhanced.

4. It is alright to have only one member from each Dzongkgag. Election Law and Constitution do not specify minimum party members from each Dzongkhag. But members  must comprise of cross national  multicultural and ethnic groups. And produce proof of membership by record of membership fee payment.      High Court judgement as recorded in Kuensel news ( my reference ) has not defined " multicultural and ethnic." But my understanding is that among those members, there must be men and women of voting age, Drukpa and Lhotsampa race ( two officially recognised dominant race ) and both Buddhism and Hinduism believers ( again two officially recognised religion).  In short a Political Party must be a representative political  body  of the whole nation. Not that of a race, region, religion or culture.  Please note my explanation are only for benefit of future Political Party aspirants.  It is also my suggestion that a serious aspiring Political Party have several members from each 20 Dzongkhags.

May Judiciary of Bhutan keep strengthening the rule of Laws and protect the Laws of the Land from mis- use and mis-interpretation by authoritarian and powerful forces including constitutional bodies.



  1. My personal opinion is that Chheku Dukpa, Jackson Dukpa or whatever he likes to call himself these day would have basically made our country a laughing stock. One only needs to take a look at his favorite profile picture where he is shown proudly holding up a finger (as if to show that he is making a very important point) to see that this is a person who is completely self absorbed and is only about promoting himself. He is on record for making outrageous and shameless statements like if he were Prime Minister he would "not only change Bhutan but the whole world". His social media page and his own website are littered with pictures of himself in various contrived poses, lacking even the slightest of humility.

    So, do we really want this kind shameless pompous blowhard representing our country, our heritage and our people? I think not.

    Chheku Dukpa, for me represents the ultimate antithesis to our core Buddhist values of selflessness and letting go of ego. This is a person who is completely all about himself, how is portrayed, making sure he's noticed, and putting on a show to get noticed. He isn't going to make sure the right decisions are made if it doesn't elevate him in some ways. I for one am so relieved ECB invalidated his party and his candidacy whether on a procedural ground or a technicality. The price is too high to pay this case. Bhutan is not a mature enough democracy where we can completely rely procedural and technicalities and let the chips fall where they may.

    What I don't understand is why you Wancha Sangay would put any energy into defending Jackson Dukpa's candidacy or his party? He is clearly a self absorbed individual who is not worthy of anyone's effort and most certainly not yours. This election is not lacking in decent candidates. There are great candidates like Aum Neten, who have a great track record, who are effective, passionate and have their heart in the right place. Even our current PM who seems truly humble and uncorrupt, far better representative of Bhutanese values than this shameless clown.

    1. Just because an individual has particular profile picture, unusual character and pompous attitude does not amount enough to disqualify him/her of his constitutional right to form political party, and if possible represent the nation.
      However, the registered voters will decide who and which political party shall represent their collective will on the election day, and I'm sure if someone is seen to be incompetent, voters will rightly vote for better contestants.
      Thus, Mr. Ugyen Namgyel, while your points regarding the eccentricity of Mr. Chekku Drukpa may be valid, while there may be better options for rest of us, yet, his eccentricity does not void his right to his fundamental right.
      Further, ECB should know better than to judge the capabilities of an aspirant candidate. It will be better served if ECB perform what they are mandated - create level-playing field for individuals and political parties to compete for office. I shall think it is a tragedy and a comedy when ECB behaves as though a voter-which it is not.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I defend the right of a Bhutanese to form a Political Party even if he or she is an ordinary Bhutanese. I defend the right and responsibility of Bhutanese voters to determine who they wish to elect. The constitution already defines who can stand as candidate including minimum and maximmum age and education qualification. And my stand has been vindicated by High Court judgement. But I do respect those who go the extra length to form a Party. It is not something that anybody can do. And only Chheku Dukpa had the courage or ego as you call to challenge ECB and have alomost all ECB reasons invalidated. He contributed to democracy building whilst you and I commented.