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
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.