Bhutan Information Communication Act, 2006

Link to law: http://www.nationalcouncil.bt/assets/uploads/docs/acts/2014/Bhutan_Information_Communication_Act_2006Eng.pdf

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PREAMBLE

PREAMBLE .............................................................................................................. 1

CHAPTER ONE: PRELIMINARY............................................................................... 2

1. SHORT TITLE, EXTENT AND COMMENCEMENT........................................... 2
2. REPEALS......................................................................................................... 2

CHAPTER TWO: FUNCTIONS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS OF THE
MINISTRY ................................................................................................................ 3

3. MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND

COMMUNICATIONS .................................................................................... 3
4. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND

ANALYSIS....................................................................................................... 6
5. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO APPLICATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

DEVELOPMENT ............................................................................................. 7
6. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO FORMULATION OF POLICY, LEGISLATION

AND REGULATIONS...................................................................................... 9
7. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO INFORMATION DISSEMINATION AND

MEDIA CONTENT DEVELOPMENT............................................................. 10
8. TECHNICAL STANDARDS ........................................................................... 11
9. COLLECTION AND PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION............................. 12
10. ICT AND MEDIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO ADVISE THE MINISTER...... 12
11. POWER TO MAKE REGULATIONS ............................................................. 15
12. POWER TO REMOVE DIFFICULTIES............................................................ 15
13. DIRECTIVES IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS...................................................................... 16
14. TAKING OVER TEMPORARY CONTROL OF ICT FACILITY OR ICT

SERVICE OR MEDIA SERVICE IN PUBLIC INTEREST................................... 17
15. INTERCEPTION OF COMMUNICATIONS .................................................. 19
16. DIRECTIVES TO THE AUTHORITY ON BROAD POLICY MATTERS ............. 20
17. REPORTS FROM THE AUTHORITY ............................................................... 21

CHAPTER THREE: THE BHUTAN INFOCOMM AND MEDIA AUTHORITY ............ 22

18. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REGULATORY AUTHORITY AND

APPOINTMENT OF THE DIRECTOR AND MEMBERS ................................. 22
19. MEETINGS OF THE AUTHORITY .................................................................. 27

20. VACANCIES IN THE AUTHORITY NOT TO INVALIDATE ITS ACTS............. 27
21. GENERAL MANDATE OF THE AUTHORITY ................................................ 27
22. GUIDING REGULATORY PRINCIPLES FOR THE AUTHORITY..................... 28
23. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO ICT FACILITIES ................................................. 30
24. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO ICT SERVICES.................................................. 30
25. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT AND

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS ...................................................................... 31
26. FUNCTIONS RELATING TO CONTENTS AND MEDIA................................ 32
27. RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS OF THE AUTHORITY .............................. 33
28. PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION AND ADVICE...................................... 39
29. HEARING OF COMPLAINTS AND RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES BY THE

AUTHORITY IN CERTAIN CASES ................................................................. 40
30. POWER TO REQUIRE INFORMATION ........................................................ 41
31. POWER TO ESTABLISH ADVISORY BODIES ............................................... 42
32. ANNUAL AND OTHER REPORTS ................................................................ 43
33. POWER TO MAKE RULES............................................................................ 44
34. POWER TO ISSUE DIRECTION, GUIDELINE OR CODE OF PRACTICE ..... 45
35. INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUTHORITY ........................................................ 46

CHAPTER FOUR: PROVISION OF ICT FACILITIES AND ICT SERVICES............... 47

36. REQUIREMENT OF LICENCE FOR PROVISION OF CERTAIN FACILITIES

AND SERVICES............................................................................................ 47
37. OFFENCE FOR PROVISION OF CERTAIN FACILITIES AND SERVICES

WITHOUT A LICENCE.................................................................................. 49
38. AUTHORITY MAY GRANT LICENCES ......................................................... 50
39. PROCEDURE FOR THE GRANT AND RENEWAL OF A LICENCE ............. 52
40. DURATION OF LICENCE............................................................................. 54
41. LICENCE FEES.............................................................................................. 55
42. RENEWAL OF LICENCE .............................................................................. 55
43. MODIFICATION OF LICENCE .................................................................... 56
44. TRANSFER OF LICENCE .............................................................................. 57
45. OBLIGATIONS OF LICENSEES .................................................................... 58
46. QUALITY OF SERVICE ................................................................................. 61
47. NON-DISCRIMINATION AND CONTINUITY OF SUPPLY ........................... 62
48. ENFORCEMENT OF LICENCES AND LICENCE CONDITIONS ................. 63
49. PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS ................................................................. 64
50. VALIDITY AND EFFECT OF ORDERS........................................................... 66

51. SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF LICENCE.......................................... 67
52. OWNERSHIP OF ICT AND MEDIA ENTERPRISES........................................ 69
53. PREVENTION OF MONOPOLISTIC AND OTHER SIMILAR PRACTICES.... 69
54. DONATION FUNDS FROM FOREIGN SOURCES....................................... 70
55. FOREIGN PARTICIPATION IN THE ICT AND MEDIA INDUSTRY ................ 72
56. PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE BY SPECIFIED CATEGORIES OF

LICENSEES ................................................................................................... 74
57. UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND ........................................................................ 74
58. PURPOSE OF THE FUND ............................................................................. 74
59. UNIVERSAL SERVICE CATEGORIES ........................................................... 75
60. PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE BY PARTICULAR LICENSEE ........... 76
61. CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FUND ................................................................. 76
62. INTERCONNECTION ................................................................................... 76
63. INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENTS .......................................................... 78
64. PRE-CONTRACT DISPUTES ......................................................................... 78
65. COST OF INTERCONNECTION .................................................................. 79
66. INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING....................................................................... 79
67. NUMBERING................................................................................................ 80
68. ICT APPARATUS STANDARDS .................................................................... 80
69. CERTAIN AGREEMENTS TO BE REGISTERED WITH THE AUTHORITY ........ 82
70. REGISTER OF REGULATIONS, DIRECTIVES, RULES, LICENCES, AND

ORDERS ....................................................................................................... 82
71. ENTRY UPON AND CONSTRUCTION OF ICT APPARATUS ACROSS

ANY LAND................................................................................................... 83
72. COMPULSORY PURCHASE OF LAND ....................................................... 84
73. UNDERGROUND PIPES FOR ICT FACILITY PURPOSES ............................. 85
74. PIPES UNDER STREETS ................................................................................. 86
75. REMOVAL OF ICT APPARATUS ................................................................. 87
76. FENCES ........................................................................................................ 89
77. TREES OBSTRUCTING ICT APPARATUS ...................................................... 89
78. HEIGHT OR DEPTH OF ICT APPARATUS .................................................... 90
79. ELECTRICAL WORKS................................................................................... 91

CHAPTER FIVE: PROVISIONS RELATING TO RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS........ 92

80. CONTROL, MANAGEMENT AND REGULATION OF RADIO

FREQUENCY SPECTRUM ............................................................................ 92
81. RADIO FREQUENCY BAND PLANS ........................................................... 95

82. RADIOCOMMUNICATION LICENCES ...................................................... 97
83. BIDDING FOR LICENCES............................................................................ 98
84. AMATEUR RADIOCOMMUNICATION PROVIDER’S PERMIT ................... 98
85. CONTROL OF POSSESSION OF RADIOCOMMUNICATION

APPARATUS................................................................................................. 99
86. PROVISIONS REGARDING HARMFUL INTERFERENCE ........................... 100
87. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES AS TO USE OF APPARATUS ......................... 101
88. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES AS TO SALES AND MANUFACTURERS........ 103
89. RULES WITH RESPECT TO RESISTANCE TO INTERFERENCE..................... 104
90. DELIBERATE INTERFERENCE ..................................................................... 106
91. INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND AGREEMENTS................................ 106
92. MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL RADIO

RULES ......................................................................................................... 107

CHAPTER SIX: PROVISIONS RELATING TO MEDIA ISSUES .............................. 107

PRINTING PRESSES, BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS.............................................. 107

93. LICENCE TO KEEP OR USE PRINTING PRESS ........................................... 107
94. OBLIGATIONS OF PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS OF DOCUMENTS ......... 108
95. REGISTRATION OF BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS ..................................... 109
96. REQUIREMENT OF A LICENCE TO PUBLISH BOOKS AND

NEWSPAPERS ............................................................................................ 110
97. CONSIDERATION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LICENCE.............................. 110
98. OBLIGATION TO PRINT CERTAIN PARTICULARS ..................................... 112
99. REVOCATION OF LICENCES .................................................................... 112
100. POWER TO DECLARE A BOOK OR NEWSPAPER DETRIMENTAL TO

BHUTAN ..................................................................................................... 113
101. ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS ......................................................... 114
102. AD HOC ACCREDITATION FOR FOREIGN JOURNALISTS...................... 114
103. POWERS OF SEARCH AND SEIZURE......................................................... 116
104. PRESUMPTION IN REGARD TO PLACE OF PUBLICATION ...................... 116

CINEMATOGRAPHIC FILMS, PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS AND OTHER
ENTERTAINMENTS............................................................................................... 117

105. EXAMINATION OF FILMS........................................................................... 117
106. LIST OF EXAMINERS ................................................................................... 118

107. CERTIFICATION OF FILMS ......................................................................... 119
108. CRITERIA FOR CERTIFICATION OF FILMS................................................. 121
109. APPEALS..................................................................................................... 121
110. DISPLAY OF CERTIFICATE.......................................................................... 122
111. ADVERTISEMENTS AND PUBLICITY MATERIALS ....................................... 122
112. DEPOSIT OF COPIES.................................................................................. 123
113. POWER OF THE AUTHORITY TO SUSPEND EXHIBITION OF FILMS........... 123
114. APPEALS AGAINST SUSPENSION.............................................................. 124
115. REGULATION OF PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS .................................... 124
116. PENALTY FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH PROHIBITORY ORDERS ........ 125
117. APPEALS AGAINST AN ORDER OF PROHIBITION ................................... 126
118. POWER TO CALL FOR INFORMATION..................................................... 127
119. POWER TO ENTER, SEARCH AND SEIZE................................................... 127
120. PERMITS FOR PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS........................................... 128
121. APPEALS AGAINST REFUSAL OF PERMITS................................................ 129
122. LICENSING OF PLACES OF ENTERTAINMENTS ........................................ 129
123. LICENSING RESPONSIBILITY AND PROCEDURE ...................................... 130
124. POWER TO CHARGE FEES ........................................................................ 131

CHAPTER SEVEN: PROVISIONS RELATING TO CYBER ISSUES......................... 132

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE ............................. 132

125. MINISTRY AS THE LEAD AGENCY FOR E-GOVERNANCE ...................... 132
126. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MINISTER .......................................................... 132
127. RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY FOR E-

GOVERNMENT SERVICES ........................................................................ 133
128. DOMAIN DIRECTORY OF PUBLIC GOVERNMENT WEBSITES ................. 134
129. WEBSITES FOR JUDICIAL INFORMATION AND COURT PROCEDURES . 135
130. APPROPRIATE PERSONNEL NEEDS .......................................................... 135

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC COMMERCE.................................. 136

131. SCOPE OF APPLICATION ......................................................................... 136
132. VARIATION BY AGREEMENT..................................................................... 136
133. LEGAL RECOGNITION OF DATA MESSAGES.......................................... 136
134. INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE ........................................................... 136
135. WRITING ..................................................................................................... 136

136. SIGNATURE................................................................................................. 137
137. ORIGINAL................................................................................................... 138
138. ADMISSIBILITY AND EVIDENTIAL WEIGHT OF DATA MESSAGES............ 139
139. RETENTION OF DATA MESSAGES............................................................. 139
140. FORMATION AND VALIDITY OF CONTRACTS ........................................ 140
141. RECOGNITION BY PARTIES OF DATA MESSAGES .................................. 140
142. ATTRIBUTION OF DATA MESSAGES.......................................................... 141
143. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT......................................................... 143
144. TIME AND PLACE OF DISPATCH AND RECEIPT OF DATA MESSAGES.. 144

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES .................................. 146

145. SCOPE OF APPLICATION ......................................................................... 146
146. EQUAL TREATMENT OF SIGNATURE TECHNOLOGIES ............................ 146
147. VARIATION BY AGREEMENT..................................................................... 146
148. COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENT FOR A SIGNATURE........................ 147
149. CONDUCT OF THE SIGNATORY............................................................... 148
150. CONDUCT OF THE CERTIFICATION SERVICE PROVIDER....................... 149
151. TRUSTWORTHINESS .................................................................................... 151
152. CONDUCT OF THE RELYING PARTY......................................................... 152
153. RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN CERTIFICATES AND ELECTRONIC

SIGNATURES.............................................................................................. 153

PROVISIONS RELATING TO CONSUMER PROTECTION FOR ELECTRONIC
COMMERCE....................................................................................................... 154

154. INFORMATION PROVISION ...................................................................... 154
155. LANGUAGE ............................................................................................... 159
156. CONTRACT FORMATION AND FULFILMENT ........................................... 159

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ONLINE PRIVACY ................................................ 161

157. ONLINE PRIVACY ...................................................................................... 161
158. SECURITY OF PAYMENT AND PERSONAL INFORMATION ..................... 163
159. UNSOLICITED E-MAIL................................................................................. 164
160. COMMUNICATIONS WITH CHILDREN ..................................................... 164
161. REDRESS ..................................................................................................... 165

PROVISIONS RELATING TO DOMAIN NAMES................................................. 167

162. DISPUTES INVOLVING DOMAIN NAME VIOLATIONS AT

INTERNATIONAL LEVEL............................................................................. 167
163. CIVIL ACTION AGAINST A DOMAIN NAME VIOLATOR ........................ 167
164. JURISDICTION IN REM CIVIL ACTIONS AGAINST DOMAIN NAME

VIOLATORS ............................................................................................... 170
165. THE MINISTRY TO ACT AS A REGISTRAR OF DOMAIN NAMES.............. 170

PROVISIONS RELATING TO INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS, THEIR
OPERATIONS AND LIABILITY............................................................................. 171

166. HOSTING .................................................................................................... 171
167. ACCESS PROVIDING ................................................................................ 172
168. CACHING .................................................................................................. 173
169. NO GENERAL OBLIGATION TO MONITOR ............................................. 174
170. NOTICE AND TAKE DOWN ....................................................................... 174

PROVISIONS RELATING TO CERTAIN CYBER OFFENCES................................ 178

171. UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO COMPUTER MATERIAL............................. 178
172. UNAUTHORISED ACCESS WITH INTENT TO COMMIT OR FACILITATE

COMMISSION OF FURTHER OFFENCE.................................................... 179
173. HACKING ................................................................................................... 180
174. VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT (PENETRATION) TESTING.......................... 181
175. PROHIBITION OF ONLINE HARASSMENT ................................................. 182
176. PROHIBITION OF ONLINE PROTEST WEB SITES......................................... 183
177. WRONGFUL COMMUNICATION ............................................................. 185
178. INTRODUCTION OF COMPUTER CONTAMINANT OR COMPUTER

VIRUS ......................................................................................................... 185
179. PROHIBITION OF OBSCENE COMMUNICATIONS .................................. 185
180. PROHIBITION OF ONLINE GAMBLING..................................................... 186
181. TERRITORIAL SCOPE OF OFFENCES UNDER THIS CHAPTER .................. 187
182. POWER OF POLICE OFFICER TO ACCESS COMPUTER AND DATA ..... 188

SUPPLEMENTAL .................................................................................................. 189

183. ELECTRONIC TRANSFER OF FUNDS ......................................................... 189

CHAPTER EIGHT: OFFENCES, PENALTIES, LEGAL PROCEEDINGS,
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL ........................................................... 190

184. FRAUDULENT USE OF PUBLIC ICT SYSTEM ............................................... 190
185. IMPROPER USE OF PUBLIC ICT SYSTEM ................................................... 190
186. MODIFICATION OF MESSAGES ............................................................... 191
187. POWER TO PROSCRIBE UNACCEPTABLE FOREIGN BROADCASTING

SERVICES ................................................................................................... 191
188. UNLAWFUL INTERCEPTION AND DISCLOSURE OF MESSAGES ............. 193
189. MISLEADING MESSAGES AND INTERCEPTION AND DISCLOSURE OF

MESSAGES ................................................................................................ 193
190. OFFENCES RELATING TO EXHIBITION OF PROHIBITED FILMS................. 194
191. PROHIBITION OF AFFIXING PLACARDS AND NOTICES ......................... 195
192. ENTRY AND SEARCH OF PREMISES.......................................................... 196
193. SEIZURE OF APPARATUS AND OTHER PROPERTY ................................... 199
194. PENALTIES AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS .................................................. 200
195. DISPOSAL OF APPARATUS AND OTHER SEIZED PROPERTY................... 202
196. GENERAL PENALTIES FOR CONTRAVENTION OF ACT, REGULATIONS

AND RULES................................................................................................ 203
197. OFFENCES BY BODIES CORPORATE ....................................................... 204
198. JURISDICTION AND APPEALS................................................................... 204
199. POWER OF THE APPELLATE TRIBUNAL TO REGULATE ITS PROCEDURE 205
200. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS........................................................................... 206
201. AMENDMENT............................................................................................. 206
202. AUTHORITATIVE TEXT ................................................................................. 206
203. DEFINITIONS ............................................................................................... 206
204. GENERAL INTERPRETATION ...................................................................... 225

BHUTAN INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND
MEDIA ACT 2006

PREAMBLE

An Act to provide for a modern technology-neutral and service
sector-neutral regulatory mechanism which implements con-
vergence of information, computing, media, communications
technologies and facilitates for the provision of a whole range of
new services; to implement new information and commu-
nications technology (ICT) and media policy, particularly to
emphasize the Government’s priority to information, comm-
unications and media industry, as an industry in itself and an
important enabler for other areas of human activity, thus pro-
moting universal service to all Bhutanese, especially in the
remote and rural areas of the country; to facilitate privatization
and competition in the establishment of ICT and media facilities
and services; to encourage and facilitate investment in ICT and
media industry; to give new statutory authority to the Ministry of
Information and Communications over several new activities in
the ICT and media industry; to make the existing regulatory body
more capable and independent regulating all aspects of ICT
and media industry; to realign and separate responsibilities of
the Government and the regulatory body; to make provision for
the effective use, management and regulation of radio fre-
quency spectrum; to regulate ICT and media facilities and
services with a view to facilitate fair competition among all
players, both in the public and private sectors; and to ensure
effective use of national ICT and media infrastructure and
resources; and to encourage and facilitate an increased use of
ICT for new e-services and to effectively regulate the activities
related to cyberspace and media operations, including their
unwanted contents.

This Bhutan Information, Communications and Media Act has
been enacted by the 85th Session of the National Assembly on
5th of July 2006 corresponding to the 9th Day of the 5th Month of
the Bhutanese Fire Male Dog Year.

CHAPTER ONE: PRELIMINARY

SHORT TITLE, EXTENT AND COMMENCEMENT

1. This Act shall:

(a) be cited as the Bhutan Information, Communications

and Media Act 2006;

(b) come into force on 5th of July 2006 corresponding to

the 9th Day of the 5th Month of the Bhutanese Fire
Male Dog Year.

(c) extend to whole of the Kingdom of Bhutan or

otherwise within the jurisdiction of Bhutan

REPEALS

2. With the enactment of this Act, provisions of any other Act,

Rules, Regulations, Circulars and Orders shall become

invalid to the extent of inconsistency with any provisions of

this Act. Further, the Bhutan Telecommunications Act 1999

is hereby repealed except for Sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.6, 2-18

and 21-32, and Schedule 1 dealing with Bhutan Telecom as

a Corporation.

CHAPTER TWO: FUNCTIONS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS OF THE
MINISTRY

MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND

COMMUNICATIONS

3. (1) In Bhutan, the development and functioning of the

information, communications and media industry is
premised on following three segments:

(a) Information content, which pertains to the

creation of information by the original players
(writers, composers, artists, photographers, and
filmmakers); it also includes compilation of
information and reference works, databases,
statistical series and real-time information
services that supply constant flows of
information. Management, regulation and
trading in intellectual property rights form an
integral part of the content segment;

(b) Information processing, which is concerned with

the processing of information using both
hardware and software; and

(c) Information communications (delivery / distribu-

tion), which is concerned with the establishment,
operation and management of the commu-
nications and dissemination network(s) through
which information is transmitted. Commonly de-
ployed such communications systems are:

(i) Telecommunications companies, cable

television networks, satellite broadcasters,
radio and television broadcasting networks
or re-broadcasters, the Internet; and

(ii) Booksellers, libraries, authors, publishers,

newspaper companies, journal publishers,
drama theatres and movie halls, film-
makers, radio and television programme
producers, records, compact diskettes and
cassette recording companies (in all print
and electronic forms).

(2) All the three segments in Sub-section (1) constitute the

Bhutanese information society and thus form the
bases for and determine the scope of the broad
mandate of the Ministry of Information and
Communications.

(3) The Ministry, as the lead Governmental agency in

Bhutan with respect to the achievement of the ICT
and media policy objectives as determined from time
to time by the Government, shall provide the
necessary direction, coordination, encouragement,
advice, and support to both the public and private
sectors in all ICT and media matters.

(4) Within the broad mandate of the Ministry specified in

Sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) above, the general
functions, responsibilities and powers of the Minister
shall be to:

(a) initiate, formulate and present to the Parliament

specific legislations, including amendments to
the existing ones, relating to all aspects of ICT
and media;

(b) initiate, formulate and promulgate ICT and

media policies and regulations to promote the

growth of ICT and media industry. Such activities
would comprise of the following components:

(i) Research, development and analysis;

(ii) Applications and infrastructure develop-

ment;

(iii) Formulation of policy, legislation and

regulations; and

(iv) Information dissemination and media

content development;

(c) act as a ‘national information agency’ to

observe and monitor evolution of the Bhutanese
information society through:

(i) continuous study on how effectively and

extensively information sharing is adopted
to pursue socio-economic development
and public welfare activities across
Governmental agencies, public and
private institutions/offices;

(ii) people’s access to choice of information

using all ICT and media facilities and
services; and

(iii) adopting and implementing gender

equality policies and programmes in ICT
and media.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND
ANALYSIS

4. In order to serve in a path-finding capacity to determine

the appropriateness of a given technology and system
suitable to the unique Bhutanese conditions, the Minister’s
functions relating to research, development and analysis
shall be to:

(a) conduct research and recommend to all

Governmental agencies and private sector for the
adoption and use of software applications and ICT
operating systems;

(b) draft guidelines for the development and quality

control of software applications and recommend
these guidelines to the relevant units of the Ministry for
formulation as technical policy guidelines or
Regulations, as appropriate;

(c) research networking hardware, software, and

cabling;

(d) provide assistance (whenever required) to the

Authority in the analysis of technical matters, including
on interconnection, radio frequency interferences,
and use of technical standards;

(e) prepare technical specifications for hardware and

software and make recommendations about new
technologies;

(f) carry out certification of hardware and software

specifications, including locally assembled computers
and evaluation and certification of system develop-
ment;

(g) establish a system of education and training of ICT

and media professionals, in consultation with other
appropriate institutions (both public and private);

(h) provide technical co-ordination to the ICT units that

are set-up in Governmental agencies and regional
offices; and

(i) study the ICT and media private sector in terms of its

opportunities, constraints and difficulties and
accordingly propose for positive Governmental
intervention.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO APPLICATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DEVELOPMENT

5. In order to provide concerted Government leadership and

support in the development of ICT facilities, ICT services
and media in Bhutan, the Minister’s functions relating to
applications and infrastructure development shall be to:

(a) encourage, facilitate and co-ordinate the creation of

e-services, like e-government, e-commerce, e-
learning, e-health, and e-marketing;

(b) identify areas of applications development needs in

Governmental agencies and initiate appropriate
development;

(c) plan infrastructure development, in consultation with

the Authority and the public and private sectors;

(d) design and implement national ICT network projects,

particularly interconnecting all the Dzongkhags and
Gewogs, using appropriate technologies;

(e) design, promote and implement projects for the use

of Dzongkha in all sections of ICT and media industry;

(f) act as an interface between the Government and

private sector for planning appropriate ICT
infrastructure and applications, and use to the
maximum extent the private sector capabilities, by
outsourcing, to meet the Government requirements;

(g) promote the swift and sustainable development of ICT

facilities, ICT services and media within Bhutan;

(h) encourage investment and foster technological

innovation in ICT and media;

(i) encourage major users of ICT services whose places

of business are outside Bhutan to establish places of
business in Bhutan;

(j) enable persons producing ICT products in Bhutan to

compete effectively in the supply of such products
both in and outside Bhutan;

(k) facilitate training on ICT for the members of the

Government staff, private sector, and interested
members of the general public; and

(l) organise workshops, seminars, meetings and other

fora on emerging ICT and media, at the national,
regional and international levels.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO FORMULATION OF POLICY, LEGISLATION
AND REGULATIONS

6. In order to ensure that the policy, legal and regulatory

environment remains conducive to a healthy ICT and
media industry in Bhutan, the Minister’s functions relating to
formulation of ICT and media policy, law and regulations
shall be to:

(a) undertake systematic research of the existing laws of

Bhutan (and of other countries) for their adaptation,
where relevant and when required. This could also
entail an in-depth research on various forms of ICT
and media, including their impact on the society;

(b) prepare ICT and media policy, draft legislation and

adopt regulations, taking into account the
recommendations of the Advisory Committee and
the Authority, suggestions of various units of the
Ministry and views of other interested parties in
Bhutan, particularly the private sector as well as the
Dzongkhags and Gewogs;

(c) represent Bhutan and participate in regional and

international organisations and negotiations relevant
to ICT and media matters; and

(d) organise information sessions, whenever required, on

policy and regulatory matters relating to ICT and
media for the members of the Government staff,
private sector, and interested members of the general
public.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO INFORMATION DISSEMINATION AND
MEDIA CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

7. In order to make planned efforts in promoting a healthy

media and ensuring its role in the appropriate socio-cultural
and political development in Bhutan, the Minister’s
functions relating to information dissemination and media
content development shall be to:

(a) promote and develop information and media

services in order to make people understand the
importance of information and its usage;

(b) develop national information strategies and

standards for appropriate contents in information
and media;

(c) monitor trends in ICT and media;

(d) facilitate the dissemination of the Government

information by using the Government Web Portal and
any other means;

(e) coordinate visits by foreign media personnel while in

Bhutan;

(f) function as a Secretariat to the Advisory Committee

and submit matters of interest for its deliberations and
recommendations; and

(g) seek funding and technical assistance to promote

professionalism in Bhutanese media.

TECHNICAL STANDARDS

8. (1) The Minister may, by Regulations made after

consultation with the Authority, establish standards in
respect of the technical aspects of ICT and media
and require the Authority to give effect to them. In
this regard, the Minister shall, specifically:

(a) establish national ICT standards and ensure

compliance with the Constitution and
Convention of the International Telecomm-
unication Union;

(b) facilitate training and certification of ICT and

media personnel in accordance with the
regulations adopted by regional or international
bodies; and

(c) test and certify ICT equipment to ensure

compliance with:

(i) international standards; and

(ii) environmental health and safety standards,

including electromagnetic radiation and
emissions.

(2) The Minister may, where he is convinced that to do so

will achieve efficiency, economy and convenience in
the regulation of ICT and media industry, by
Regulation delegate to the Authority the
performance of all or any of the functions under Sub-
section (1) and the making of pertinent Rules.

COLLECTION AND PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION

9. (1) With a view to becoming aware of, and ascertaining

the circumstances relating to ICT and media matters,
the Minister may, so far as it appears to him practicable
from time to time, collect information with respect to all
activities related to ICT and media as carried out in
Bhutan, and the persons by whom they are carried out.

(2) The Minister may publish, in such form and in such

manner as he may consider appropriate, any
information or results of a study or an ICT and media
plan, as it may appear to him to be valuable to the
public, including consumers, purchasers and other users
or providers of ICT facilities, ICT services and media in
Bhutan.

ICT AND MEDIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO ADVISE THE MINISTER

10. (1) There shall be established for the purposes of this Act

an advisory committee, to be called the ICT and
Media Advisory Committee, as a “think tank” and
adviser to the Minister on ICT and media matters.

(2) The functions of the Advisory Committee shall be to

advise the Minister on the overall policy and
legislative guidelines for positive development and
operation of ICT and media industry in Bhutan, inter
alia, and any matter connected with ICT and media
referred to it by the Minister for advice, and to hold
enquiries and receive statements from interested
parties in connection with any matter on which its
advice has been sought. Without prejudice to the
generality of the foregoing, under general guidance
of the Minister, the Advisory Committee shall:

(a) advise the Minister in establishing the national
policy on all ICT and media matters (including
the contents of ICT and media services) with a
view to ensuring the efficient development and
operation of all ICT and media as well as the
compliance with the country’s international
commitments;

(b) examine long-term national plans for the

development of ICT and media; and

(c) perform any other matter referred to it by the

Minister.

(3) The Advisory Committee shall consist of such number
of persons, not being less than three and not more
than seven, as the Minister may from time to time
appoint, who are, in the opinion of the Minister,
qualified by education and training, and have
significant practical experience in the field of culture,
information technology, telecommunications, media,
law, administration or business. In the appointment of
the members of the Advisory Committee, the Minister
shall attempt to provide equitable representation to
the providers and users of ICT and media services,
public interest groups and appropriate Governmental
agencies.

(4) The appointment of a member of the Advisory

Committee shall be for a period not exceeding three
years, and such member shall be eligible for re-
appointment. The Minister may at anytime revoke the
appointment of any member of the Advisory
Committee giving reason in writing for such action.

(5) The Minister may appoint any person qualified in
accordance with Sub-section (3) to act temporarily in
the place of any member of the Advisory Committee
in the case of absence or inability to act of such
member.

(6) The Minister shall appoint one of the members of the

Advisory Committee to be the Chairperson thereof
and a high ranking official of the Ministry shall ex-
officio act as a Secretary of the Advisory Committee
with the responsibility to record and maintain all the
minutes and decisions of the meetings of the Advisory
Committee.

(7) Any member of the Advisory Committee may at any

time resign his office by an instrument in writing
addressed to the Minister and from the date of the
receipt by the Minister of such instrument, such
member shall cease to be a member of the Advisory
Committee.

(8) If any vacancy occurs in the membership of the

Advisory Committee, such vacancy shall be filled by
the appointment of another member and in making
such appointment, the Minister shall have regard to
the provisions of Sub-section (3).

(9) The names of all members of the Advisory Committee

as first constituted and every change in the
membership thereof shall be published by the
Minister.

(10) The Advisory Committee shall meet at such times as

may be necessary or expedient for the conduct of its
business and such meetings shall be held at such

places and times as the Advisory Committee may
determine.

(11) The Chairperson may at any time call a special

meeting of the Advisory Committee and shall call
such meeting within fourteen days of the receipt of a
written request for that purpose addressed to him by
any two members of the Advisory Committee.

POWER TO MAKE REGULATIONS

11. (1) In consultation with appropriate Governmental

agencies, security institutions, the Authority,
representatives of business enterprises and consumers,
and providers of ICT facilities and ICT services and
media, the Minister shall make Regulations but under
only those provisions of the Act that specifically
mention this power.

(2) Every Regulation made under this Act shall become

effective after thirty days of its publication or on the
date mentioned therein.

POWER TO REMOVE DIFFICULTIES

12. If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this

Act, the Minister may, by Regulation, make such provisions,
not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as are
necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty,
provided that no such Regulation shall be made after the
expiry of a period of three years from the commencement
of this Act.

DIRECTIVES IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

13. (1) If it appears to the Minister to be requisite or expedient

to do so in the interests of the sovereignty, security, unity
and integrity of Bhutan, or the interests of friendly
relations with foreign States, he may, after consultation
with a person to whom this Section applies, give to that
person a directive requiring (according to the
circumstances of the case) to do or not to do, a
particular thing specified in the directive.

(2) The directive contemplated under Sub-section (1)

would relate to:

(a) discharge, or facilitate the discharge of, an
obligation binding on the Government by virtue of
it being a member of an international
organisation or a party to an international
agreement;

(b) attain, or facilitate the attainment of, any other

objectives the attainment of which is, in the
Minister’s opinion, requisite or expedient in view of
the Government being a member of such an
organisation or a party to such an agreement;

(c) enable the Government to become a member of

such an organisation or a party to such an
agreement; or

(d) matters relating to national security.

(3) A person to whom this Section applies shall give effect

to any directive given to him by the Minister under this

Section notwithstanding any other duty imposed on
him by or under this Act.

(4) The Minister shall lay before the Cabinet a copy of

every directive given under this Section.

(5) A person shall not disclose anything done by virtue of

this Section if the Minister has notified that its disclosure is
against the interests of the sovereignty, security, unity
and integrity of Bhutan, or the interests of friendly
relations with foreign States, or the commercial interests
of some other person.

(6) The Minister may, in consultation with the Ministry of

Finance, make compensation to the providers of public
ICT systems and media services for the purpose of
defraying or contributing towards any losses they may
sustain by reason of compliance with the directives
given under this Section.

(7) There shall be paid out of money provided by the

Ministry of Finance any sums required by the Minister for
making compensation under this Section.

(8) This Section applies to the Authority and to any person

who is a provider of an ICT system and media service.

TAKING OVER TEMPORARY CONTROL OF ICT FACILITY OR ICT
SERVICE OR MEDIA SERVICE IN PUBLIC INTEREST

14. (1) In the event of an emergency where the sovereignty,

security, and territorial integrity of Bhutan or any part
thereof is threatened by an act of external aggression
or armed rebellion, the Minister with specific consent
and on behalf of the Cabinet, may by notification, in
public interest, take over for a limited period the

control and management of any ICT facility or ICT
service or media service, suspend its operation or
entrust any agency of the Government to manage it
in the manner directed by the Minister for such period
as provided for in the notification.

(2) If it appears necessary or expedient to do so, the

Minister may, in public interest, at any time request
the Authority to direct any licensee to:

(a) transmit in its ICT and media service specific

announcements, in such a manner as may be
considered necessary;

(b) stop any ICT and media service, which is

prejudicial to the sovereignty, security, unity and
integrity of Bhutan, the interests of peace, stability
and well-being of the nation, or the interests of
friendly relations with foreign States, or to public
order, decency or morality, or communal
harmony.

(3) It shall be the duty of the licensee to ensure strict and

prompt observance of directions issued under Sub-
section (2) by the Authority.

(4) Any take-over contemplated under Sub-section (1)

shall only last for such duration as may be strictly
necessary having regard to the exigencies of the
situation. As soon as the public emergency ceases,
the Minister shall return the control and management
of the ICT facility or ICT service or media service to the
person from whom it had been taken over, as far as
possible in the same condition in which it had been
taken over.

(5) The person from whom an ICT facility or ICT service or
media service has been taken over under Sub-section
(1) shall be entitled to reasonable compensation for
any direct harm, loss or injury suffered as a result of the
take-over. The amount of such compensation
payable shall be determined by the Authority.

(6) Any dispute arising in relation to the compensation

payable under Sub-section (5) may be appealed to
the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days of the
determination by the Authority under Sub-section (5).

(7) Any owner or operator of an ICT facility or ICT service

or media service who fails unreasonably to comply
with an order under Sub-section (1) shall be deemed
to have breached a condition of his licence granted
under this Act and be subjected to the penalty
prescribed therein.

INTERCEPTION OF COMMUNICATIONS

15. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this or any

other Act, the Minister or any officer specially
authorized in this behalf by the Government, if
satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do in the
interests of the sovereignty, security, unity and integrity
of Bhutan, the interests of peace, stability and well-
being of the nation, or the interests of friendly relations
with foreign States or public order or to avoid
incitement to the commission of an offence, may
direct:

(a) any agency of the Government to intercept any

communication by any ICT facility, ICT service or
media service;

(b) any ICT facility, ICT service or media service
provider that any content brought for
communication by or communicated or
received by him shall not be communicated or
shall be intercepted or detained or shall be
disclosed to the Government or its agency
authorized in this behalf.

(2) The ICT facility, ICT service or media service provider

shall, when called upon by any Governmental
agency, which has been directed to carry out
interception under Sub-section (1), extend all facilities
and technical assistance for interception of the
content of communications.

(3) Any ICT facility, ICT service or media service provider

who fails to assist the agency referred to in Sub-
section (2) shall be guilty of an offence as per the
Penal Code.

(4) Save as otherwise provided under this Section, any

person who intercepts any communication or causes
any communication to be intercepted or discloses to
any person any content, shall be guilty of an offence
as per the Penal Code.

DIRECTIVES TO THE AUTHORITY ON BROAD POLICY MATTERS

16. (1) The Minister may, by order, issue to the Authority

directives of general application on broad ICT and
media policy matters that are considered to be
significant and special for national public interest.

(2) In framing such policy directives, the Minister shall

consult appropriate Governmental agencies and

take into account the Guiding Regulatory Principles
for the Authority specified under Section 22 below.

(3) Any directive proposed to be made under Sub-

section (1) shall be published at least sixty days before
its proposed effective date, and a reasonable
opportunity shall be given to interested persons to
make representations to the Minister with respect to
the proposed directive.

(4) The Minister shall consult the Authority with respect to

a directive proposed to be made under Sub-section
(1) before it is published.

(5) The proposed directive shall become effective only

after approval by the Cabinet.

(6) A directive made under Sub-section (1) shall not

apply in respect of a matter pending before the
Authority.

(7) In exercising its licensing and regulatory functions, the

Authority shall follow such policy directives.

(8) The Authority may request the Minister in a written

communication for a review of any policy directive,
and if any such request is made the Minister shall
respond in writing with all expeditious despatch.

REPORTS FROM THE AUTHORITY

17. The Minister may request the Authority to make, within a

reasonable time, a reasonable number of specific reports
on matters within the Authority’s jurisdiction under this
Act.

CHAPTER THREE: THE BHUTAN INFOCOMM AND MEDIA AUTHORITY

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REGULATORY AUTHORITY AND
APPOINTMENT OF THE DIRECTOR AND MEMBERS

18. (1) There shall be established a regulatory authority, to be

called the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority, for
the purpose of this Act and for the purpose of
performing the functions assigned to it under this or any
other Act.

(2) The Authority shall comprise not less than five and not

more than seven members, one of whom shall be the
Director. The members shall be appointed by the
Minister on the advice of the Royal Civil Service
Commission.

(3) The Authority shall elect a member from among the

members as the Chairman and the Director of the
Authority shall serve as the Member Secretary of the
Authority during its meetings.

(4) To be appointed as a member, the individual must be

a citizen of Bhutan, proficient, and have at least five
years experience, in the field of information and
communications technology, telecommunication,
media, law, industry, or administration. Besides, the
Minister shall satisfy himself that a nominee does not
have any such financial, other interests or is under any
legal incapacity as is likely to affect prejudicially his
functions as a member.

(5) An appointment of an individual to hold the office as a

member shall not be for a term less than three years
and not exceeding five years from the date of his
appointment, subject to Sub-section 7 of this Section

below but previous appointment to that office shall not
affect eligibility for re-appointment.

(6) A member may at any time resign from his office as a

member by notice in writing addressed to the Minister.
The resignation shall take effect from the date of
acceptance of the notice or from such other date as
may be agreed between the member in question
and the Minister.

(7) A member of the Authority shall be removed from the

office only by the Minister with the prior approval of
the Royal Civil Service Commission, if he has:

(a) been adjudged insolvent;

(b) become physically or mentally incapable of

acting as a member;

(c) been convicted of any offence that involves

moral turpitude;

(d) acquired such financial or other interest as is

likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a
member; or

(e) so abused his position as to render his

continuance in office prejudicial to the public
interest.

No member shall be removed from his office under
Subsection (7), unless he has been given a reasonable
opportunity of being heard in the matter.

(8) Where a vacancy arises whether by reason of death,

resignation or removal of a member, it shall be filled

as soon as practicable, in accordance with the
criteria and procedure for appointment as specified
in Sub-sections 2 and 4 of this Section. Any member
appointed to fill a vacancy in accordance with this
paragraph shall enjoy a term of office as under Sub-
section 5 above of this Section.

(9) Where fresh appointments are to be made as a result

of any or all of the existing members reaching the end
of their terms, the Minister shall take the necessary
steps to ensure that such appointments are made at
least three months in advance of the date on which
the existing member or members, as the case may
be, will cease to hold office. Every newly nominated
member shall assume office immediately after the
term of office of the outgoing member comes to an
end.

(10) There shall be paid to the members such

remuneration, travelling and other allowances, as the
Minister, in consultation with the Ministry of Finance,
may determine.

(11) The Director of the Authority shall be appointed by

the Minister on the advice of the Royal Civil Service
Commission. Candidates for the position of the
Director must satisfy the following criteria:

(a) He must be a citizen of Bhutan;

(b) He must be proficient, and have at least five

years of experience in the field of information
and communications technology, telecomm-
unication, media, law, industry, or administration;

(c) The Minister shall satisfy himself that the
candidate does not have any financial or other
interests or is under any legal incapacity as is
likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the
Director;

(d) A person who is in the service of Government

shall have to retire from the service or go on
secondment before joining as the Director; and

(e) Where a vacancy arises whether by reason of

death, resignation, or removal of the Director, it
shall be filled as soon as practicable, by
following the same procedure under this Section.

(12) The Director shall serve for a fixed term of five years or

until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is
earlier, but previous appointment to that office shall not
affect eligibility for re-appointment. However, he shall
not serve for more than two consecutive terms.

(13) The Director may at any time resign from his office as

the Director by notice in writing addressed to the
Minister.

(14) The Director shall be removed from the office only by

the Minister with the prior approval of the Royal Civil
Service Commission, if he has:

(a) been adjudged insolvent;

(b) become physically or mentally incapable of

acting as the Director;

(c) been convicted of any offence involving moral

turpitude;

(d) acquired such financial or other interest as is

likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the
Director; or

(e) so abused his position as to render his

continuance in office prejudicial to the public
interest.

No Director shall be removed from his office under this
Section, unless he has been given a reasonable
opportunity of being heard in the matter.

(15) The Director in consultation with the Royal Civil Service

Commission may appoint or hire or dismiss such staff
members as he thinks fit and necessary for the efficient
and professional performance of all the functions and
responsibilities of the Authority. In the appointment of
personnel of the Authority, the Director shall ensure that,
in addition to administrative support staff, the Authority
shall have a sufficient number and a good balance of
professionals appropriately qualified and experienced
in administration, economics, legal and technical fields.

(16) There shall be paid to the Director and the staff

members such remuneration, travelling and other
allowances, as the Authority, by Rules made in
consultation with the Ministry of Finance, may
determine.

(17) The activities of the Authority shall be financed from:

(a) fees and other charges payable to the Authority

under this or any other Act; and

(b) funds appropriated by the Ministry of Finance.

(18) The Government shall ensure, as far as practicable, that

the Authority is adequately financed to enable it to
exercise its functions and discharge its responsibilities as
provided for in this Act.

MEETINGS OF THE AUTHORITY

19. (1) The Authority shall meet at such times and places as

may be determined by itself from time to time with a
minimum of four times a year.

(2) In the case of a deadlock, the Chairman will have a

casting vote. In the event that the Chairman is
unable to attend any meeting of the Authority, the
meeting shall be chaired by a member nominated by
the Chairman for that particular session.

VACANCIES IN THE AUTHORITY NOT TO INVALIDATE ITS ACTS

20. No act, decision or proceeding of the Authority shall be

deemed to be invalid by reason merely of the existence of
any vacancy or any defect in the constitution of the
Authority.

GENERAL MANDATE OF THE AUTHORITY

21. (1) The development and efficient functioning of the ICT

and media industry is highly dependant upon the
ability of the Authority to effectively and efficiently
regulate this industry in a competitive ICT and media
market environment. Thus the Authority shall have all
the regulatory powers that are necessary for its
operation as a body independent of ICT and media
market players.

(2) Given the rapid development of ICT and increasing
convergence of information technology,
telecommunications and media, the Authority shall
have a comprehensive mandate in implementing
laws, Regulations and Rules pertaining to ICT and
media facilities, services as well as the contents of any
form of information, communications and media. In
particular, the regulatory functions of the Authority
shall relate to:

(a) ICT facilities;

(b) ICT services;

(c) Spectrum management and radiocomm-

unications; and

(d) Contents and media.

(3) The Director shall be the chief executive and the legal

representative of the Authority and have powers of
general superintendence and direction in the
conduct of affairs of the Authority and shall exercise
and discharge such powers and functions of the
Authority that have been assigned to the Authority
under this or any other Act.

GUIDING REGULATORY PRINCIPLES FOR THE AUTHORITY

22. The Authority, in exercising its functions and responsibilities,

shall be guided by the following regulatory principles:

(a) that ICT and media services are made universally
accessible at affordable rates to all areas of the
country, particularly in the rural and remote areas;

(b) that there is increasing access to information for
greater empowerment of citizens and to promote
economic, social and cultural development;

(c) that quality, plurality, diversity and choice of ICT and

media services are promoted;

(d) that modern and effective ICT facilities for ICT services

and media are established taking into account the
convergence of information technology, telecommu-
nications and media;

(e) that the ICT and media industry is developed in a

competitive environment and that market
dominance in a converged environment is suitably
regulated;

(f) that an open licensing policy allowing any number of

new entrants (except in specific cases constrained by
limited resources such as the spectrum) is promoted;

(g) that licensing criteria are transparent and made

known to the public;

(h) that equitable, non-discriminatory interconnection

across various ICT facilities, ICT services and media
services are promoted;

(i) that introduction of new technologies, private

investment in ICT facilities, ICT services and media
services are encouraged;

(j) that the principle of a level playing field for all

providers serving consumer interest, including existing
providers on the date of commencement of the Act,
is promoted;

(k) that no unnecessary regulatory burden is created for

the private sector; and

(l) that security, national integrity, economic and socio-

cultural interests of Bhutan are fully protected.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO ICT FACILITIES

23. Some of the functions of the Authority in this regard shall be

to:

(a) regulate, to a minimum required extent, all ICT facility

providers;

(b) create an appropriately competitive and dynamic

ICT market in Bhutan;

(c) ensure universal access;

(d) promote the development of ICT facilities in Bhutan,

inter alia, by ensuring the economic health of the ICT
facility providers; and

(e) encourage investment and foster technological

innovation in the ICT facilities sector.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO ICT SERVICES

24. Some of the functions of the Authority in this regard shall be

to:

(a) regulate, to a minimum required extent, all ICT
service providers;

(b) create competitive and dynamic ICT services market
in Bhutan;

(c) ensure universal access to all ICT services at

affordable rates;

(d) promote ICT development, inter alia, by ensuring

economic health of the ICT service providers;

(e) encourage investment and foster technological

innovation in the ICT services industry;

(f) protect the interests of the consumers, purchasers and

other users (including, in particular, those who are
disabled or are senior citizens) in respect of the rates
charged for, and the quality and variety of ICT services
provided; and

(g) investigate complaints by users and providers of ICT

services of their failure to obtain redress from providers
of public ICT services, including media services, in
respect of rates, billings and services provided
generally and to facilitate relief where necessary.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT AND
RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS

25. In order to promote optimal use of the radio frequency

spectrum, which is a limited resource, the Authority shall:

(a) plan, supervise, regulate and manage the use of the

radio frequency spectrum, including the licensing and
registration of radio frequencies and call signs to be
used by all stations operating in Bhutan or on any ship,
aircraft, vessel or other floating or airborne
contrivance or spacecraft registered in Bhutan;

(b) plan and adopt radio frequency allocation

management techniques for their utilization in
accordance with international agreements;

(c) promote improvements in the effective and efficient

use of the radio spectrum required for the provision of
ICT facilities, ICT services and media services;

(d) if required by Rules, establish national technical

standards relating to radiocommunications and
ensure compliance with them; and

(e) investigate and resolve all allegations of interference

and impose on licensees the conditions to respect the
rights of use of the assigned radio frequencies by
others.

FUNCTIONS RELATING TO CONTENTS AND MEDIA

26. (1) For the regulation of the contents of ICT services or

media, the Authority shall implement appropriate
provisions of this Act and the relevant laws,
Regulations, policies, and guidelines adopted by the
Ministry and other Governmental agencies. For this
purpose, the Authority may act on its own volition, or
on the basis of a complaint brought by any public or
private person.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the forgoing

provisions, with respect to the contents of ICT services
or media, the Authority shall:

(a) ensure that ICT and media facilities and services

are owned and controlled to a maximum
possible extent by Bhutanese citizens;

(b) impose necessary restrictions on cross-media

ownership with a view to preventing anti-
competitive practices and monopolies;

(c) ensure equitable treatment of political parties

and politicians by all ICT and media services,
particularly during election periods;

(d) develop codes of practice relating to the

conduct of journalist, standard of programmes
and advertisements and ensure that ICT services
and media services adhere to such codes;

(e) encourage, and keep under review, measures

aimed at maximizing the independence of
editors and other journalists from proprietorial
and other interference;

(f) ensure that the content of films intended for

public exhibition, whether produced within
Bhutan or outside, are not antithetical to the
social, cultural and other values of the people of
Bhutan; and

(g) protect the general public and more specifically

vulnerable sections of the population such as
children and young persons from undesirable
influences such as the effects of excessive or
gratuitous violence, obscenity, drug-taking and
gambling as they appear in films.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND POWERS OF THE AUTHORITY

27. (1) It shall be the duty of the Authority, so far as it is

practicable from time to time, to regularly review ICT

and media activities being carried out both within and
outside Bhutan.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Authority, where it is

requested by the Government to do so, to give
information and advice with respect to any matter in
respect of which any function of the Authority is
exercisable, including advice on:

(a) ICT and media policies;

(b) Bhutan’s positions and policies relating to ICT

and media matters at the international, regional
and national levels; and

(c) setting up technical standards and rules

applicable to ICT systems and terminal equipment
to ensure interoperability and efficient use of
telephone numbers.

(3) The Authority shall have the powers, for the purpose of

securing the effective performance of its functions and
responsibilities under this Act, or in connection with or in
consequence of the performance thereof, to do
anything that appears to the Authority to be requisite,
advantageous or convenient to do. The Authority shall
have the power to exercise the functions assigned to it
under this Act in the manner which is best calculated
to:

(a) maintain and promote effective competition

between persons engaged in commercial
activities connected with ICT facilities, ICT services
and media services in Bhutan and to promote
efficiency and economy on the part of such
persons;

(b) take action to prohibit, prevent and bring to an

end any abuse of market power or anti-
competitive behaviour within the ICT and media
industry;

(c) ensure that the grant of licences will not result in

eliminating or minimising competition or in one or
more service providers becoming dominant to
the detriment of other service providers or
consumers;

(d) regulate the interconnection or sharing of

facilities between or among ICT facility providers
or ICT service providers, including its financial and
technical aspects and to resolve disputes
concerning the interconnection or sharing of
facilities;

(e) ensure that licensees, permit-holders and other

users of the radio equipment or devices comply
with requirements laid down by relevant
international, regional or national organisations in
respect of equipment and technical standards
and environmental health and safety standards,
including electromagnetic radiation and
emissions;

(f) ensure compliance by providers with international

or other obligations entered into by the
Government in relation to ICT and media matters;

(g) ensure that licensees and permit-holders are able

to carry out their obligations to provide services
free of undue delay, hindrance or impediment;

(h) ensure the proper maintenance of accounting
systems by public ICT systems and media services
providers;

(i) designate appropriate licensees as universal

service providers to establish and/or approve
universal service plans and to establish and
manage a universal service fund for the
financing of such universal service plans;

(j) grant licences, certificates and permits (as the

case may be) and regulate ICT facilities, ICT
services and media services as specified in this
Act and determine and enforce licence
conditions and determine fees (including fees
for usage of spectrum) wherever required;

(k) recover the cost incurred by the Authority for the

regulatory activities undertaken with respect to
the ICT and media activities, but in imposing fees
(including licensing fees) the Authority shall
ensure that such fees are reasonable for their
stated purposes;

(l) collect all fees, including licence fees, and any

other charges levied under this Act;

(m) determine the categories of licences to be

issued under this Act and to classify types of ICT
facilities, ICT services, media services and
radiocommunication services for the purpose of
their effective regulation under this Act;

(n) plan, administer, manage and assign numbering

for ICT services;

(o) determine appropriate tariffs and rates for
licensed services, wherever considered
necessary and keeping in view the ICT and
media policy objectives and its Guiding
Regulatory Principles specified in the Act;

(p) take steps to regulate or curtail the harmful and

illegal content on the Internet and other ICT
services and media services;

(q) establish such advisory bodies as it sees fit for the

purpose of advising the Authority on any matter
pertaining to the exercise, performance and
discharge of his duties, functions and powers
under this Act;

(r) conduct administrative processes and hearings to

address and resolve technological issues, inter-
provider disputes, consumer complaints and other
matters which affect the structure and functioning
of the ICT and media industry;

(s) issue and enforce guidelines and codes of

practice governing the ICT and media industry,
and in particular, in respect of the providers
operating public ICT systems and/or providing
public ICT services and media services;

(t) view, classify and certify every film, whether

produced within Bhutan or imported from
outside the country, intended for public
exhibition within Bhutan;

(u) require the producers and/or owners of all films

intended for public exhibition within Bhutan to
furnish it with a copy of the script of the film and

with at least one copy of the film in such format
as it may think fit; and

(v) require any person who applies for a certificate

for the purposes of public exhibition of any film
to require the film to be exhibited before it or
before any person or body specified by it in this
behalf.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-sections (1) to

(3), the Authority may make a determination to
refrain, in whole or in part and conditionally or
unconditionally, till such time as it deems necessary,
from the exercise of any power or the performance of
any function in relation to an ICT facility or ICT service
or media service or class of ICT facilities or ICT services
or media services provided by a licensee, where the
Authority finds as a question of fact that to refrain
would be consistent with the ICT and media policy
objectives.

(5) Where the Authority finds as a question of fact that an

ICT facility or ICT service or media service or class of
ICT facilities or ICT services or media services provided
by a licensee is or will be subject to competition
sufficient to protect the interests of users, the Authority
shall make a determination to refrain, to the extent
that it considers appropriate, conditionally or
unconditionally, for a specified period of time, from
the exercise of any power or the performance of any
function in relation to the ICT facility or ICT service or
media service or class of ICT facilities or ICT services or
media services. However, the Authority shall not
make a determination to refrain under this Section in
relation to an ICT facility or ICT service or media
service or class of ICT facilities or ICT services or media

services if the Authority finds as a question of fact that
to refrain would be likely to impair unduly the
establishment or continuance of a competitive
market for that ICT facility or ICT service or media
service or class of ICT facilities or ICT services or media
services.

PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION AND ADVICE

28. (1) The Authority may carry out any study and publish its

findings and arrange for other publications, in such
form and in such manner as it may consider
appropriate, of such information and advice as it may
appear expedient to give to providers, consumers,
purchasers and other users of ICT facilities, ICT services,
media services or ICT apparatus in Bhutan.

(2) In arranging for the publication of any such information

or advice, the Authority shall have regard to the need
for excluding any matter which relates to the affairs of a
person, where the publication of that matter would or
might, in the opinion of the Authority, seriously and
prejudicially affect the interests of that person.

(3) Without prejudice to the exercise of its powers under

Sub-section (1), it shall be the duty of the Authority to
encourage relevant associations to prepare, and to
disseminate to their members, codes of practice for
guidance in safeguarding and promoting the interests
of consumers, purchasers and other users of ICT
facilities, ICT services, or media services in Bhutan.

(4) The Authority may at any time make and use

recordings of any programme broadcast by any
licensee for the purpose of maintaining supervision
over such programmes.

(5) The Authority may also require licensees to retain, for

a period of at least six months, a recording of every
programme broadcast by them, and to produce
such recordings when demanded for the purposes of
examination.

(6) The power to require a licensee to retain and

produce such recordings, as per Sub-section (5)
above, shall include the power to call for the scripts of
any programme broadcast by the licensee.

HEARING OF COMPLAINTS AND RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES BY THE
AUTHORITY IN CERTAIN CASES

29. (1) The Authority shall:

(a) decide any dispute or matter –

(i) between two or more ICT service or media

service providers; and

(ii) between an ICT service or media service

provider and consumers, arising out of
enforcement of any provision of this Act;

(b) hear and determine any complaint from any

person regarding contravention of the provisions
of this Act, Regulations, Rules or orders made
thereunder including contraventions relating to
any formulated codes and technical standards,
and of other terms and conditions subject to
which any licence was granted.

(2) For purposes of Sub-section (1), the Authority shall

pass such orders and issue such directions, as it deems

fit, which shall be binding on the parties to the
proceedings.

POWER TO REQUIRE INFORMATION

30. (1) The Authority may, by notice in writing:

(a) require any person to produce, at a time and

place specified in the notice, to the Authority or to
any person appointed by it for the purpose, any
documents which are specified or described in
the notice and are in that person’s custody or
under his control; or

(b) require any person carrying on any business to

furnish to the Authority such estimates, returns or
other information as may be specified or
described in the notice, and specify the time, the
manner and the form in which any such
estimates, returns or information are to be
furnished;

but no person shall be compelled for any such purpose to
produce any documents, which he could not be compelled to
produce in civil proceedings before the Court, or in complying
with any requirement for the furnishing of information, to give any
information, which he could not be compelled to give in evidence
in such proceedings.

(2) A person who:

(a) intentionally alters, suppresses or destroys any

document, which he has been required by any
such notice to produce, shall be guilty of the
offence of tampering with documents as defined
under the Penal Code; or

(b) in furnishing any estimate, return or other

information required of him under any such
notice, makes any statement which he knows to
be false in a material particular, or recklessly
makes any statement which is false in a material
particular, shall be guilty of the offence of
reporting of false information as defined under the
Penal Code.

(3) If a person makes default in complying with a notice

under Sub-section (1), the Court may, on the
application of the Authority, make such order as the
Court thinks fit for requiring the default to be made
good, and any such order may provide that all the
costs or expenses of and incidental to the application
shall be borne by the person in default or by any
officers of a company or other association who are
responsible for its default.

POWER TO ESTABLISH ADVISORY BODIES

31. (1) The Authority may establish for specified and limited

time such ad hoc advisory bodies as it thinks fit
consisting in each case of such members as it may from
time to time appoint.

(2) It shall be the duty of an advisory body established

under Sub-section (1) to advise the Authority on any
matter:

(a) in respect of which any of the Authority’s functions

is exercisable; and

(b) which is referred to it by the Authority or is a
matter on which it considers it should offer its
advice.

(3) The Director shall submit to the Authority reports on

each meeting of the advisory bodies established under
Sub-section (1) as soon as practicable.

(4) The Authority may, in consultation with the Ministry of

Finance, defray or contribute towards the expenses of
an advisory body established under this Section.

ANNUAL AND OTHER REPORTS

32. (1) The Authority shall, as soon as practicable, after the

end of each calendar year, submit to the Government,
through the Minister, a report on its activities during that
year. Every such report shall include:

(a) a general survey of developments, during the

year to which it relates, in respect of matters
falling within the scope of the Authority’s
functions; and

(b) the issues taken up by the ad hoc bodies during

that year.

(2) The Minister shall lay a copy of every report made by
the Authority under Sub-section (1) before the Cabinet
and shall arrange for every such report to be published
in such manner as he may consider appropriate.

(3) The Authority may also prepare other reports as appear

to it to be expedient and may arrange for any such
report to be published in such manner as it may
consider appropriate.

POWER TO MAKE RULES

33. (1) The Authority may, by notification, make Rules

consistent with this Act, the Regulations and directives
to carry out effectively and efficiently all its functions
and responsibilities under this Act, the Regulations and
directives.

(2) Before making Rules, the Authority shall:

(a) publish a public notice in such manner as it

considers appropriate,

(i) stating that it proposes to make Rules

mentioning the specific provisions of the
Act, the Regulations and/or directives;

(ii) setting out the general effect of the

proposed Rules;

(iii) specifying an address, including an

electronic address, from which copies of
the proposed Rules may be obtained; and

(iv) specifying a time (not being less than thirty

days from the date of publication of the
notice) within which representations with
respect to the proposed Rules may be
made to the Authority;

(b) send a copy of a notice to the Minister; and

(c) consider any representations which are made to

the Authority within that time.

(3) The Authority shall send a copy of any Rules adopted
under any provision of this Act to the Minister, and if,
within a period of thirty days from the receipt of such
Rules, the Minister directs the Authority not to make
the Rules, the Authority shall comply with the
direction. If no such direction is received by the
Authority, the adopted Rules shall be deemed to
have become effective at the end of the said period
of thirty days.

(4) The Minister shall not give a direction under Sub-

section (3) above unless it appears to him:

(a) to be requisite or expedient to do so in the

interests of the sovereignty, security, unity and
integrity of Bhutan, or the interests of peace,
stability and well-being of the nation, or the
interests of friendly relations with foreign States;
or

(b) the proposed Rules to be contrary to the

provisions of this Act or any Act.

POWER TO ISSUE DIRECTION, GUIDELINE OR CODE OF PRACTICE

34. (1) In order to carry out effectively and efficiently its

functions and responsibilities under this Act, the
Authority may by notification issue any guideline or
code of practice consistent with this Act.

(2) The Authority may issue and from time to time review

codes of practice relating to the standard of
programmes and advertisements broadcast by ICT
services and media licensees. Without prejudice to
the generality of foregoing provision, any such code
shall provide guidance in relation to:

(a) the showing of violence, or the inclusion of

sounds or images suggestive of violence, drug-
taking, sex, or cruelty, in programmes broadcast
by licensees, particularly when those
programmes are expected to be listened to or
watched by large numbers of children;

(b) the avoidance of discrimination in any manner

or on any ground in all broadcast programmes,
including programmes consisting of news and
current affairs; and

(c) the content and duration of advertisements that

may be broadcast on commercial broadcasting
services, including a stipulation as to whether
advertisements which are directed towards any
political end, or is inserted by or on behalf of any
body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a
political nature, may be allowed.

(3) The Authority may, for reasons to be recorded in

writing, exempt any licensee from any provision in a
code of practice established under Sub-section (2) for
such time as may be specified.

(4) Any direction, guideline or code of practice issued

under this Section, shall be adopted and published in
such manner, as the Authority considers appropriate for
bringing the contents thereof to the attention of
persons likely to be affected by them.

INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUTHORITY

35. The “independence of the Authority” implies that:

(a) In the exercise of his powers and performance of
his functions, each member of the Authority shall
faithfully serve to achieve the objectives of this Act
and not as a representative of the Government or
of any other public or private person.

(b) Each member of the Authority shall respect the

exclusively neutral, semi-judicial and independent
character of the Authority.

(c) No member of the Authority shall request or

receive instructions relating to the exercise of his
powers and performance of his functions from any
Government official or public or private person.

(d) Except as expressly entitled otherwise under this

Act or the Regulations or the directives, the
Minister, the Ministry, the Cabinet, the Royal Civil
Service Commission, any individual representing
the Government or any public or private person
shall refrain from intervening in, and from
attempting to influence, directly or indirectly, any
process or decision, of the Authority.

CHAPTER FOUR: PROVISION OF ICT FACILITIES AND ICT SERVICES

REQUIREMENT OF LICENCE FOR PROVISION OF CERTAIN

FACILITIES AND SERVICES

36. (1) The Authority shall specify in Rules the ICT facilities and

ICT services that are required to be licensed.

(2) Subject to the provisions of Sub-sections (3) and (4), a
person shall:

(a) own or operate any ICT facility, or

(b) own or provide any ICT service,

only with and under a valid licence in respect of such
facility or service procured in accordance with the
provisions of this Act.

(3) Sub-section (2) does not apply to a private ICT facility

set up within a single set of private premises without any
link or effect on public ICT system.

(4) For the purpose of removal of any doubt, it is clarified

that licences for all media services, including
broadcasting services shall be in the form of licences for
ICT services.

(5) In order to achieve efficiency and economy in the

performance of its functions and responsibilities, the
Authority may, by Rules, make provision for the
issuance of one consolidated licence where several
licences or other authorisations might be required to
be procured by one person under various provisions
of this Act:

Provided that all the applicable provisions and
requirements under this Act and the Regulations are
complied with and the inconsistencies, if there are
any, are resolved in the light of the Guiding
Regulatory Principles for the Authority as specified
under Section 22 above and keeping in mind the
interests of the applicant to be under minimum
regulatory burden;

Provided further that two broad categories of
licences (i.e., facilities and services) are maintained
pursuant to Section 40 below.

(6) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act, the

Authority may, by Rules, exempt any class of providers
of ICT facilities, ICT services and media services from
the licensing requirement under this Act, subject to
any conditions contained in the Rules, where the
Authority, after holding a public hearing in relation to
the exemption, is satisfied that the exemption is
consistent with the provisions of this Act, the
Regulations, the directives and the Guiding
Regulatory Principles for the Authority as specified
under Section 22 above.

OFFENCE FOR PROVISION OF CERTAIN FACILITIES AND SERVICES
WITHOUT A LICENCE

37. (1) A person who owns or operates any ICT facility or

owns or provides any ICT service without a valid
licence as required under Sub-section 36(2) above
and a licensee who knowingly breaches any
condition of his licence shall be guilty of an offence as
defined under the Penal Code.

(2) In any proceedings for an offence under this Section it

could, subject to Sub-section (3), be a defence for the
person charged to prove that he took all reasonable
steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid
committing the offence.

(3) Where the defence provided by Sub-section (2)

involves an allegation that the commission of the
offence was due to the act or default of another
person, the person charged shall not, without leave of
a Court of competent jurisdiction, be entitled to rely on
that defence unless, within a period ending seven days
before the hearing, he has served on the prosecutor a

notice in writing giving such information identifying or
assisting in the identification of that other person as was
then in his possession.

(4) No proceedings shall be instituted in respect of an

offence under this Section except by or on behalf of
the Authority.

(5) Where a licensee has been convicted of an offence

under Sub-section (1) the Authority may suspend this
licence for such period as it considers appropriate or it
may revoke the licence.

AUTHORITY MAY GRANT LICENCES

38. (1) Having regard to the necessity of serving the public

interest, ensuring competition and prevention of
monopolies in the provision of ICT facilities and ICT
services, the Authority may grant licences in
accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(2) A licence granted under this Section may be granted

to all persons, or to a particular person or either singly or
jointly, for one or more categories as may be
prescribed in the Rules.

(3) No licence shall be granted under this Act, if it

conflicts with the provisions of this Act, the
Regulations, the directives and the Guiding
Regulatory Principles for the Authority as specified
under Section 22 above, particularly in relation to
ensuring fair access and promotion of competition.

(4) A licence granted under this Act may include:

(a) list of operations which the licensee may
undertake pursuant to that licence;

(b) such conditions as appear to the Authority to be

requisite or expedient having regard to the
Guiding Regulatory Principles for the Authority as
specified under Section 22 above;

(c) conditions requiring the rendering to the Authority

of a payment on the grant of the licence or
payments during the currency of the licence or
both of such amount or amounts as may be
determined by or under the licence;

(d) conditions requiring any licensee to comply with

any Rules as the Authority may make from time to
time under this Act;

(e) conditions to which the licensee is subject,

including but not limited to pricing, service
technical standards, universal service provision,
infrastructure sharing, interconnection and
frequency spectrum utilisation, programming;
and

(f) conditions requiring any licensee to furnish to the

Authority, in such manner and at such times as it
may reasonably require, such documents,
accounts, estimates, returns or other information it
may require for the purpose of exercising its
functions under this Act.

(5) The Authority may notify, by Rules, from time to time

one or more schemes or plans for licensing containing
such details as:

(a) eligibility conditions, including ownership, for
issue of licences;

(b) scope of licences, facilities and services to be

provided;

(c) cross-media restrictions having regard to

accumulation of interest;

(d) restrictions or otherwise on the number of

licences or extent of accumulation of interest in
such licences by a person;

(e) renewal, revocation or suspension of licences;

(f) the conditions subject to which a licence may

be transferred; and

(g) such other conditions as may be considered

necessary from time to time.

(6) A licence granted under this Section shall be published
in such manner as the Authority considers appropriate
for bringing it to the attention of the persons for whose
benefit it will ensure and to the general public.

(7) A copy of every licence granted under this Act shall be

sent to the Minister.

PROCEDURE FOR THE GRANT AND RENEWAL OF A LICENCE

39. (1) Except where provided otherwise in this Act, a person

who wishes to apply for a licence or the renewal of a
licence under this Act shall, in accordance with a
procedure determined in the Rules by the Authority
submit an application to the Authority for consi-

deration by the Authority, and the application shall
be in the prescribed form and accompanied by such
fees as may be determined by the Authority in the
Rules.

(2) The Authority shall where necessary, before granting a

licence under this Section, amongst others, take into
account the following matters:

(a) whether the applicant possesses the technical

qualification necessary to fully perform the
obligations attached to the licence for which
the applicant is applying;

(b) whether the applicant is a fit and proper person

to be granted a licence;

(c) whether the Guiding Regulatory Principles for the

Authority as specified under Section 22 above
be effectively implemented;

(d) whether the interests of subscribers, purchasers,

and other users of ICT facilities or ICT services will
be protected;

(e) whether competition among providers of ICT

facilities and ICT services will be promoted;

(f) whether research, development and intro-

duction of new ICT facilities and ICT services will
be promoted;

(g) whether foreign and domestic investors will be

encouraged to invest in the ICT and media
industry; and

(h) whether the public interest and the security
interest of Bhutan will be safely guarded.

(3) In determining, for the purposes of this Section,

whether a person is a fit and proper person, regard
shall be had to all relevant circumstances, including
that person’s:

(a) honesty, integrity and reputation;

(b) competence and capability; and

(c) financial soundness.

(4) The Authority shall provide reasonable opportunity to

any interested person to present his views to the
Authority on the application under Sub-section (1)
and shall take into consideration such views in making
the final determination for the purposes of this Section.

DURATION OF LICENCE

40. A licence granted under this Act shall be for the period

specified in the licence or generally specified in the Rules.

However, a licence:

(a) for an ICT facility shall be granted for a period

not longer than twenty-five years;

(b) for an ICT service, including media service, shall

be granted for a period not longer than fifteen
years;

(c) may be renewed in accordance with the

provisions of this Act; and

(d) may be suspended or revoked in accordance
with the provisions of this Act.

LICENCE FEES

41. (1) A licence granted under this Act shall be subject to

the prescribed licence fees which shall be
determined and specified in the Rules made by the
Authority.

(2) The licence fees referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be

payable directly by the applicant to the Authority
prior to actual grant of the requested licence.

RENEWAL OF LICENCE

42. (1) Where an application for renewal of a licence under

Section 39 above is made, the Authority may refuse to
renew that licence if the licensee is or has engaged in
conduct that materially contravenes or contravened
this Act, any Regulations, any directives or any Rules
made under this Act or any condition of his original
licence.

(2) Where the Authority has reasonable grounds for not

renewing a licence under Sub-section (1), it shall
inform the licensee by written notice as soon as
practicable of its intention not to renew the licence.

(3) A licensee referred to under Sub-section (2) shall be

given thirty days to make written representations to
the Authority in respect of the refusal.

(4) The Authority shall consider any written represent-

tations made under Sub-section (3) and shall inform

the licensee within fifteen days of the receipt of the
submission, of its decision on the matter.

(5) The licensee, if aggrieved by the decision under Sub-

section (3), may appeal against such decision of the
Authority to the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days of
the receipt of the information under Sub-section (4).

MODIFICATION OF LICENCE

43. (1) A licence granted under this Act may be modified in

part or whole, including any terms and/or conditions
therein, where the Authority and the licensee, by
agreement in writing, agree to modify the licence.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-section (1) and

subject to any special conditions concerning
modification in the relevant licence, the Authority
may, on the recommendation of the Minister and
without the agreement of the licensee modify a
licence for reasons of security of Bhutan.

(3) Where the Authority, on the recommendation of the

Minister, considers that a licence should be modified
for reasons of security of Bhutan, the Authority shall
give to the licensee a written notice that:

(a) sets out the proposed modification;

(b) states the reasons for the proposed amendment;

and

(c) invites the licensee to show within thirty days why

the licence should not be so modified.

(4) The Authority may modify the licence if, after
considering and having regard to all representations
made within thirty days, the Authority considers the
licence should be modified in:

(a) the manner set out in the notice; or

(b) some other manner consistent with the

representations.

(5) The licensee, if aggrieved by the decision under Sub-
section (4), may appeal against such decision of the
Authority to the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days of
the receipt of the information under Sub-section (4).

TRANSFER OF LICENCE

44. (1) A person shall be permitted to transfer a licence

granted under this Act, or any rights thereunder
where prior written approval of the Authority has been
obtained, and the transfer shall be deemed to be a
licence issued by the Authority under this Act.

(2) The Authority may approve an application for the

transfer of a licence under Sub-section (1) where the
Authority is satisfied that the proposed transferee
meets all the requirements of this Act, including those
that are specified under Sub-section 39(2) above and
will be able to undertake the obligations imposed by
this Act or by the licence.

(3) The Authority shall, before approving the transfer of a

licence, publish by notice the particulars of the
proposed transfer.

(4) Any purported transfer which does not comply with
this Section shall be invalid and of no legal effect
whatsoever. In the event of any such transfer taking
place, whether de jure or de facto, the Authority shall
have the power, as soon as it comes to the notice of
the Authority, to forthwith revoke the licence.

(5) Any person who is involved in effecting any purported

transfer of a licence other than in accordance with
the terms of this Section shall be guilty of the offence
of forgery.

(6) The Authority may, at any time, carry out such

enquiries and/or investigations as it may deem
necessary where it suspects that there has been a
transfer, whether de jure or de facto, of a licence
contrary to the provisions of this Section. In exercising
this power, the Authority may require any person to
answer all questions related to the enquiry or
investigation put to him by the Authority, and it may
also enter upon and search premises where it
reasonably believes that evidence relating to any
transfer may be present.

OBLIGATIONS OF LICENSEES

45. (1) The Authority may, from time to time, determine by

Rules such obligations, conditions, restrictions, tariffs,
and rates subject to which the licensee shall provide
his facilities or services, as the case may be.

(2) Without prejudice to the foregoing provision, every ICT

facility provider and ICT service provider shall
wherever required or applicable:

(a) commence operation of his service within such
period as may be specified by the Authority;

(b) maintain such documentary records as may be

specified by the Rules;

(c) allow inspection of such facilities and such

documentary records as may be specified by
the Authority or by any person authorised by the
Authority;

(d) provide such services to give effect to Universal

Service Obligations as may be prescribed;

(e) provide such life saving services as may be

prescribed;

(f) provide service to any person willing to pay on

demand (within a reasonable period of time)
and on a non-discriminatory basis;

(g) follow the codes and standards laid down and

specified by the Authority;

(h) display his licence at a conspicuous place on his

principal premises;

(i) not show undue preference to, or exercise

undue discrimination in any manner or on any
ground, against any person or group of persons,
as respects any service provided, connection
made or permission given in pursuance of such
conditions as are mentioned in the foregoing
paragraphs (whether in respect of the charges
or other terms or conditions applied or
otherwise); and

(j) publish, in such manner and at such times and

such circumstances as are specified in the
licence, a notice specifying the method that is to
be adopted for determining, the charges and
other terms and conditions that are to be
applicable to such services so provided.

(3) No provider of ICT facility or ICT service, shall, without

the prior approval of the Authority, give effect to any
agreement or arrangement, whether oral or written,
with another provider of ICT facility or ICT service
respecting the:

(a) interchange of their respective ICT facilities and

ICT services;

(b) management or operation of either or both of

their ICT facilities or ICT services or any other ICT
facilities or ICT services with which either or both
are connected; and

(c) apportionment of rates or revenues between the

providers.

(4) No provider of ICT facility or ICT service shall claim any
limitation of its liability for any offence under this Act,
unless such limitation has been a priori authorized or
prescribed by the Authority.

(5) The Authority may call for any information from the

licensee including information necessary for ensuring
transparency or for ascertaining the true ownership of
the licence or licensee.

(6) The Authority or any officer authorised by the
Authority shall have power to inspect and obtain
information, wherever necessary, from all licensees.

(7) It shall be the duty of every licensee to follow the

relevant provisions of this Act, the Regulations,
directives and the Rules and to carry out appropriate
decisions, orders and directions of the Authority.

QUALITY OF SERVICE

46. (1) ICT facility providers and ICT service providers shall

make reasonable endeavours to ensure that their ICT
facilities and ICT services are:

(a) reliable;

(b) provided with due care and professional skills;

and

(c) rendered in accordance with the standards

reasonably expected of a competent provider
of those ICT facilities and ICT services.

(2) A complaint may be made to the Authority by any

person who is dissatisfied with the facilities or services
provided to him by an ICT facility provider or ICT
service provider or who claims to be adversely
affected by the actions of an ICT facility provider or
ICT service provider.

(3) The Authority, may prescribe quality standards for the

provision of ICT facilities and ICT services in relation to
all ICT facility providers and ICT service providers.

(4) The Authority shall make Rules establishing procedures
relating to the refusal, disconnection or interruption of
ICT facilities or ICT services and the administration and
resolution of subscriber complaints, without limitation,
including requirements for and the determinations
relating to the payments of the costs of proceedings,
procedures for the resolution of subscriber complaints,
the payment of compensation to subscriber and the
upper limits of the licensee’s liability, which shall be
binding upon licensees.

(5) For removal of any doubt, it is clarified that the

provisions of this Section apply to media services,
including broadcasting services.

NON-DISCRIMINATION AND CONTINUITY OF SUPPLY

47. (1) By giving reasons in writing, the providers of an ICT

facility or ICT service may, subject to the Rules and
procedures established under Sub-section 46(4)
above:

(a) refuse to provide an ICT facility or an ICT service

to any person; or

(b) discontinue or interrupt the provision of such an

ICT service or ICT facility to a subscriber;

only on grounds which are reasonable and non-
discriminatory.

(2) A complaint may be made, within thirty days of the

decision under Sub-section (1), to the Authority by the
person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the ICT
facility provider or ICT service provider.

ENFORCEMENT OF LICENCES AND LICENCE CONDITIONS

48. (1) Subject to Section 49 below, where it appears to the

Authority that:

(a) a licensee is contravening or has contravened

any of the conditions or other terms of his licence;
and

(b) it is requisite that an order be made;

the Authority shall by an order make such provision,

including the payment of a fine or fines, as appears to it
requisite for the purpose of securing compliance with
that condition or term.

(2) An order under Sub-section (1):

(a) shall require the licensee (according to the

circumstances of the case) to do, or not to do,
such things as are specified in the order or are of
a description so specified;

(b) may require the licensee (according to the

circumstances of the case) to pay such fine or
fines, as are specified in the order until such time
as the licensee has fully remedied the breach of
licence giving rise to the order;

(c) shall take effect at such time, being the earliest

practicable time, as is determined by or under the
order; and

(d) may be withdrawn or suspended at any time by

the Authority.

(3) In this Section and Sections 49 and 50 below,
“contravention”, in relation to any condition or term of
a licence, includes any failure to comply with that
condition or term and “contravene” shall be construed
accordingly.

PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS

49. (1) Before making an order under Section 48 above, the

Authority shall give notice:

(a) stating that it proposes to make the order and
setting out its effect;

(b) stating the relevant condition or term of the

licence and the acts or omissions which, in its
opinion, constitute or would constitute contra-
vention; and

(c) specifying the time (not being less than thirty days

from the date of publication of the notice) within
which representations to the proposed order may
be made, and shall consider any representations
which are duly made and not withdrawn.

(2) After considering the representation, the Authority may:

(a) pass/confirm an order under Section 48 above; or

(b) propose modifications to the order contemplated

to be passed under Section 48 above.

(3) Before passing an order with modifications, the
Authority shall allow representations to be submitted by
the licensee and shall consider them. Upon considering

the representations, the Authority shall pass an
appropriate order.

(4) At any stage between the issuance of the notice under

Sub-section (1) and passing of the appropriate order
under Sub-section (3) the licensee may express his
consent to such order proposed to be passed by the
Authority. The consent will amount to licensee’s express
waiver of a right of representation before the Authority
and/or a right of appeal before the Appellate Tribunal
or a Court and entitles the Authority to pass an order
accordingly.

(5) As soon as practicable after an order is made, the

Authority shall:

(a) serve a copy of the order on the licensee; and

(b) publish the order in such manner as it considers

appropriate for the purpose of bringing the order
to the attention of persons likely to be affected by
it.

(6) The licensee, if aggrieved by an order passed by the

Authority under Sub-section 2(a) or an appropriate
order passed under Sub-section (3) shall have the right
to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days of
the receipt of the order.

(7) Before revoking an order, the Authority shall give

notice:

(a) stating that it proposes to revoke the order and

setting out its effect; and

(b) specifying the time (not being less than thirty
days) from the date of publication of the notice
within which representations or objections to the
proposed revocation may be made.

(8) Any notice under Sub-sections (1) or (7) shall be given

by sending a copy of the notice to the licensee and by
publication in such manner as the Authority considers
appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters to
which the notice relates to the attention of persons
likely to be affected by it.

VALIDITY AND EFFECT OF ORDERS

50. (1) If the licensee is aggrieved by an order and desires to

question its validity on the ground that the making of it
was not within the powers of Section 48 or 49 above or
that any of the requirements of Section 49 above have
not been complied with in relation to it, he may within
thirty days from the date of service on him of a copy of
the order make an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal.

(2) On any such appeal, the Appellate Tribunal may, if

satisfied that the making of the order was not within the
powers of Section 48 or 49 above or that the interests of
the licensee have been substantially prejudiced by a
failure to comply with the requirements of Section 49
above, quash the order or any provision of the order.

(3) It shall be the obligation of a licensee to be bound by

and comply with the order till such time it remains in
force.

SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF LICENCE

51. (1) The Authority may suspend or revoke a licence

granted under this Act where the:

(a) licensee contravenes the Act, the Regulations or

Rules;

(b) licensee is in breach, or is about to breach, or

has breached, any of the conditions of his
licence;

(c) licensee is in default of payment of any licence

fee prescribed;

(d) suspension or revocation is necessary in the

interest of national security or in the public
interest;

(e) financial circumstances of the licensee have

deteriorated, or is likely to deteriorate, to such
an extent that he may not be able to fulfil his
obligations under the licence, or that his ICT
facility or ICT service would not be financially
viable any longer; or

(f) licensee, or any of his associates, by continuing

to operate their ICT facility or service, posed a
threat, or is likely to pose an imminent threat, to
the public interest and/or security or integrity of
Bhutan:

Provided, however, that where it is, in the opinion of

the Authority, necessary to take urgent action and it is
not practicable to give the notice referred to above,
the Authority may dispense with this requirement and

the requirement to provide the licensee with a
reasonable opportunity to make representations
before the licence is suspended or revoked.

(2) Where the Authority has reasonable grounds for

believing that a licence granted under this Act ought
to be suspended or revoked, the Authority shall,
before suspending or revoking the licence, give the
licensee a fourteen days notice in writing of its
intention to do so, specifying the date and the
grounds on which it proposes to suspend or revoke
the licence, and shall give the licensee an
opportunity to:

(a) remedy the breach of the licence or a term or

condition of the licence;

(b) submit to the Authority, within thirty days of the

receipt of the notice, or such longer time as the
Authority may specify a written statement of
objections to the suspension or revocation of the
licence which the Authority shall take into
account before reaching a decision.

(3) The suspension or revocation of a licence referred to

in Sub-section (2) shall take effect on the date
specified by the Authority in the notice referred to in
that Sub-section or such other date as the Authority
specifies.

(4) Any person aggrieved by an order of suspension or

revocation of a licence under this Section may prefer
an appeal within thirty days of the receipt of the order
to the Appellate Tribunal.

OWNERSHIP OF ICT AND MEDIA ENTERPRISES

52. (1) Every ICT and media enterprise in Bhutan shall be

required to disclose to the Authority the names and
addresses of the persons holding ownership shares
therein. This information shall be furnished in such
form and at such time as may be prescribed in Rules
made by the Authority for this purpose.

(2) All the shareholders, proprietors and directors of ICT

and media enterprises in Bhutan shall be citizens of
Bhutan, except where the Minister dispenses with this
requirement by specifying in the Regulations.

(3) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that

the requirements prescribed in this Section are in
addition to any requirements laid down in the
Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2000
relating to shareholders, proprietors and directors of
companies.

(4) Any person who acts in contravention of the

provisions of this Section shall be guilty of an offence,
as defined under the Penal Code. In addition to the
penalties prescribed by the Penal Code for this
offence, a Court may impose an additional fine of up
to one thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

PREVENTION OF MONOPOLISTIC AND OTHER SIMILAR PRACTICES

53. (1) The Minister, after consultation with the Ministry of

Trade and Industry, may by Regulations impose such
limits on the ownership and control by one person as
well as on cross-media ownership and control of ICT
and media companies, as he may deem appropriate

from time to time, in order to prevent monopolies or
other similar practices in the ICT and media industry.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of Sub-section (1),
no person who owns or controls over twenty-five per
cent of the total paid up capital of any other person
engaged in the ICT and media business in Bhutan
shall be entitled to apply for an appropriate licence
under applicable provisions of this Act. However, if
the Minister, after consultation with the Ministry of
Trade and Industry, is of the opinion that it is necessary
for the expansion of the ICT and media industry, he
may by Regulation increase the above-mentioned
limit.

DONATION FUNDS FROM FOREIGN SOURCES

54. (1) No person shall receive on behalf of, or for the

purposes of, ICT and media enterprise any donation
funds or any benefits in kind from a foreign source
without the prior approval of the Minister.

(2) For the purposes of this Section:

“donation funds” shall include money, securities,
movable or immovable property or any other
valuable consideration whatsoever.

“donation funds” or “benefits in kind” does not include:

(a) benefits by way of hospitality received by an

ICT and media enterprise or its directors or
employees from any foreign party, as long as
the value of such hospitality does not
exceed such reasonable amount as may be
specified in Regulations made in this behalf
by the Minister;

(b) moneys received by a broadcasting or

newspaper enterprise by way of royalties or
syndication fees for news, articles or features
supplied by it to a foreign party, or by way of
advertising revenue in respect of
advertisements commissioned by a foreign
party, in the normal course of business;

“foreign source” includes the following:

(c) the Government of any country other than

Bhutan or the agent of any such Govern-
ment, whether resident in Bhutan or
otherwise;

(d) any company, association or society

incorporated or constituted outside Bhutan
whether or not it has a branch office or
place of business in Bhutan;

(e) any person who is not a citizen of Bhutan

whether or not he is resident in Bhutan; or

(f) such other sources outside Bhutan declared

in Regulations by the Minister to be a foreign
source for the purposes of this Section.

(3) The Minister may grant the approval referred to in

Sub-section (1) if he is satisfied that the donation funds
from a foreign source are strictly intended for the
explicit and direct professional and commercial
development of the ICT and media enterprise.

(4) Where any donation funds from a foreign source are

sent to an ICT and media enterprise or to any of its

directors or employees without its or their prior
knowledge, consent or solicitation, and the donation
funds are intended for or given by the sender for the
purposes of the ICT and media enterprise, that person
receiving the funds shall, within seven days of the
receipt thereof, report the circumstances and
particulars of the donation funds received and the
purposes for which the donation funds have been
received, to the Minister for its approval.

(5) Where donation funds from a foreign source have

been received in circumstances described in Sub-
section (4), the Minister may make orders in relation to
the donation funds. Such orders may include an order
to expeditiously return them to the sender thereof or, if
the sender cannot be traced, an order to donate the
funds to any charity approved by the Government.

(6) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with

this Section shall be guilty of an offence, which shall
be a felony of the third degree. In addition to the
penalties prescribed by the Penal Code for this
offence, a Court may impose any other penalty that it
may deem appropriate, including the forfeiture to the
Government of any funds, which are the subject of
the charge.

FOREIGN PARTICIPATION IN THE ICT AND MEDIA INDUSTRY

55. (1) No foreign Government or its agent or company shall

be entitled to apply for and procure a licence under
the provisions of this Act.

(2) The Minister, after consultation with the Ministry of

Trade and Industry, may, however, adopt Regulations
having regard to all the circumstances, including

Bhutan’s national interest, in order to entitle the
Authority to issue permits to allow participation by
foreign companies in the ICT and media industry
under such terms and conditions as he may impose
from time to time.

(3) Any foreign company, which wishes to participate in

the ICT and media industry in Bhutan under the terms
of Sub-section (2), shall apply to the Authority for a
permit for this purpose. The form and manner of
applications shall be prescribed in Rules made by the
Authority in this behalf, which shall also prescribe the
fees, if any, that may be payable for such permits.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Section, a

domestic company operating within Bhutan under a
licence issued under this Act may enter into
commercial contracts with foreign companies for the
sale or purchase of equipment, consumables,
hardware or programming or other software, subject
to any other law which may govern such contracts
and subject to any other requirements or limits
prescribed by the law or by Regulations made by the
Minister.

(5) Any person who acts in breach of the provision of this

Section shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be a
felony of the fourth degree.

PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE BY SPECIFIED CATEGORIES OF
LICENSEES

56. (1) The Authority may include a condition in the licence

of a licensee that provides an ICT facility or ICT
service, requiring such licensee to provide one or
more categories of universal service specified under
Section 59 below, provided that such requirement
shall be transparent and non-discriminatory as
between licensees that provide such a specified
service or facility, and is not more burdensome than is
necessary for the category of universal service
required to be offered.

(2) A licensee who is required by its licence to provide

one or more categories of universal service to any
person shall do so on such terms, including as to price
and the quality of service, as may be specified in the
licence.

UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND

57. (1) There shall be established a fund known as the

Universal Service Fund, which shall be managed by
the Authority in accordance with Rules made by the
Authority.

(2) The Authority may cause the Universal Service Fund to

be sub-divided into one or more sub-funds for the
purpose of administering or funding one or more
categories of universal service.

PURPOSE OF THE FUND

58. (1) The Universal Service Fund shall be solely used by the

Authority to compensate any ICT facility provider or

ICT service provider who is required to provide
universal service by virtue of Section 56 above.

(2) The amount of compensation payable by virtue of

Sub-section (1) shall be computed on cost-oriented
rates in accordance with the Rules made by the
Authority, and the conditions attached to the licence
of the ICT facility or ICT service provider and such
compensation shall be paid to the relevant ICT facility
provider or ICT service provider by the Authority.

UNIVERSAL SERVICE CATEGORIES

59. (1) The Authority may, by Rules specify:

(a) categories of universal service that are required;

and

(b) categories of ICT facility providers and ICT

service providers that may be required to
provide one or more of such required universal
services.

(2) For the purposes of Sub-section (1), the categories

may include:

(a) public voice telephony services together with
free calls to emergency services and directory
assistance;

(b) Internet access together with free Internet

access for schools and hospitals; and

(c) such other ICT facility or ICT service as the

Authority may specify in licences.

PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE BY PARTICULAR LICENSEE

60. (1) The Authority may include a condition in the licence

of any licensee that provides a specified ICT facility or
ICT service, requiring such licensee to provide one or
more categories of universal service.

(2) A licensee so required by its licence to provide one or

more categories of universal service to any person
shall be entitled to compensation as specified in
Section 58 above.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FUND

61. (1) The Authority shall include a condition in the licence

of each licensee that provides a specified ICT facility
or ICT service, that each such licensee shall contribute
to the Universal Service Fund or any one or more sub-
funds of the Universal Service Fund.

(2) The Authority may, by Rule, prescribe the time,

frequency and also the quantum or method for
calculating the quantum of monies to be paid into
the Universal Service Fund or any one or more sub-
funds of the Universal Service Fund by each licensee
providing a specified service or facility.

INTERCONNECTION

62. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Section, a licensee

that operates an ICT facility or ICT service shall not
refuse, obstruct, or in any way impede another
licensee in the making of any interconnection with its
ICT facility or ICT service, as the case may be, and
shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Section,

ensure that the interconnection provided is made at
technically feasible physical points.

(2) A licensee who wishes to make any interconnection

shall make his request for interconnection in
accordance with the provisions of this Section.

(3) A request by a licensee to make any interconnection

with another licensee shall be in writing.

(4) A licensee to whom a request is made in accordance

with the provisions of this Section shall, in writing,
respond to the request within a period of thirty days
from the date the request is made to him and, subject
to Sub-section (5), provide the interconnection service
in a reasonable time.

(5) A request by a licensee to make any interconnection

with another licensee shall be refused only on
reasonable grounds, which grounds shall be in writing.

(6) Any interconnection provided by a licensee pursuant

to the provisions of this Section shall be provided at
reasonable rates, terms, and conditions, which are
not less favourable than those, provided to any:

(a) other part of the licensee’s own business;

(b) non-affiliated supplier; or

(c) subsidiary or affiliate of the licensee.

(7) Without prejudice to the generality of Sub-section (6),

the Authority shall prescribe the cost and pricing,
technical standards and other guidelines on which

the reasonableness of the rates, terms, and conditions
of the interconnections will be determined.

INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENTS

63. (1) Interconnection agreements between licensees shall

be in writing, and copies of each agreement shall be
submitted to the Authority within ten days of that
agreement having been finalised and signed.

(2) Copies of interconnection agreements between

licensees shall be kept in the register maintained by
the Authority.

(3) The register referred to in Sub-section (2) shall be open

to public inspection during normal working hours.

(4) The Authority shall adopt Rules, containing criteria

and procedures to be followed by the licensees when
negotiating interconnection agreements.

(5) Where parties cannot agree upon interconnection

conditions and rates, the Authority may impose
binding interconnection conditions and rates.

PRE-CONTRACT DISPUTES

64. (1) Where, during negotiations for the provision of

interconnection there is any dispute between the
parties (hereinafter in this Section referred to as the
“pre-contract dispute”) as to the terms and conditions
of such provision, either of them may refer the dispute
to the Authority for resolution.

(2) The Authority may make Rules applicable to the
resolution of pre-contract disputes by means of
arbitration or other dispute resolution mechanisms.

(3) A decision of the Authority in relation to any pre-
contract dispute shall be consistent with:

(a) any agreement reached between the parties as

to matters that are not in dispute; and

(b) the terms and conditions set out in a Reference

Interconnection Offer or any part thereof that is
in effect with respect to the interconnection
provider.

COST OF INTERCONNECTION

65. (1) The cost of making any interconnection to the ICT

facility or ICT service, as the case may be, of another
licensee shall be borne by the licensee requesting the
interconnection.

(2) The cost referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be based

on cost-oriented rates that are reasonable and
arrived at in a transparent manner having regard to
economic feasibility, and shall be sufficiently
unbundled so that the supplier of the interconnection
facility or service does not have to pay for facility or
service components that are not required for the
interconnection facility or service to be provided.

INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING

66. The provisions of Sections 62 to 65 above inclusive shall,

with necessary amendment, apply to such infrastructure
sharing as the Authority may prescribe in the Rules.

NUMBERING

67. (1) The Authority shall establish and manage a national

plan for the allocation of numbers among licensees in
accordance with the Rules made in that respect.

(2) The Authority shall, in managing the national plan for

the allocation of numbers among licensees, pay due
regard to the existing allocation of numbers.

(3) Subject to this Act, the Authority may make Rules

imposing on any licensee, the responsibility to offer
number portability if the Authority is satisfied on
reasonable grounds that the:

(a) benefits likely to arise from the requirement to

provide a particular form of number portability
outweigh the likely cost of implementing it; and

(b) requirement will not impose an unfair burden on

any licensee.

(4) In this Section, “number portability” means the ability

of customers to change licensee without having to
change their telephone numbers.

ICT APPARATUS STANDARDS

68. (1) Subject to the provisions of Section 8 above, the

Authority may by Rules establish or adopt appropriate
standards for ICT apparatus, including radiocomm-
unication apparatus, prescribing:

(a) types of ICT apparatus, the use of which shall not

require such approval; and

(b) circumstances in which the use of ICT apparatus

shall not require such approval.

(2) Any such standard shall be aimed at:

(a) protecting the integrity of the ICT facilities;

(b) ensuring the proper functioning of apparatus

connected to ICT facilities; or

(c) avoiding radio or other interference with ICT

facilities.

(3) Any Rule made under Sub-section (1) may, for the
purposes of this Section, incorporate any technical
standard, without publishing the text thereof, merely by
reference to the number, title and year of issue thereof
or to other particulars by which it may be identified
sufficiently.

(4) The licensee shall, as a condition of his licence,

connect only apparatus meeting such standards to
ICT facilities.

(5) It shall be a condition of ICT facility use that

subscribers connect it to only the apparatus that
meets such standards. Failure to comply with such
standards is a reasonable ground to refuse to provide,
to discontinue or to interrupt the provision of the
relevant ICT facility or ICT service under Section 47
above.

CERTAIN AGREEMENTS TO BE REGISTERED WITH THE AUTHORITY

69. Every agreement entered into or made by any ICT facility

provider, ICT service provider and media service provider
falling under one or more of the following categories shall,
within thirty days from the making of such agreement, be
registered with the Authority, including:

(a) Shareholders or promoters agreements;

(b) Change of ownership or control agreements,

including those of their parent bodies in Bhutan or
abroad, if applicable;

(c) Interconnection agreements; and

(d) Such other agreements as may be specified by Rules

by the Authority.

REGISTER OF REGULATIONS, DIRECTIVES, RULES, LICENCES, AND
ORDERS

70. (1) Subject to any direction given under Sub-section (2),

the Authority shall keep a register of Regulations,
directives, Rules, licences and permits granted, codes
of practice and sets of guidelines made, orders made,
directions and notices issued, and agreements
registered at its premises and in such form as it may
determine:

Provided however that if it appears to the Authority that
the entry of any information in the register would be
against the commercial interests of any person, it shall
not enter that information in the register.

(2) In addition to the register under Sub-section (1), the
Authority may maintain separate registers for different
purposes under the provisions of this Act.

(3) All registers shall be kept up to date and be open to

public inspection during normal working hours.

(4) Any person may, on payment of such fee as may be

prescribed by an order so made, request the Authority
to supply to him a copy of or extract from any part of
the register, certified by the Authority to be a true copy
or extract.

ENTRY UPON AND CONSTRUCTION OF ICT APPARATUS ACROSS

ANY LAND

71. (1) An ICT facility or ICT service provider may, for the

purposes of providing its service, enter upon any land,
including any street, road, footpath or land reserved for
public purposes and construct and maintain ICT
apparatus upon, under, over, along or across any land,
street, road, footpath or waterway and alter, remove or
replace the same, and may for that purpose attach
wires, stays or any other kind of support to any building
or other structure.

(2) In taking any action in terms of Sub-section (1), due

regard shall be paid to the environmental policy of the
Government, any relevant laws of the country and the
following general principles:

(a) An ICT facility provider shall have a general

obligation to:

(i) consult with and seek prior agreement from

local authorities, persons with an interest in

land and other parties that will be affected
by the planned installation of ICT facilities;

(ii) minimise damage in the installation of ICT

facilities;

(iii) repair without unreasonable delay the

damage incurred in the installation of ICT
facilities and leave the land in a condition
reasonably similar to the one that existed
before the installation of ICT facilities; and

(iv) act in good faith;

(b) local authorities and persons owning or having the

care of any land that could be affected by the
planned installation of ICT facilities shall have a
general obligation to:

(i) not obstruct reasonable access to their land

for the purposes which have been
authorised under this Act;

(ii) seek agreement with ICT facility providers,

wherever reasonable; and

(iii) act in good faith.

(3) The provisions of Sub-section (2), where appropriate,

also apply to ICT service providers.

COMPULSORY PURCHASE OF LAND

72. (1) Subject to Sub-section (2), the Minister may authorise

an ICT facility provider to purchase compulsorily any
land in Bhutan which is required by the ICT facility

provider for, or in connection with, the establishment or
operating of an ICT facility provider’s system or as to
which it can reasonably be foreseen that it will be so
required, and any compulsory purchase of land shall
be according to the Land Act if the government
requires the land, and according to the prevailing
market rate if an ICT facility provider requires it.

(2) No order shall be made authorising a compulsory

purchase under this Section except with the consent of
the Authority and the owner. The Authority shall not
grant its consent unless it is reasonably satisfied that the
ICT facility provider has exhausted all reasonable
alternatives, and has behaved in accordance with the
general principles in Sub-section 71(2) above.

(3) The power of purchasing land compulsorily under this

Section includes power to acquire an easement or
lease.

(4) Where an ICT facility provider has acquired any land

under this Section, he shall not dispose of that land or of
any interest or right in or over it except with the consent
of the Authority, nor use it for any purpose other than a
purpose authorised under this Act.

UNDERGROUND PIPES FOR ICT FACILITY PURPOSES

73. (1) If any local authority and an ICT facility provider agrees

that in a particular area, electricity supply and the ICT
facilities of that ICT facility provider shall be provided by
means of underground cable, that local authority may
on any premises within the said area when installing
such cable for an underground electricity supply line on
the said premises, in accordance with the requirements
of the provider, provide a conduit, pipe or other facility

for the installation of an underground ICT facility line
from a point of connection on the street boundary to a
building on those premises.

(2) A copy of the agreement, including appropriate maps

of the underground pipes or cables, referred to under
Sub-section (1), shall be filed with the Authority within a
period of fifteen days of the conclusion of the
agreement.

(3) The costs of the provision of the said conduit, pipe or

other facility shall be payable to the local authority in
question and shall for the purpose of any law be
deemed to be fees payable by the owner of the
premises in question to the local authority in respect of
the installation of the electricity supply line.

PIPES UNDER STREETS

74. (1) An ICT facility provider may, after reasonable notice in

writing to the local authority or person owning or having
the care and maintenance of any street, road or
footpath, construct and maintain in the manner
specified in that notice any pipes, tunnels or tubes
required for ICT apparatus under any such street, road
or footpath, and may alter, remove and replace the
same and may for such purposes break or open up any
street, road or footpath and alter the position
thereunder of any pipe (not being a sewer drain) for
the supply of water, gas or electricity:

Provided that the local authority or person to whom

any such pipe belongs or by whom it is used shall be
entitled at all times, while any work in connection with
the alteration in the position of that pipe is in progress,
to supervise that work, and the provider shall pay all

reasonable expenses incurred by any such local
authority or person in connection with any alteration or
removal under this Section or any supervision of work
relating to such alteration;

Provided further that in case of damage caused

during such alteration, removal and replacement, the
concerned ICT facility provider shall be liable to pay
an appropriate compensation.

(2) The ICT facility provider shall provide to the Authority as

expeditiously as possible all the maps and plans as
referred to under Sub-section (1) and the Authority
may supply their copies to any interested person,
subject to payment of such fee as may be prescribed
by an order of the Authority.

REMOVAL OF ICT APPARATUS

75. (1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Section, the

Authority may make orders regarding the payment of
the costs of removing or altering ICT facilities. Such
orders shall be made in full accordance with the
general principles under Sub-section 71(2) above. Any
affected ICT facility provider or local authority or person
can bring a request to the Authority to make such
orders. The Authority shall hear all parties having a stake
in such a request, and determine its orders expeditiously
and in line with the principles of natural justice.

(2) If an ICT facility provider finds it necessary to move any

ICT apparatus constructed upon, in, over, along, across
or under any land, street, road, footpath or waterway,
owing to any alteration of alignment or level or any
other work on the part of any local authority or person,
the cost of the alteration or removal shall be borne:

(a) by that local authority or person if the local

authority or person requires and requests the
removal of the ICT apparatus;

(b) by that local authority or person if the alteration of

alignment or level or any other work was planned
and carried out without a prior agreement with
the ICT facility provider;

(c) equally by the ICT facility provider and the local

authority or person if it had been agreed between
them that it was necessary to remove the ICT
apparatus; or

(3) Where any ICT apparatus constructed by an ICT facility

provider passes over any private property and interferes
with any building about to be erected on that property,
the ICT facility provider shall, at its own expense, on
receiving satisfactory proof that a building is actually to
be erected, cause the apparatus to be deviated or
altered in such manner as will remove all obstacles to
building operations.

(4) Notice that any such deviation or alteration as is

contemplated in Sub-section (3) is required shall be
given to the ICT facility provider in writing not less than
thirty days before the alteration or deviation is to be
effected.

(5) If any deviation or alteration of any ICT apparatus

constructed by an ICT facility provider and passing over
any private property is desired on any ground other
than those contemplated in Sub-section (3), a thirty
days notice thereof in writing shall be served on the ICT
facility provider, who shall decide whether or not the

deviation or alteration is possible, necessary or
expedient, and if the ICT facility provider agrees to
make the deviation or alteration, the cost thereof shall
be borne by the person at whose request the deviation
or alteration is effected, or otherwise as ordered by the
Authority:

Provided that in any case where in the opinion of the

ICT facility provider it is justified, the ICT facility provider
may bear the whole or any part of the said cost.

FENCES

76. (1) If any fence erected or to be erected on land over

which any ICT apparatus is constructed or is to be
constructed by an ICT facility provider, renders or would
render it impossible or inconvenient for the ICT facility
provider to obtain access to that land, the ICT facility
provider may at its own expense erect and maintain
gates in that fence and shall provide duplicate keys
thereof, one of which shall be handed to the owner or
occupier of the land.

(2) Any person intending to erect any such fence shall give

not less than forty-five days’ notice in writing to the ICT
facility provider of his intention so to do, and shall be in
keeping with the general principles under Sub-section
71(2) above.

TREES OBSTRUCTING ICT APPARATUS

77. (1) Any tree or vegetation which in the reasonable opinion

of an ICT facility provider obstructs or interferes with the
working or maintenance of any of its ICT apparatus,
whether growing upon Government-owned land or
upon any road or street or upon private land, shall,

after reasonable notice to the owner or occupier of the
land, be cut down or trimmed in accordance with its
requirements by the authority having the care and the
management of such Government-owned land, road
or street or by the owner or occupier of such private
land, as the case may be, at the expense of the ICT
facility provider, and in the event of any failure to
comply with any such notice, the ICT facility provider
may itself cause the said tree or vegetation to be cut
down or trimmed as it may deem necessary:

Provided that where the provision of ICT facilities is

actually interfered with or endangered by any such
tree or vegetation, the provider may cause the work
which is immediately necessary for the removal of the
interference or danger to be undertaken without any
such notice.

(2) In taking action in terms of Sub-section (1), due regard

must be had to the environmental policy of the
Government and any relevant laws of the country.

HEIGHT OR DEPTH OF ICT APPARATUS

78. (1) Aerial ICT apparatus along any public or private street,

road, footpath or land shall be at the height above the
surface of the ground as prescribed by the Rules.

(2) Underground ICT apparatus shall be placed by an ICT

facility provider at the depth below the surface of the
ground as prescribed by the Rules.

(3) If the owner of any private land proves to the

satisfaction of an ICT facility provider that he is
obstructed in the free use of his land by reason of the
insufficient height or depth of any ICT apparatus

constructed by that ICT facility provider, the ICT facility
provider shall, subject to the provisions of Sections 74
and 75 above, take such steps as it may deem
necessary for giving relief to that owner.

(4) In taking any action in terms of this Section, due regard

must be had to the environmental policy of the
Government and any relevant laws of the country.

ELECTRICAL WORKS

79. (1) Any person who constructs, equips or carries on any

works for the supply of light, heat or power by means of
electricity, shall conform to the requirements of an ICT
facility provider for the prevention of any of its ICT
apparatus or works being injuriously affected thereby,
and shall, before commencing the construction of any
such works, seek the prior approval of the Authority and
give one month’s notice in writing to the ICT facility
provider of his intention to commence the construction,
and shall furnish the ICT facility provider with a plan of
the proposed works, together with particulars showing
the manner and position in which the same are
intended to be constructed, executed and carried on
and any such further information relative to the
proposed works as the ICT facility provider may require.

(2) If it appears to the ICT facility provider that the

construction, equipment or operation of such works is
likely to affect injuriously any of its ICT apparatus or
works, or if any of such ICT apparatus or works are
injuriously affected by the construction, equipment or
operation of any such works, the ICT facility provider
shall give reasonable notice of its requirements to the
person concerned, and any person who after receiving
any such notice, proceeds with or causes to be

proceeded with any such construction, equipment or
operation in contravention of the said requirements,
shall be liable to the ICT facility provider in damages,
recoverable by action in a Court of competent
jurisdiction, of an amount equivalent to average daily
returns, as determined by the Court, for every day on
which the construction, equipment or operation is
proceeded with or the injurious effect continues, and
shall in addition make good any damage or expense
suffered by the ICT facility provider by reason of the
failure to comply with the ICT facility provider’s
requirements.

CHAPTER FIVE: PROVISIONS RELATING TO RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS

CONTROL, MANAGEMENT AND REGULATION OF RADIO

FREQUENCY SPECTRUM

80. (1) The Authority is vested with the control, planning,

administration, management, regulation and licensing
of the radio frequency spectrum.

(2) The Authority may make, modify, replace, repeal and

enforce radio Rules (in this Act referred to as the
“National Radio Rules”), including any National Radio
Rules referred to in Sub-section (3), for the purpose of
carrying out its mandate under Sub-section (1).

(3) Without limiting the Authority’s powers under Sub-

section (2), the National Radio Rules made under this
Section may include provisions that:

(a) prescribe what is to be done or not to be done in

connection with the use of any radiocommuni-
cation station or radiocommunication apparatus,
and, in particular, require the use of any such

station or apparatus to cease on the demand by
any such persons as may be prescribed by or
under the National Radio Rules;

(b) impose on the person to whom an ICT facility

licence relating to radiocommunication is issued
with respect to any radiocommunication station
or radiocommunication apparatus, obligations as
to permitting and facilitating the inspection of the
station or apparatus, as to the condition in which
the station or apparatus are to be kept and, in the
case of a station or apparatus for the
establishment, installation or use of which an ICT
facility licence relating to radiocommunication is
necessary, as to the production of the licence, or
of such other evidence of the licensing of the
station or apparatus as may be prescribed by the
National Radio Rules;

(c) where sums are or may become due from the

person to whom an ICT facility licence relating to
radiocommunication is issued after the issue or
renewal thereof, require that person to keep and
produce such accounts and records as may be
specified in the National Radio Rules; and

(d) require the person to whom an ICT licence

relating to radiocommunication authorising the
establishment or use of a radiocommunication
station has been issued to exhibit at the stations
such notices as may be specified in the National
Radio Rules.

(4) The National Radio Rules made under this Section:

(a) may make different provision for different
categories of radiocommunication users, radio
frequencies, frequency bands, licences, permits,
authorisations or certificates, and areas;

(b) may confer exemptions from provisions of the

National Radio Rules or provide for such
exemptions to be conferred by the Authority in
particular cases;

(c) may provide for any sums paid by way of

charges, fees, rates, royalties or otherwise to be
refunded, in whole or in part, in such cases as may
be specified in the National Radio Rules or in such
cases as the Authority thinks fit; and

(d) may include any other provisions as the Authority

thinks fit:

Provided that nothing in any such National Radio Rules
shall require any person to concede any form of right of
entry into private premises for the purpose of permitting
or facilitating the inspection of any apparatus not
designed or adapted for emission (as opposed to
reception).

(5) The National Radio Rules shall apply to all types of

radiocommunications, radiocommunication apparatus
and radiocommunication stations operated in or from
Bhutan, its air space or outer space.

(6) Any person who contravenes any National Radio Rules

made under this Section, or causes or permits any
radiocommunication station or radiocommunication
apparatus to be used in contravention of any such
National Radio Rules, shall be guilty of an offence,

which shall be a misdemeanour. In accordance with
the gravity of crime, a Court may impose an
additional fine of up to one thousand days of the
daily minimum national wage rate.

RADIO FREQUENCY BAND PLANS

81. (1) The Authority may from time to time prepare a

Frequency Band Plan in respect of any part of the radio
frequency spectrum.

(2) A Frequency Band Plan shall:

(a) define how the radio frequency spectrum shall be

used;

(b) aim at ensuring that the radio frequency

spectrum is utilised and managed in an orderly,
efficient, economic and effective manner;

(c) aim at reducing congestion in the use of radio

frequencies and at protecting radio frequency
users from any interference or other inability to
make use of the radio frequencies assigned to
them;

(d) avoid obstacles to the introduction of new

technologies, facilities and services;

(e) aim at providing opportunities for the introduction

of the widest range of ICT services and the
maximum number of users thereof as is practically
feasible.

(3) In preparing a Frequency Band Plan, the Authority:

(a) shall have due regard to the reports of experts in
the field of radio frequency spectrum or radio
frequency band planning and to internationally
accepted methods for preparing such Radio
Frequency Plans;

(b) shall take into account existing uses of radio

frequency spectrum and any Frequency Band
Plans in existence or in the course of preparation.

(4) The Authority shall give public notice of its intention to

prepare a Frequency Band Plan and in such notice
invite interested parties to submit their written
representations to the Authority within such period as
may be specified in such notice.

(5) The Authority shall, after the period referred to in Sub-

section (4) has passed, hold hearing in respect of the
proposed Frequency Band Plan.

(6) After the hearing and after due consideration of any

representations received pursuant to the notice
mentioned in Sub-section (4) or tendered at the
hearing, the Authority shall adopt the Frequency Band
Plan in question, with or without amendment, and
cause the Frequency Band Plan to be published.

(7) Any Frequency Band Plan, or any revision of it, adopted

under this Section, shall be issued as the Rules which
shall be kept in the register at the offices of the
Authority.

(8) The Authority may at any time and from time to time

review a Frequency Band Plan or any section of it,
adopted under this Section and Sub-sections (2) to (7)

shall apply, with the necessary changes, in relation to
any such review and revision.

(9) The assignment of a radio frequency under an ICT

facility licence or permit relating to radiocommuni-
cation does not in any way confer an exclusive right
or a monopoly of the use of such frequency, nor shall
such a licence or permit be construed as conferring
any right of continued tenure in respect of such
frequency.

(10) The assignment, allotment or allocation by the

Authority of a radio frequency to any particular ICT
facility or ICT service relating to radiocommunication
in the Frequency Band Plan shall not confer an
exclusive right to use that frequency by that facility or
service.

(11) Issuance of an ICT facility or ICT service licence or

permit relating to radiocommunication, does not
imply that the licensee or the person holding the
permit is authorized to do anything that infringes any
copyright which may exist in the matter transmitted
by his radiocommunication station or radiocommuni-
cation apparatus. Neither the Authority nor the
Government shall be held liable for any act with
which an infringement of copyright has been
committed by the licensee or the holder of the permit
issued under this Act or the National Radio Rules or
any other Rules.

RADIOCOMMUNICATION LICENCES

82. (1) No person shall establish or use any radiocommuni-

cation station or install or use any radiocommunication
apparatus without a valid licence in that behalf

granted by the Authority in accordance with the
applicable provisions of Chapter Four of this Act.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 37 above,

any person who establishes or uses any station for
radiocommunication or installs or uses any apparatus
for radiocommunication except under and in
accordance with such a licence shall be guilty of an
offence punishable with penalties in accordance with
Section 197 below.

(3) The Authority, by National Radio Rules, may specify the

class of radiocommunication stations or radiocommuni-
cation apparatus that is exempted from the
requirement of a licence or permit under Sub-section
(1) and may reserve certain radio frequency bands for
community radiocommunication services.

BIDDING FOR LICENCES

83. Having regard to the desirability of promoting the optimal

use of the radio frequency spectrum, the Authority may
provide in the National Radio Rules that, in such cases as
may be specified in or determined by it under the National
Radio Rules, applications for the grant of ICT facility
licences relating to radiocommunication may be made in
accordance with a procedure which involves the making
by the applicant of a bid specifying an amount which he is
willing to pay to the Authority in respect of the licence.

AMATEUR RADIOCOMMUNICATION PROVIDER’S PERMIT

84. The Authority may issue, modify and revoke amateur

radiocommunication station provider’s permits in
accordance with the provisions of the National Radio Rules

and may require such permit holders to pay fees as
prescribed in the National Radio Rules.

CONTROL OF POSSESSION OF RADIOCOMMUNICATION
APPARATUS

85. (1) No person shall have in his possession any

radiocommunication apparatus designed or adapted
for emission (as opposed to reception) unless he is in
possession of:

(a) a possession permit issued by the Authority in

accordance with the National Radio Rules;

(b) a permit issued by the Authority under Section 84

above; or

(c) an ICT facility licence relating to radiocommuni-

cation issued under the applicable provisions of
Chapter Four of this Act.

(2) Possession permits referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be

issued or refused by the Authority in accordance with
the provisions of the National Radio Rules.

(3) The procedures in relation to applications for a

possession permit referred to in Sub-section (1) above
shall be as prescribed in the National Radio Rules.

(4) Where any radiocommunication apparatus is found in

the possession of any person in contravention of the
provisions of this Section, the Authority may:

(a) seal or alter such apparatus or any part thereof in

order to prevent the use of that radiocommuni-
cation apparatus for the purpose of transmission

or reception, and issue to such person a permit for
a limited or indefinite period authorising the
possession of that apparatus on condition that it is
not during such period used for such purpose;

(b) seize such apparatus, whether or not it is sealed as

contemplated in paragraph (a), for disposal in
terms of Sub-section (5).

(5) Radiocommunication apparatus seized under Sub-

section (4)(b) shall be held by the Authority until:

(a) its possession is authorised in terms of Sub-section

(1) or (4)(a); or

(b) it is dealt with by the Appellate Tribunal or a Court

of competent jurisdiction.

PROVISIONS REGARDING HARMFUL INTERFERENCE

86. (1) The Authority may make provision in the National Radio

Rules for both or either of the following purposes:

(a) for prescribing the requirements to be complied
with in the case of any apparatus to which this
Section applies if the apparatus is to be used;

(b) for prescribing the requirements to be complied

with in the case of any apparatus to which this
Section applies if the apparatus is to be sold
otherwise than for export, or offered or advertised
for sale otherwise than for export, or let on hire or
offered or advertised for letting on hire, by any
person who in the course of business
manufactures, assembles or imports such
apparatus.

(2) The said requirements shall be such as the Authority

thinks fit for the purpose of ensuring that the use of the
apparatus does not cause harmful interference with
radiocommunications, and may in particular include:

(a) requirements as to the maximum intensity of

electromagnetic energy of any specified radio
frequencies which may be radiated in any
direction from the apparatus while it is being used;
and

(b) in the case of an apparatus the power for which is

supplied from electric lines, requirements as to the
maximum electromagnetic energy of any
specified frequencies which may be injected into
those lines by the apparatus, and, in so far as
appears to the Authority necessary or expedient
in the case of the National Radio Rules in
question, different requirements may be
prescribed for different circumstances and in
relation to different classes or descriptions of
apparatus, different districts or places and
different times of use.

(3) The apparatus to which this Section applies shall be

such apparatus as may be specified in the National
Radio Rules, being apparatus generating, or designed
to generate, or likely to generate fortuitously,
electromagnetic energy at radio frequencies of not
more than three million megacycles per second,
including radiocommunication apparatus.

ENFORCEMENT OF RULES AS TO USE OF APPARATUS

87. (1) If the Authority is of the opinion that:

(a) any apparatus does not comply with the

requirements applicable to it under the National
Radio Rules made for the purpose specified in
paragraph (a) of Sub-section 86(1) above; and

(b) either:

(i) the use of the apparatus is likely to cause

harmful interference with any radiocommu-
nication used for the purposes of any safety
of life service or for any purpose on which
the safety of any person or of any vessel,
aircraft, vehicle or spacecraft may depend;
or

(ii) the use of the apparatus is likely to cause

harmful interference with any other
radiocommunication and in fact has
caused or is causing such interference in a
case where it considers that all reasonable
steps to minimise interference have been
taken in relation to the station or apparatus
receiving the radiocommunication, it may
serve a notice, not less than seven days in
advance, demanding an access for
inspection of the premises, vehicle, any
vessel or aircraft, to form such opinion. The
Authority may then serve on the person in
whose possession the apparatus is, a notice
requiring that, after a date fixed by the
notice, not being less than thirty days from
the date of the service thereof, the
apparatus shall not be used, whether by the
person to whom the notice is given or
otherwise, or, if the Authority thinks fit so to

frame the notice, shall only be used in such
manner, at such times and in such
circumstances as may be specified in the
notice.

(2) If there is, after service of notice demanding inspection,

a refusal in giving access for inspection, the Authority at
its discretion may take recourse to provisions under
Section 195 below of this Act.

(3) A notice under Sub-section (1) may be revoked or

modified by a subsequent notice in writing by the
Authority served on the person in whose possession the
apparatus then is:

Provided that where a notice under this Sub-section has

the effect of imposing any additional restrictions on the
use of the apparatus, the provisions of Sub-section (1)
relating to the coming into force of notices shall apply
in relation to the notice under this Sub-section as if it
had been a notice served under Sub-section (1).

(4) Any person who, knowing that a notice of the Authority

under this Section is in force with respect to any
apparatus, uses that apparatus, or causes or permits it
to be used, in contravention of the notice, shall be
guilty of an offence, which shall be a petty
misdemeanour. In accordance with the gravity of
crime, a Court may impose an additional fine of up to
one thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

ENFORCEMENT OF RULES AS TO SALES AND MANUFACTURERS

88. (1) If the Authority is of the opinion that an apparatus does

not comply with the requirements applicable to it under

the National Radio Rules made for the purpose
specified in paragraph (b) of Sub-section 86(1) above,
it may serve on any person who has manufactured,
assembled or imported the apparatus in the course of
business a notice in writing prohibiting him from selling
the apparatus, otherwise than for export, or offering or
advertising it for sale, otherwise than for export, or
letting it on hire or offering or advertising it for letting on
hire.

(2) Where a notice has been served under Sub-section (1),

the person on whom the notice has been served shall, if
he contravenes the provisions of the valid notice, be
guilty of an offence, which shall be a petty
misdemeanour. In accordance with the gravity of
crime, a Court may impose an additional fine of up to
one thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

RULES WITH RESPECT TO RESISTANCE TO INTERFERENCE

89. (1) This Section applies to radiocommunication apparatus

and to any apparatus designed or adapted for use in
connection with radiocommunication apparatus.

(2) The Authority may make provision in the National Radio

Rules prescribing requirements (referred to below in this
Section as technical requirements) to be complied with
in any case of the apparatus to which this Section
applies of any class or description specified in the
National Radio Rules.

(3) The technical requirements prescribed in respect of any

apparatus shall be such as appear to the Authority to
be appropriate for the purpose of minimising so far as
practicable the risk of interference, arising from the

lawful use of any other apparatus, with any
radiocommunication apparatus to which the
requirements apply (or any apparatus used in
connection with it) is designed or adapted to receive.

(4) The Authority shall, by the National Radio Rules,

prescribe any technical requirements that are
compatible with the international standards or
international obligations of Bhutan.

(5) Subject to Sub-section (6), any person who in the

course of business:

(a) sells otherwise than for export or offers for sale
otherwise than for export any apparatus which
does not comply with the technical requirements
applicable to it under the National Radio Rules
made under this Section; or

(b) lets on hire or offers to let on hire any such

apparatus; or

(c) indicates (whether by display of the apparatus or

by any form of advertisement) his willingness to do
anything in relation to any such apparatus that
falls within paragraph (a) or (b) above;

shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be a petty
misdemeanour. In accordance with the gravity of
crime, a Court may impose an additional fine of up to
one thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

(6) In proceedings for an offence under this Section

brought against any person other than one who in the
course of business has manufactured, assembled or

imported the apparatus to which the proceedings
relate, it could be a defence for the accused to show
that he did not know and could not with reasonable
care have ascertained that the apparatus did not
comply with the requirements in question.

DELIBERATE INTERFERENCE

90. (1) Any person who intentionally uses any apparatus for

the purpose of interfering with any radiocommuni-
cation shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be a
misdemeanour. In accordance with the gravity of
crime, a Court may impose an additional fine of up to
two thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

(2) This Section shall apply whether or not the apparatus in

question is radiocommunication apparatus or
apparatus to which any of the preceding provisions of
this Chapter apply, and whether or not any notice
under Section 88 above been given with respect to the
apparatus, or, if given, has been varied or revoked.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND AGREEMENTS

91. (1) In controlling, planning, administering, managing,

regulating, licensing and permitting the use of the radio
frequency spectrum, the Authority shall comply with the
applicable standards and requirements of the
Constitution and Convention of the International
Telecommunication Union and the Radio Rules
adopted under these international agreements, as
adhered to by the Government.

(2) In exercising its functions under this Act, the Authority

shall have due regard to commitments of the

Government in terms of international standards and
agreements in respect of all radiocommunication
matters.

MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL RADIO

RULES

92. The functions and duties conferred on the Authority by

Section 80 above (other than the powers to make, modify,
replace or repeal any National Radio Rules) may be
exercised by any Government official appointed by the
Authority for the purpose of implementation, monitoring and
enforcement of the National Radio Rules to such extent and
subject to such conditions as may be specified in the
appointment, and an appointment under this Section may
authorise the person appointed to retain any sums by way of
charges, fees, royalties or otherwise received by him in
accordance with the provisions of the National Radio Rules.

CHAPTER SIX: PROVISIONS RELATING TO MEDIA ISSUES

PRINTING PRESSES, BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS

LICENCE TO KEEP OR USE PRINTING PRESS

93. (1) No person shall keep or use any printing press without

a valid licence procured from the Authority. For the
removal of doubts, it is clarified that the expression
“press” shall not include any facility established or
equipment installed by any person for the sole
purpose of printing documents for personal, private or
internal organisational purposes.

(2) The Authority may, on application, grant to any citizen

of Bhutan, a licence, known as a “printing licence”, to
keep or use a press for the printing of documents. This

licence may be revoked if the licensee fails, at any
time, to comply with any of the provisions of Sections
93 to 100 of this chapter, or relevant Regulations or
Rules.

(3) The licence referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be in

such form, and such duration, as prescribed in Rules
by the Authority.

(4) Failure to comply with this Section shall be an offence,

which shall be a petty misdemeanour. In addition to
the penalties prescribed by the Penal Code for this
offence, a Court may impose an additional fine of up
to one thousand days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

(5) Where a licensee under this Section has breached

any of the provisions of Sections 93 to 100 0f this
chapter, or relevant Regulations or Rules except Sub-
section (1), or has been convicted of any offence
carrying a punishment of up to one-year
imprisonment or a fine of up to one thousand days of
the daily minimum national wage rate, or where the
Authority is of the opinion, for reasons to be recorded
in writing, that the continued holding of a licence by
him is not conducive to the public interest, the
Authority may revoke the licence in accordance with
the relevant provisions of Section 51 above.

OBLIGATIONS OF PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS OF DOCUMENTS

94. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of

Section 45 above, no person shall print, publish or
distribute, or assist in printing, publishing or distributing,
any document which does not comply with the
requirements of this Section and which is not in

accordance with the pertinent provisions of this Act,
specifically the Guiding Regulatory Principles for the
Authority as specified under Section 22 above.

(2) Every document printed within Bhutan shall have

printed legibly on its first or last printed leaf the name
and address of its printer, and if the document is
published, the name and address of the publisher.

(3) Every person who prints any document shall, for six

months from the date of its printing, keep one copy of
the document and produce the document to a
police officer or any person authorised by the
Authority, when required to do so.

REGISTRATION OF BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS

95. (1) Every book or newspaper to be made available for

sale or distribution to the public in Bhutan, whether
published within Bhutan or otherwise, shall be first
registered with the Authority which shall maintain
Registers of Books and Newspapers listing the names
and other details of all books and newspapers so
registered.

(2) Upon registration, each book or newspaper published

in Bhutan shall be assigned a distinct registration
number, which number shall be carried on every
copy of such book or newspaper before being
released for sale or distribution to the general public in
Bhutan.

(3) The form and manner of registration of books and

newspapers shall be such as may be prescribed by
the Authority in Rules.

REQUIREMENT OF A LICENCE TO PUBLISH BOOKS AND
NEWSPAPERS

96. (1) No person shall print or publish, or assist in the printing

or publishing of, any newspaper in Bhutan except in
accordance with a valid licence, hereinafter called a
“publishing licence”, obtained from the Authority
authorising the publication thereof.

(2) An application for a publishing licence shall be made

by such person who is a citizen of Bhutan and who
shall assume responsibility as the publisher of the book
or newspaper in relation to which the licence is being
sought. The form and manner of the application, the
fees payable thereon, and duration of licence, shall
be as specified in Rules made by the Authority in this
regard.

(3) Any person who publishes or assists in the publication

of a book or newspaper without first obtaining a
licence under this Section shall be guilty of an
offence, which shall be a misdemeanour. In
accordance with the gravity of crime, a Court may
impose an additional fine of up to one thousand days
of the daily minimum national wage rate.

(4) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that

the licence under this Section shall be in addition to
the licence required for the keeping or using of
printing presses under Section 93 above.

CONSIDERATION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LICENCE

97. (1) Every application for a licence under Section 96

above shall be considered by the Authority in

accordance with the relevant provisions of Section 39
above.

(2) The Authority shall, when considering applications for

publishing licences, have due regard to the
importance of free speech, a diverse and vibrant
media, convergence of information and communica-
tions technology and business, and healthy
competition among publishers in Bhutan. Any such
application may be refused only on grounds of threat
to the sovereignty, security, unity and integrity of
Bhutan, or threat to the interests of peace, stability
and well-being of the nation.

(3) The Authority may before granting the licence require

the applicant to execute a bond with or without
sureties to secure the payment of any penalties which
may be imposed upon the publishing enterprise, its
proprietor or editor under Sections 93 to 100 of this
chapter or under any other law for the time-being in
force.

(4) Without prejudice to Sub-section (2), no licence shall

be granted to any applicant who has, at the time of
making the application, been found guilty of an
offence which carries a fine not less than two
thousand days of the daily minimum national wage
rate or an equivalent imprisonment term under this
Act, or an offence under any other law and which
carries a fine not less than two thousand days of the
daily minimum national wage rate or an equivalent
imprisonment term.

OBLIGATION TO PRINT CERTAIN PARTICULARS

98. (1) Every book or newspaper published in Bhutan shall

carry in legible type in each of its editions:

(a) the names of its editor (and/or author, where
applicable) and publisher;

(b) the name of its printer and place of printing;

(c) the address of its registered office.

(2) Every newspaper published from, and registered in,

Bhutan shall also carry, once every year at such time
as may be specified in Rules to be made by the
Authority, the names, nationalities and addresses of
the directors of the publishing enterprise, and of those
persons who own more than ten percent of the
shareholding in the said enterprise.

(3) Any person who fails to comply with the requirements

of Sub-sections (1) and (2) above shall be guilty of an
offence for each instance, which shall be a violation.

REVOCATION OF LICENCES

99. If a licensee fails to comply with any of the conditions

stated in the licence, or if its editor, publisher or printer, is
found in breach of any of the provisions under Sections 93
to 100 of this chapter, the Authority may revoke his licence
in accordance with the relevant provisions of Section 51
above.

POWER TO DECLARE A BOOK OR NEWSPAPER DETRIMENTAL TO
BHUTAN

100. (1) The Minister may, if he is satisfied, declare a book or

newspaper published outside Bhutan to be
detrimental to the interests of the sovereignty,
security, unity and integrity of Bhutan, or detrimental
to the interests of peace, stability and well-being of
the nation. Any such declaration shall be made in
writing and shall only take effect after it is duly
published.

(2) Where a declaration has been made under Sub-

section (1), any person who imports, sells or distributes,
or possesses for sale, within Bhutan a copy or copies
of the said book or newspaper shall be guilty of the
offence of smuggling. The Minister may also seize and
destroy copies of any such book or newspaper found
being imported, sold or distributed to the general
public, or kept for the purposes of such sale or
distribution, anywhere within Bhutan.

(3) No person shall be convicted of any offence under

this Section if he proves to the satisfaction of a Court
that the book or newspaper in respect of which he is
charged was published, imported, sold, offered for
sale or distributed, as the case may be, without his
authority, consent or knowledge and without any
want of due care on his part.

(4) In any proceedings under this Section, it shall be

presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that any
person found in possession of more than five copies of
the relevant book or issue or issues of the newspaper
in respect of which a declaration has been made
was in possession of them for sale or distribution.

ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS

101. (1) The Authority shall operate a scheme of accreditation

under which journalists who wish to be recognised as
‘accredited journalists’ shall apply for such status in
the prescribed form. The procedure for application
and the criteria for the grant of accreditation shall be
specified in Regulations made by the Minister.

(2) Those recognised as accredited journalists shall enjoy

certain privileges, including (but not limited to) access
to press conferences and media briefings organised
by, or under the auspices of, the Government and
other public sector organisations, access to press
releases, briefing notes, backgrounders and other
material produced by the Government and other
public sector organisations for public dissemination,
and inclusion in official visits by the State and
Government officials.

(3) Applications for accreditation shall be dealt with

expeditiously by the Authority. Where an application
for accreditation is refused, the Authority shall state
the reasons for refusal in writing and communicate
the reasons to the applicant as soon as possible.

(4) Any journalist aggrieved by a decision of the Authority

to refuse accreditation may appeal the decision to
the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days from the date
of the receipt of information relating to the refusal.

AD HOC ACCREDITATION FOR FOREIGN JOURNALISTS

102. (1) Where a foreign journalist desires to be accredited by

the Authority, he may apply for, and the Authority

may grant, ‘ad hoc accreditation’ with or without any
condition, in accordance with the procedure
prescribed for this purpose in Regulations made by
the Minister.

(2) Unless otherwise specified, any ad hoc accreditation

granted to a foreign journalist shall be valid for a
maximum period of one year from the date of grant
of such accreditation. A journalist to whom ad hoc
accreditation has been granted may, before the
expiry of such accreditation, apply for an extension of
the same for a further period of one year at a time,
and the Authority may grant such extension at its
discretion.

(3) Where a journalist to whom ad hoc accreditation has

been granted breaches any of the conditions
attached to such accreditation, or where it appears
to the satisfaction of the Authority that the continued
holding by him of such accreditation is against the
public interest, the Authority may, by an order in
writing, revoke the accreditation. Any such
revocation shall be effective as soon as the order
mentioned above is served upon the journalist, or
where it is not possible or practicable to effect such
service, as soon as a copy of it is delivered to, or
affixed upon, the premises stated in the application
for accreditation under Sub-section (1) above as the
official address of the journalist.

(4) Any journalist aggrieved by a decision of the Authority

to refuse ad hoc accreditation may appeal the
decision to the Appellate Tribunal within thirty days
from the date of the receipt of information relating to
the refusal.

POWERS OF SEARCH AND SEIZURE

103. (1) Any police officer or any customs officer may, after

procuring a warrant under Sub-section (2) or (3), seize
and detain any book or newspaper found in the
possession of any person which the police officer or
the officer of customs has reasonable cause to
believe has been printed, published, sold or
distributed or is intended to be printed, published, sold
or distributed in contravention of the provisions of this
Act and any such book or newspaper shall, whether
or not any person has been convicted of any offence
in respect thereof, be forfeited by order of a Court
and shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed off as
the Court directs.

(2) A Judge of a Court of competent jurisdiction may, on

application, issue a warrant empowering any police
officer to enter upon such premises as may be stated
on the warrant and search for any book or
newspaper, the printing, publication, sale or
distribution of which is unlawful under any of the
provisions of this Act.

(3) A Judge of a Court of competent jurisdiction may, on

application, issue a warrant empowering any police
officer to enter upon such premises as may be stated
on the warrant and search for any printing press
which the police officer or any officer of the Authority
may have reason to believe to be kept or operated
without a licence under Section 93 above.

PRESUMPTION IN REGARD TO PLACE OF PUBLICATION

104. For the purpose of any proceedings under Sections 93 to

104 of this chapter, a book or newspaper shall be

presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to have been
printed or published at the place, if any, at which it is
stated in any printing thereon to have been printed or
published, as the case may be.

CINEMATOGRAPHIC FILMS, PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS AND

OTHER ENTERTAINMENTS

EXAMINATION OF FILMS

105. (1) The producer or owner or importer of every film which

is intended for public exhibition by any mode of ICT or
media within Bhutan shall submit the film for
examination by the Authority in such manner as may
be prescribed in Rules made in this behalf by the
Authority:

(2) Once a copy of a film is received by the Authority, it

shall arrange for the film to be examined by an
examining panel consisting of five members chosen
from a list of examiners maintained by the Authority in
accordance with the provisions of Section 106 below.

(3) The examining panel shall, after examining the film in

the prescribed manner, make one of the following
recommendations, namely to:

(a) sanction the film for unrestricted public

exhibition;

(b) sanction the film for unrestricted public

exhibition, but with an endorsement (hereinafter
referred to as a ‘parental guidance’ or ‘PG’
endorsement), to be inserted prominently at the
beginning of the film and in all the publicity
material relating to the film, to the effect that

the film shall only be allowed to be seen by a
child under the age of twelve years if that child
is accompanied by an adult during the showing
of the film;

(c) sanction the film for public exhibition, but with an

endorsement (hereinafter referred to as an
‘adult film’ endorsement), to be inserted
prominently at the beginning of the film and in
all publicity material relating to the film, to the
effect that the film shall only be allowed to be
seen by adults;

(d) direct the applicant to carry out such excisions

or modifications in the film as it thinks necessary
and re-submit it for examination by the panel;

(e) refuse to sanction the film for public exhibition.

(4) Where the panel intends to make a recommendation

under Sub-sections (3)(b), (c), (d) or (e), it shall, before
making the recommendation, give the producer or
owner of the film a reasonable opportunity of making
representations against such recommendation, and it
shall give due consideration to the representations
made.

LIST OF EXAMINERS

106. (1) The Authority shall create and maintain a list of

examiners being individuals qualified in the opinion of
the Authority to judge the effect of films on the public,
and this list shall be updated from time to time as
necessary.

(2) The number of examiners on the list at any given time
shall not be less than seven and not more than nine.

(3) The recommendation-making procedure to be

followed by a panel of examiners, the procedure for
appointment of examiners and their terms of service,
including any remuneration payable to them, shall be
laid down in Rules made in this behalf by the
Authority.

(4) Each member on the list of examiners shall, when

called upon to do so, examine any film and make the
necessary recommendations in accordance with the
provisions of Section 107 below:

Provided, however, that where, for sufficient cause,

an examiner is unable to attend an examination
session, he may be exempted from such attendance.

CERTIFICATION OF FILMS

107. (1) As soon as a film has been examined in accordance

with Section 105 above, the Authority shall duly
consider the recommendations of the examining
panel. The Authority shall ordinarily be bound by such
recommendation, but where, in exceptional
circumstances, it is of the opinion that the recommen-
dation ought to be departed from, it shall state, in
writing, the reasons for so departing, and furnish a
copy of the reasons to the applicant. The Authority, in
its decision, shall assess, if the:

(a) film is suitable for unrestricted exhibition, or for

unrestricted public exhibition with a ‘PG’
endorsement, as the case may be, grant to the

person applying for a certificate in respect of
the film a ‘U’ certificate;

(b) film is not suitable for unrestricted public

exhibition, but is suitable for public exhibition
restricted to adults, grant to the person applying
for a certificate in respect of the film an ‘A’
certificate, and cause the film to be so marked
in the prescribed manner;

(c) film is not suitable for unrestricted public

exhibition as it stands, and in respect of which
the examining panel has recommended that
the applicant be directed to carry out certain
excisions or modifications and resubmit the film
for examination by the panel, make an order
requiring the applicant to carry out those
excisions or modifications and to resubmit the
film for examination;

(d) examining panel has refused to sanction it for

public exhibition, make an order refusing it a
certificate.

(2) The producer, owner, distributor or exhibitor of any film

in respect of which a certificate has been issued
under Sub-section (1), or any other person to whom
the rights in such a film have passed, shall not be
liable for punishment under any law relating to
obscenity in respect of any matter contained in the
film.

(3) A copy of the certificate granted or an order refusing

to grant a certificate in respect of any film shall be
duly recorded by the Authority.

CRITERIA FOR CERTIFICATION OF FILMS

108. No film shall be certified for public exhibition if, in the

opinion of the Authority, the film or any part of it is:

(a) detrimental to the interests of the sovereignty,

security, unity and integrity of Bhutan;

(b) detrimental to the interests of peace, stability

and well-being of the nation;

(c) detrimental to the interests of friendly relations

with foreign States;

(d) likely to lead to incitement to an offence;

(e) likely to lead to the disclosure of information

received in regard to the affairs of the State or in
discharge of official duties; or

(f) likely to violate the rights and freedom of others.

APPEALS

109. (1) Any person applying for a certificate in respect of a

film who is aggrieved by an order of the Authority
either refusing such certificate or awarding an ‘A’
certificate or a certificate with a ‘PG’ endorsement,
or requiring him to carry out such excisions or
modifications as described in the order, may prefer
an appeal against the order to the Appellate Tribunal.

(2) Any appeal under Sub-section (1) shall be filed within

thirty days from the date of receipt of the order:

Provided that, where the Appellate Tribunal is satisfied
that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause
from filing the appeal within the aforesaid period of
thirty days, it may excuse any delay in the filing of the
appeal.

(3) The Appellate Tribunal may pass such order as it thinks

fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the decision of
the Authority.

(4) The Appellate Tribunal may make such further orders

as to costs in relation to any appeal.

DISPLAY OF CERTIFICATE

110. (1) A copy of any certificate issued by the Authority shall

be included prominently at the beginning of every
copy of the film before it is sent out for public
exhibition. This certificate shall be displayed at every
public screening of the film.

(2) Failure to comply with the requirement of Sub-section

(1) shall be an offence, which shall be a violation. In
accordance with the gravity of crime, a Court may
impose an additional fine of up to five hundred days
of the daily minimum national wage rate.

ADVERTISEMENTS AND PUBLICITY MATERIALS

111. (1) No film intended for public exhibition shall be

advertised to the general public through any medium
before the grant of a certificate by the Authority. The
certificate holder for each film shall also ensure that
all advertising material for the film carries the
appropriate certification mark (such as ‘PG’ or ‘A’ or
‘U’, as the case may be) prominently.

(2) Any person who issues an advertisement or other

publicity material in breach of the provisions of Sub-
section (1) shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be
a misdemeanour as per the Penal Code.

DEPOSIT OF COPIES

112. (1) Every person to whom a certificate has been granted

under Section 107 above in respect of a film shall
deposit, free of charge, a copy of the film with the
Authority within sixty days of the grant of the
certificate by the Authority.

(2) Failure to comply with the requirements of Sub-section

(1) shall be an offence, which shall be a violation, and
the offender shall be liable to a fine, which may
extend up to ten days of the daily minimum national
wage rate for each day of default.

POWER OF THE AUTHORITY TO SUSPEND EXHIBITION OF FILMS

113. (1) Where the Authority is satisfied, either on receipt of a

recommendation from the Review Board or a
complaint from any member of the public or on his
own motion, that any film which is being publicly
exhibited is likely to be detrimental to the interests of
peace, stability and well-being of any local area or
district, he may, in writing, order the suspension of the
film in that local area or district, as the case may be,
for such period as may be specified in the order:

Provided, however, that such order shall remain in

force only for such period as the cause for suspension
remains present.

(2) The effect of any order issued under Sub-section (1)
would be that the film named therein shall be
deemed to be an uncertified film within the local
area or district in question.

(3) Any person who exhibits, or assists in the exhibition, or

allows the use of his premises for the exhibition, of the
film in respect of which an order under Sub-section (1)
has been made shall be guilty of the offence of
breach of public order and tranquillity, which shall be
a petty misdemeanour.

APPEALS AGAINST SUSPENSION

114. (1) Any person who is aggrieved by an order issued

under Section 113 above may prefer an appeal
against that order to the Appellate Tribunal within
thirty days of the date of receipt of that order.

(2) The Appellate Tribunal may pass such order as it may

think fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the
decision of the Minister.

(3) The Appellate Tribunal may make such further orders

as to costs in relation to any appeal.

REGULATION OF PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS

115. (1) Whenever the Minister is satisfied, either on receipt of

a recommendation from the Authority or a complaint
from any member of the public or on his own motion,
that any performance of drama being performed, or
about to be performed, within Bhutan is:

(a) detrimental to the interests of the sovereignty,

security, unity and integrity of Bhutan;

(b) detrimental to the interests of peace, stability

and well-being of the nation;

(c) detrimental to the interests of friendly relations

with foreign States;

(d) likely to lead to incitement to an offence;

(e) likely to lead to the disclosure of information

received in regard to the affairs of the State or in
discharge of official duties; or

(f) likely to violate the rights and freedom of others;

the Minister may by written order prohibit the performance.

(2) A copy of the said order may be served on the
organisers of the performance, the owner or occupier
of the premises in which the performance is taking
place, or is intended to take place, or any person
who is taking part, or is about to take part, in the
performance. Where any of the abovementioned
persons fails or refuses to accept service of the order,
it shall be sufficient for a copy of the order to be
affixed in a prominent place on the premises in which
the performance is taking place or is intended to take
place.

PENALTY FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH PROHIBITORY ORDERS

116. Any person who, after a copy of an order issued under

Section 115 above has been lawfully served on him or
brought to his notice wilfully disobeys the order by:

(a) organising or taking part in the performance
prohibited thereby or in any performance
substantially similar to the performance so prohibited;

(b) assisting in the staging of such performance;

(c) remaining present as a spectator during the whole or

part of such performance; or

(d) being the owner or occupier, or for the time being in

control, of any premises, using it, or allowing it to be
used, for any such performance;

shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be:

a) a misdemeanour; or

b) if aggravated circumstances exists, a felony of
the fourth degree.

APPEALS AGAINST AN ORDER OF PROHIBITION

117. (1) Any person who is aggrieved by an order issued

under Section 115 above may appeal against it to the
Appellate Tribunal.

(2) The appeal referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be filed

no later than fifteen days from the date on which the
order in question is served on the person making the
appeal.

(3) The Appellate Tribunal may pass such order as it thinks

fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the decision of
the Minister.

(4) The Appellate Tribunal may make such further orders
as to costs in relation to any appeal.

POWER TO CALL FOR INFORMATION

118. (1) The Minister may, for the purpose of ascertaining the

character of any ongoing or intended performance
of drama, require the producer, director, proprietor,
author, or choreographer of the performance, or the
owner or occupier of any premises where it is being,
or is intended to be, performed to furnish such
information as the Minister may deem necessary.

(2) The request for such information shall be made in

writing and it shall be served upon the person or
persons referred to in Sub-section (1).

(3) If any person on whom a request for information is

served wilfully or unreasonably fails to furnish the
information requested, he shall be guilty of an
offence, which shall be a violation. In addition to the
penalties prescribed by the Penal Code for this
offence, a Court may impose an additional fine of up
to five hundred days of the daily minimum wage rate.

POWER TO ENTER, SEARCH AND SEIZE

119. (1) Where the Minister reasonably suspects that any

premises is being used for any performance of drama
prohibited under Section 115 above, he may apply to
a Court of competent jurisdiction for a warrant
authorising a police officer to enter and search such
premises, with such assistance as may be necessary.
The police officer so authorised may enter the said
premises and take into custody any person therein
who may be involved in conducting, or assisting in the

conduct of, the performance of drama, and seize all
articles found therein which are being used, or are
likely to be used, in connection with the performance.

(2) The Minister may dispose of any or all of the articles

seized under Sub-section (1) in such manner as he
thinks fit.

PERMITS FOR PERFORMANCE OF DRAMAS

120. (1) Where it appears to the Minister that it is necessary:

(a) in the interests of the sovereignty, security, unity
and integrity of Bhutan;

(b) in the interests of peace, stability and well-being

of the nation;

(c) in the interests of friendly relations with foreign

States;

(d) to prevent incitement to an offence;

(e) to prevent the disclosure of information received

in regard to the affairs of the State or in
discharge of official duties; or

(f) to protect the rights and freedom of others;

that all performance of dramas being conducted, or

intended to be conducted, in any local area can
only be conducted under a permit issued for this
purpose by the Authority, it shall publish a notification
to that effect.

(2) From the date and time specified in such notification,
no performance of drama shall be conducted except
in accordance with the terms of the notification. The
producer, director or other person who intends to
conduct any performance of drama, or any future
shows of an existing performance of drama, may only
do so after obtaining the permit referred to in Sub-
section (1). The form and manner in which
applications for such permits may be made shall be
specified in Rules made in this behalf by the Authority.

APPEALS AGAINST REFUSAL OF PERMITS

121. (1) Where anyone who has been refused a permit under

Section 120 above is aggrieved by the decision of the
Authority, he may appeal against it to the Appellate
Tribunal.

(2) The appeal referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be filed

no later than fifteen days from the date on which the
decision of the Authority referred to therein is received
by the appellant.

(3) The Appellate Tribunal may pass such order as it thinks

fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the decision of
the Authority.

(4) The Appellate Tribunal may make such further orders

as to costs in relation to any appeal.

LICENSING OF PLACES OF ENTERTAINMENTS

122. (1) No establishment which provides any form of

entertainment whatsoever intended for the general
public shall be established, maintained or operated
without a licence obtained for this purpose

(hereinafter referred to as an “entertainments
licence”) from the Authority.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of Sub-section (1),

the establishments covered by that Sub-section would
include movie halls, dance halls, discotheques, music
halls, gaming parlours, public houses, bars equipped
with facilities for live or recorded music, hospitality
lounges, video/computer gaming arcades, circuses,
magic shows, fetes, concerts, fairs, carnivals, wrestling
bouts, sporting events, and bingo halls.

LICENSING RESPONSIBILITY AND PROCEDURE

123. (1) Licensing under Section 122 above shall be the

responsibility of the Authority.

(2) Any person who owns and/or intends to keep,
maintain or operate an establishment of the kind
referred to in Section 122 above shall apply to the
Authority for a licence for this purpose.

(3) The form and manner of application for a licence,

duration of a licence, terms and conditions for the
issuance of a licence, and any fees payable for it,
shall be as prescribed in the Rules by the Authority.

(4) Every application shall be considered by the Authority

in accordance with appropriate Regulations issued by
the Minister, in consultation with the Ministry of Trade
and Industry, and it shall normally be disposed of
within thirty days from the date on which it is received.

(5) If the Authority is satisfied that the applicant meets all

the requirements for the grant of a licence, and that it

would not be contrary to the public interest to grant
him the licence, it shall make an order accordingly:

Provided that, where the Authority is of the opinion that the
licence being granted requires to be subjected to any special
terms, conditions or qualifications, it shall so indicate in the
licence, and the licensee shall at all times ensure full compliance
with those terms, conditions or qualifications, as the case may
be.

(6) Where the Authority does not reach the satisfaction

referred to in Sub-section (5), it shall make an order
refusing the application for a licence. This order of
refusal shall be communicated to the applicant as
soon as practicable and in any case no later than
seven days from the date of the order.

(7) Any person who keeps, maintains, operates, uses or

knowingly allows to be used any place which
provides any entertainment covered under Section
122 above without a licence shall be guilty of an
offence, which shall be a petty misdemeanour. In
accordance with the gravity of crime, a Court may
impose an additional fine of up to one thousand days
of the daily minimum national wage rate.

POWER TO CHARGE FEES

124. (1) The Authority shall have the power to require any

person who submits a film for certification to pay such
fees as may be prescribed in Rules in this behalf.

(2) The Authority may also charge such fees as it thinks fit

for any other service rendered by it to any person
under the provisions of this Act, and it may require

such fees to be paid in advance of the service being
rendered.

CHAPTER SEVEN: PROVISIONS RELATING TO CYBER ISSUES

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE

MINISTRY AS THE LEAD AGENCY FOR E-GOVERNANCE

125. (1) The Ministry shall be in-charge of setting strategic

direction for implementing electronic Government.

(2) The Ministry shall be the principal interagency forum
for improving Governmental practices related to the
design, acquisition, development, modernization, use,
operation, sharing, and performance of Government
information resources for benefit of all citizens. In this
regard, the Ministry shall regularly consult with other
Governmental agencies in order to promote
electronic Government and the efficient use of ICT.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MINISTER

126. (1) The Minister shall work with other Governmental

agencies to maintain and promote an integrated
Internet-based system of providing the public with
access to Government information and services.

(2) The Minister shall establish policies, procedures and

security framework (for, inter alia, electronic signa-
tures) to allow communications among Governmen-
tal agencies to remain protected.

(3) The Minister, in consultation with the appropriate

agencies of the Government, shall promote the use of
ICT to enhance crisis preparedness, response, and

consequence management of natural and man-
made disasters.

(4) The Minister, in consultation with the appropriate

Governmental agencies, shall facilitate the
development of common protocols for the
development, acquisition, maintenance, distribution,
and application of geographic information systems.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY FOR E-
GOVERNMENT SERVICES

127. Each Governmental agency shall:

(a) comply with requirements of Sections 125 to 130 of this
chapter, the information resources management
policies and guidance established by the Minister,
and the information technology standards
promulgated by him;

(b) ensure that such policies, guidance, and standards

are communicated promptly and effectively to all its
relevant employees;

(c) support the efforts of the Minister to maintain, and

promote an integrated Internet-based system of
delivering Government information and services to
the public;

(d) adopt, and adapt, where appropriate, its

administrative procedures, rules, requirements, and
forms so that they could easily be met or completed
using electronic means;

(e) make e-Government accessible to people with

disabilities;

(f) sponsor activities that use information technology to

engage the public in the development and
implementation of policies and programmes;

(g) ensure that its methods for use and acceptance of all

electronic communications (including electronic
signatures) are compatible with the relevant
provisions of Sections 125 to 130 of this chapter and
the policies and procedures issued by the Minister;

(h) determine which Government information it intends to

make available and accessible to the public on the
Internet and other means, develop priorities and
schedules for making such information available;

(i) ensure that a publicly accessible Government

website includes all information required to be
published concerning such agency’s policies, rules,
and procedures for delivery of public services; and

(j) take appropriate actions, including conducting

privacy impact assessments, to ensure sufficient
controls are adopted to protect the privacy of
personal information as it implements electronic
Government programmes.

DOMAIN DIRECTORY OF PUBLIC GOVERNMENT WEBSITES

128. The Minister, with the collaboration of all Governmental

agencies, shall develop and establish a public domain
directory of public Government websites and post the
directory on the Internet with a link to the Governmental
Web Portal.

WEBSITES FOR JUDICIAL INFORMATION AND COURT PROCEDURES

129. The High Court/Supreme Court of Bhutan may:

(a) subject to the security interests of the country,
establish a website containing specified information
on Court house locations, rules, and access to
specified Court information; and

(b) make some documents, which it considers

appropriate, that have been filed electronically with
such Court publicly available online, but keeping in
mind the necessary privacy and security
requirements. However, each Court may submit a
notification to the Minister to defer compliance with
such requirements, under specified conditions.

APPROPRIATE PERSONNEL NEEDS

130. The Minister, in consultation with the Royal Civil Service

Commission, shall:

(a) analyze necessary personnel needs related to
Government ICT and resource management;

(b) oversee the development of curricula, training

methods, and priorities that correspond to such
needs; and

(c) ensure that such needs are appropriately addressed.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

SCOPE OF APPLICATION

131. Sections 131 to 144 of this chapter apply to any kind of

information in the form of a data message used in the
context of commercial activities.

VARIATION BY AGREEMENT

132. (1) As between parties involved in generating, sending,

receiving, storing or otherwise processing data
messages, and except as otherwise provided, the
provisions of Sections 140 to 144 below may be varied
by agreement.

(2) Sub-section (1) does not affect any right that may

exist to modify by agreement any rule of law referred
to in Sections 133 to 139 below.

LEGAL RECOGNITION OF DATA MESSAGES

133. Information shall not be denied legal effect, validity or

enforceability solely on the grounds that it is in the form of a
data message.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

134. Information shall not be denied legal effect, validity or

enforceability solely on the grounds that it is not contained
in the data message purporting to give rise to such legal
effect, but is merely referred to in that data message.

WRITING

135. (1) Where any law of Bhutan requires information to be in

writing, that requirement is met by a data message if
the information contained therein is accessible so as
to be usable for subsequent reference.

(2) Sub-section (1) applies whether the requirement

therein is in the form of an obligation or whether the
law simply provides consequences for the information
not being in writing.

SIGNATURE

136. (1) Where any law of Bhutan requires a signature of a

person, that requirement is met in relation to a data
message if:

(a) a method is used to identify that person and to

indicate that person's approval of the
information contained in the data message;

(b) that method is as reliable as was appropriate for

the purpose for which the data message was
generated or communicated, in the light of all
the circumstances, including any relevant
agreement; or

(c) it is provided in the form of an electronic

signature.

(2) Sub-section (1) applies whether the requirement

therein is in the form of an obligation or whether the
law simply provides consequences for the absence of
a signature.

ORIGINAL

137. (1) Where any law of Bhutan requires information to be

presented or retained in its original form, that
requirement is met by a data message if:

(a) there exists a reliable assurance as to the

integrity of the information from the time when it
was first generated in its final form, as a data
message or otherwise; and

(b) where it is required that information be

presented, that information is capable of being
and readable by, or displayed to, the person to
whom it is to be presented.

(2) Sub-section (1) applies whether the requirement

therein is in the form of an obligation or whether the
law simply provides consequences for the information
not being presented or retained in its original form.

(3) For the purposes of Sub-section (1)(a):

(a) the criteria for assessing integrity shall be

whether the information has remained complete
and unaltered, apart from the addition of any
endorsement and any change which arises in
the normal course of communication, storage
and display; and

(b) the standard of reliability required shall be

assessed in the light of the purpose for which the
information was generated and in the light of all
the relevant circumstances.

ADMISSIBILITY AND EVIDENTIAL WEIGHT OF DATA MESSAGES

138. (1) In any legal proceedings, nothing in the application

of the rules of evidence shall apply so as to deny the
admissibility of a data message in evidence:

(a) on the sole ground that it is a data message; or

(b) if it is the best evidence that the person

adducing it could reasonably be expected to
obtain, on the grounds that it is not in its original
form.

(2) Information in the form of a data message shall be

given due evidential weight. In assessing the
evidential weight of a data message, regard shall be
had to the reliability of the manner in which the data
message was generated, stored or communicated,
to the reliability of the manner in which the integrity of
the information was maintained, to the manner in
which its originator was identified, and to any other
relevant factor.

RETENTION OF DATA MESSAGES

139. (1) Where any law of Bhutan requires that certain

documents, records or information be retained, that
requirement is met by retaining data messages,
provided that the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) the information contained therein is accessible

so as to be usable for subsequent reference;
and

(b) the data message is retained in the format in

which it was generated, sent or received, or in a

format which can be demonstrated to represent
accurately the information generated, sent or
received; and

(c) such information, if any, is retained as enables

the identification of the origin and destination of
a data message and the date and time when it
was sent or received.

(2) An obligation to retain documents, records or

information in accordance with Sub-section (1) does
not extend to any information the sole purpose of
which is to enable the message to be sent or
received.

(3) A person may satisfy the requirement referred to in

Sub-section (1) by using the services of any other
person, provided that the conditions set forth in Sub-
sections (1)(a), (b) and (c) are met.

FORMATION AND VALIDITY OF CONTRACTS

140. In the context of contract formation, unless otherwise

agreed by the parties or required by law, an offer and the
acceptance of an offer may be expressed by means of
data messages. Where a data message is used in the
formation of a contract, that contract shall not be denied
validity or enforceability on the sole ground that a data
message was used for that purpose.

RECOGNITION BY PARTIES OF DATA MESSAGES

141. As between the originator and the addressee of a data

message, a declaration of intent or other statement shall
not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely
on the grounds that it is in the form of a data message.

ATTRIBUTION OF DATA MESSAGES

142. (1) A data message is that of the originator if it was sent

by the originator himself.

(2) As between the originator and the addressee, a data
message is deemed to be that of the originator if it
was sent:

(a) by a person who had the authority to act on

behalf of the originator in respect of that data
message;

(b) with the originator’s full and knowing consent,

unless the originator had handed over their
authority either temporarily or permanently due
to diminished personal capacity, for example in
the case of mental illness or disability; or

(c) by an information system programmed by, or on

behalf of, or with the originator’s full and
knowing consent of, the originator to operate
automatically.

(3) As between the originator and the addressee, an

addressee is entitled to regard a data message as
being that of the originator, and to act on that
assumption, if:

(a) in order to ascertain whether the data message

was that of the originator, the addressee
properly applied a procedure previously agreed
to by the originator for that purpose; or

(b) the data message as received by the addressee

resulted from the actions of a person whose

relationship with the originator or with any agent
of the originator enabled that person to gain
access to a method used by the originator to
identify data messages as his own.

(4) Sub-section (3) does not apply:

(a) as of the time when the addressee has both

received notice from the originator that the
data message is not that of the originator, and
had reasonable time to act accordingly; or

(b) in a case within Sub-section (3)(b), at any time

when the addressee knew or should have
known, had he exercised reasonable care or
used any agreed procedure, that the data
message was not that of the originator.

(5) Where a data message is that of the originator or is

deemed to be that of the originator, or the addressee
is entitled to act on that assumption, then, as
between the originator and the addressee, the
addressee is entitled to regard the data message as
received as being what the originator intended to
send, and to act on that assumption. The addressee is
not so entitled when he knew or should have known,
had he exercised reasonable care or used any
agreed procedure, that the transmission resulted in
any error in the data message as received.

(6) The addressee is entitled to regard each data

message received as a separate data message and
to act on that assumption, except to the extent that
he duplicates another data message and the
addressee knew or should have known, had he

exercised reasonable care or used any agreed
procedure, that the data message was a duplicate.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT

143. (1) Sub-sections (2) to (4) shall apply where, on or before

sending a data message, or by means of that data
message, the originator has requested or has agreed
with the addressee that receipt of the data message
be acknowledged.

(2) Where the originator has not agreed with the

addressee that the acknowledgement be given in a
particular form or by a particular method, an
acknowledgement may be given by any:

(a) communication by the addressee, automated

or otherwise, or

(b) conduct of the addressee,

sufficient to indicate to the originator that the data
message has been received.

(3) Where the originator has stated that the data

message is conditional on receipt of the
acknowledgement, the data message is treated as
though it has never been sent, until the
acknowledgement is received.

(4) Where the originator has not stated that the data

message is conditional on receipt of the
acknowledgement, and the acknowledgement has
not been received by the originator within the time
specified or agreed or, if no time has been specified
or agreed, within a reasonable time, the originator:

(a) may give notice to the addressee stating that no

acknowledgement has been received and
specifying a reasonable time by which the
acknowledgement must be received; and

(b) if the acknowledgement is not received within

the time specified in Sub-section (4)(a), may,
upon notice to the addressee, treat the data
message as though it had never been sent, or
exercise any other rights he may have.

(5) Where the originator receives the addressee's

acknowledgement of receipt, it is presumed that the
addressee received the related data message. That
presumption does not imply that the data message
corresponds to the message received.

(6) Except in so far as it relates to the sending or receipt

of the data message, this Section is not intended to
deal with the legal consequences that may flow
either from that data message or from the
acknowledgement of its receipt.

TIME AND PLACE OF DISPATCH AND RECEIPT OF DATA MESSAGES

144. (1) Unless otherwise agreed between the originator and

the addressee, the dispatch of a data message
occurs when it enters an information system outside
the control of the originator or of the person who sent
the data message on behalf of the originator.

(2) Unless otherwise agreed between the originator and

the addressee, the time of receipt of a data message
is determined as follows:

(a) if the addressee has designated an information
system for the purpose of receiving data
messages, receipt occurs:

(i) at the time when the data message is time-

stamped by the designated information
system; or

(ii) if the data message is sent to an

information system of the addressee that is
not the designated information system, at
the time when the data message is
retrieved by the addressee;

(b) if the addressee has not designated an

information system, receipt occurs when the
data message enters an information system of
the addressee.

(3) Sub-section (2) applies notwithstanding that the place

where the information system is located may be
different from the place where the data message is
deemed to be received under Sub-section (4).

(4) Unless otherwise agreed between the originator and

the addressee, a data message is deemed to be
dispatched at the place where the originator has his
place of business, and is deemed to be received at
the place where the addressee has his place of
business. For the purposes of this Sub-section:

(a) if the originator or the addressee has more than

one place of business, the place of business is
that which has the closest relationship to the
underlying transaction or, where there is no

underlying transaction, the principal place of
business;

(b) if the originator or the addressee does not have

a place of business, reference is to be made to
his habitual residence.

(5) The Ministry shall co-ordinate the time of all its

information systems via any system or method,
including the Internet-based Network Time Protocol
(NTP), to enable the tracking of all data messages in
an orderly manner.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

SCOPE OF APPLICATION

145. Sections 145 to 153 of this chapter apply where electronic

signatures are used in the context of commercial activities.

EQUAL TREATMENT OF SIGNATURE TECHNOLOGIES

146. Nothing in Sections 145 to 153 of this chapter, except

Section 147 below, shall be applied so as to exclude,
restrict or deprive of legal effect, any method of creating
an electronic signature that satisfies the requirements
referred to in Sub-section 149(1) below, or otherwise meets
the requirements of applicable law.

VARIATION BY AGREEMENT

147. The provisions of Sections 145 to 153 of this chapter may be

derogated from or their effect may be varied by
agreement, unless that agreement is not valid or effective
under applicable law.

COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENT FOR A SIGNATURE

148. (1) Where the law requires a signature of a person, that

requirement is met in relation to a data message if an
electronic signature is used that is as reliable as was
appropriate for the purpose for which the data
message was generated or communicated, in the
light of all the circumstances, including any relevant
agreement.

(2) Sub-section (1) applies whether the requirement

referred to therein is in the form of an obligation or
whether the law simply provides consequences for
the absence of a signature.

(3) An electronic signature is considered to be reliable for

the purpose of satisfying the requirement referred to in
Sub-section (1) if:

(a) The signature creation data are, within the

context in which they are used, linked to the
signatory and to no other person;

(b) The signature creation data were, at the time of

signing, under the control of the signatory and of
no other person unless the signatory had
handed over their authority either temporarily or
permanently due to diminished personal
capacity, for example in the case of mental
illness or disability;

(c) Any alteration to the electronic signature, made

after the time of signing, is detectable; and

(d) Where a purpose of the legal requirement for a

signature is to provide assurance as to the

integrity of the information to which it relates,
any alteration made to that information after
the time of signing is detectable.

(4) Sub-section (3) does not limit the ability of any person

to:

(a) establish in any other way, for the purpose of
satisfying the requirement referred to in Sub-
section (1), the reliability of an electronic
signature; or

(b) adduce evidence of the non-reliability of an

electronic signature.

(5) The Minister may determine, by issuing Regulations,
which electronic signatures satisfy the provisions of this
Section. Such determination shall be consistent with
recognized international standards. Nothing in this
Section affects the operation of the rules of private
international law.

CONDUCT OF THE SIGNATORY

149. (1) Where signature creation data can be used to create

a signature that has legal effect, each signatory shall:

(a) Exercise reasonable care to avoid unauthorized
use of his signature creation data;

(b) Without undue delay, utilize means made

available by the certification service provider
pursuant to Section 150 below or otherwise use
reasonable efforts, to notify any person that may
reasonably be expected by the signatory to rely
on or to provide services in support of the

electronic signature if the:

(i) signatory knows that the signature creation

data have been compromised; or

(ii) circumstances known to the signatory give

rise to a substantial risk that the signature
creation data may have been
compromised;

(c) Where a certificate is used to support the

electronic signature, exercise reasonable care
to ensure the accuracy and completeness of all
material representations made by the signatory
that are relevant to the certificate throughout its
entitlement life cycle or that are to be included
in the certificate.

(2) A signatory shall bear the legal consequences of his

failure to satisfy the requirements of Sub-section (1).

CONDUCT OF THE CERTIFICATION SERVICE PROVIDER

150. (1) Where a certification service provider provides

services to support an electronic signature that may
be used for legal effect as a signature, that
certification service provider shall:

(a) Act in accordance with representations made

by it with respect to its policies and practices;

(b) Exercise reasonable care to ensure the

accuracy and completeness of all material
representations made by it that are relevant to
the certificate throughout its entitlement life
cycle or that are included in the certificate;

(c) Provide reasonably accessible means that

enable a relying party to ascertain from the
certificate:

(i) the identity of the certification service

provider;

(ii) that the signatory that is identified in the

certificate had control of the signature
creation data at the time when the
certificate was issued;

(iii) that signature creation data were valid at

or before the time when the certificate was
issued;

(d) Provide reasonably accessible means that

enable a relying party to ascertain, where
relevant, from the certificate or otherwise:

(i) The method used to identify the signatory;

(ii) Any limitation on the purpose or value for

which the signature creation data or the
certificate may be used;

(iii) That the signature creation data are valid

and have not been compromised;

(iv) Any limitation on the scope or extent of

liability stipulated by the certification
service provider;

(v) Whether means exist for the signatory to

give notice pursuant to Sub-section (1)(b);

(vi) Whether a timely revocation service is

offered;

(e) Where services under Sub-section (1)(d)(v) are
offered, provide a means for a signatory to give
notice pursuant to Sub-section (1)(b) and, where
services under Sub-section (1)(d)(vi) are offered,
ensure the availability of a timely revocation
service;

(f) Utilize trustworthy systems, procedures and

human resources in performing its services.

(2) A certification service provider shall bear the legal
consequences of its failure to satisfy the requirements
of Sub-section (1) and can be held liable for damage
caused to any entity or legal or natural person, who
reasonably relies on the certificate issued by the
certification service provider and suffers damage,
unless the certification-service-provider proves that he
has not acted negligently.

TRUSTWORTHINESS

151. For the purposes of Sub-section 150(1)(f) above, in

determining whether or to what extent any systems,
procedures and human resources utilized by a certification
service provider are trustworthy, regard may be had to the
following factors:

(a) Financial and human resources, including existence

of assets;

(b) Quality of hardware and software systems;

(c) Procedures for processing of certificates and
applications for certificates and retention of records;

(d) Availability of information to signatories identified in

certificates and to potential relying parties;

(e) Regularity and extent of audit by an independent

body;

(f) The existence of a declaration by the Government,

an accreditation body or the certification service
provider regarding compliance with or existence of
the foregoing;

(g) The quality of information system’s and network’s
security; or

(h) Any other relevant factor.

CONDUCT OF THE RELYING PARTY

152. A relying party shall bear the legal consequences of its

failure:

(a) to take reasonable steps to verify the reliability of an
electronic signature; or

(b) where an electronic signature is supported by a

certificate, to take reasonable steps to:

(i) verify the validity, suspension or revocation of

the certificate; and

(ii) observe any limitation with respect to the

certificate.

RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN CERTIFICATES AND ELECTRONIC
SIGNATURES

153. (1) In determining whether, or to what extent, a

certificate or an electronic signature is legally
effective, no regard shall be had to the geographic
location:

(a) where the certificate is issued or the electronic

signature created or used; or

(b) of the place of business of the issuer or signatory.

(2) A certificate issued outside Bhutan shall have the

same legal effect in Bhutan as a certificate issued in
Bhutan if it offers a substantially equivalent or more
level of reliability.

(3) An electronic signature created or used outside

Bhutan shall have the same legal effect in Bhutan as
an electronic signature created or used in Bhutan if it
offers a substantially equivalent level of reliability.

(4) In determining whether a certificate or an electronic

signature offers a substantially equivalent level of
reliability for the purposes of Sub-sections (2) or (3),
regard shall be had to recognized international
standards and to any other relevant factors.

(5) Where, notwithstanding Sub-sections (2), (3) and (4),

parties agree, as between themselves, to the use of
certain types of electronic signatures or certificates,
that agreement shall be recognized as sufficient for
the purposes of cross-border recognition, unless that
agreement would not be valid or effective under
applicable law.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO CONSUMER PROTECTION FOR

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

INFORMATION PROVISION

154. (1) Vendors shall provide consumers with sufficient

information to make an informed choice about
whether and how to complete a transaction. All of
the information requirements described in Sections
154 to156 of this chapter must be:

(a) clearly presented in plain language;

(b) truthful;

(c) conspicuous and easily accessible on vendors’

websites at appropriate stages of consumers’
decision making, particularly before consumers
confirm transactions or provide any personal
information; and

(d) retainable or printable by consumers.

(2) Vendors shall ensure that their marketing practices,

information and links on their websites are current,
accurate and not deceptive or misleading to
consumers, and that all objective claims can be
substantiated.

(3) Vendors shall identify themselves on their websites

and provide information about their policies, including
to whom consumers should direct claims, ask
questions, register complaints or obtain warranty
information, repair services and support related to the
products available on the sites. The information shall

be available to consumers before they engage in
transactions and shall include:

(a) the vendor’s legal name and the name(s) under

which the vendor conducts business;

(b) the address and telephone and fax numbers of

the vendor’s principal office and, when
applicable, of local offices or agents;

(c) any geographic, age or other restrictions on

transactions;

(d) the payment methods and currencies the

vendor accepts;

(e) the vendor’s cancellation, return and exchange

policies, including any associated charges;

(f) contact information for consumer service and

support, including days and hours of operation,
when applicable, and any associated charges;

(g) details of the vendor’s complaints process;

(h) the vendor’s policies on privacy and unsolicited

e-mail; and

(i) contact information for any seal or other self-

regulatory programmes or applicable dispute
resolution processes in which the vendor
participates, and, whenever possible, an online
method of verifying any accreditation claims the
vendor makes on its websites.

(4) Vendors shall make information available about the

products for sale in order that consumers can see it
before they initiate transactions. The information shall
include:

(a) a fair and accurate description of the products

offered for sale, including the terms of any
service contracts and material information that
consumers would otherwise see when buying
the products offline (e.g., restrictions, health and
safety warnings, or limitations or conditions of
purchase, such as parental/guardian approval
requirements and time restrictions); and

(b) any product guarantees and warranties.

(5) Prior to the conclusion of transactions, vendors shall

ensure that all terms and conditions of sale related to
the transactions are available to consumers. Such
information shall include:

(a) a description of the product(s), including the

quantity to be purchased;

(b) the full price to consumers, including:

(i) the applicable currency;

(ii) any shipping charges, taxes, customs duties

and customs broker fees and any other
charges;

(iii) when the vendor cannot reasonably

ascertain the amount of potentially
applicable charges, the fact that such
charges may apply; and

(iv) when the full price cannot be worked out
in advance, the method the vendor will
use to calculate it, including any recurrent
costs and the method used to calculate
them;

(c) all payment terms, including the methods of

payment available to consumers, any
associated surcharges or discounts and any
vendor’s non-repudiation clause when a
payment is to be submitted electronically;

(d) cancellation, return and exchange policies,

including any associated charges;

(e) applicable warranties, including any associated

charges;

(f) how the vendor will contact the consumer in the

future;

(g) any restrictions, limitations or conditions of

purchase, such as parental/guardian approval
requirements, the length of service contracts, or
any geographic limitations applying to the offer;
and

(h) the time frame for shipping goods or activating

service, how consumers will be notified when the
vendor is unable to complete the order or
service request within this time frame and, when
applicable, options for delivery.

(6) After the transaction has been completed, vendor

shall provide the consumer with a retainable record
of the transaction on receipt of the order if via

electronic means, or within fifteen working days by
non-electronic mail, if the vendor’s electronic
commerce platform is unavailable;

(7) Except in the case of Sub-section (8), when

consumers contract for the ongoing provision of
products, vendors shall ensure:

(a) that they disclose the following to consumers,

prior to the conclusion of the transaction:

(i) how often and to what address printable
statements of account will be delivered;

(ii) how the consumer can change and

correct such information; and

(iii) how the consumer can cancel the

contract and the implications of any such
cancellation;

(b) that each invoice or statement of account

identifies the vendor, the product in question
and the amount billed.

(8) When products are ordered for future physical

delivery on a one-time basis, vendors shall provide
consumers with a printed record of the transaction
when the goods are delivered. The record shall
include information set out in Sub-sections (5)(a) to
(d).

(9) Vendor shall conduct online transactions in a secured

manner using encryption technologies where online
credit facilities are used. If the vendor does not have
the facility to allow encrypted transactions, this shall

be so specified by the vendor on their web-site, with
an opt-out option prior to transaction submission.

LANGUAGE

155. (1) When a vendor offers a product on its websites in a

given language, the vendor shall use that language
to:

(a) provide all of its material information about the

product, the vendor, the vendor’s relevant
policies, and the terms and conditions of the
transaction and all other material information
described in Sub-section 154(3) above;

(b) conduct online transactions regarding the

product; and

(c) provide customer service regarding the product.

(2) When manufacturer product information or after-sales

support is not available in the language that the
vendor offered the product, this shall be so stated by
the vendor in the language in which the transaction
was conducted, prior to the transaction being
submitted for processing electronically by the vendor.

CONTRACT FORMATION AND FULFILMENT

156. (1) Vendors shall take reasonable steps to ensure that

consumers’ agreement to contract is fully informed
and intentional. In particular, consumers shall be
provided with a meaningful opportunity to correct or
cancel the order, before it is accepted and
processed.

(2) When an order cannot be fulfilled within the time
frame originally specified, vendors shall promptly
notify consumers, and provide them with the option of
cancelling the order at no charge, except when
doing so would be unreasonable.

(3) When consumers contract for the ongoing provision

of products, and there is a material change in the
products or contract, vendors shall:

(a) in a timely manner notify consumers prior to any

contractual change;

(b) through a simple online method of cancellation,

provide consumers with a meaningful
opportunity to decline further supply of the
products without incurring cost or further
obligation; and

(c) provide timely confirmation of any such

cancellation.

(4) Vendors shall not hold consumers liable for any
charges related to a transaction in the following
circumstances:

(a) the transaction was not authorized by the

consumer;

(b) the product delivered was materially different

from that described by the vendor;

(c) the vendor failed to provide material information

about the product;

(d) the product was not delivered in the time

specified, or under the conditions stated in the
original offer;

(e) there was no adequate opportunity for the

consumer to cancel an inadvertent transaction
when the consumer acted reasonably; or

(f) the product was damaged irreparably in transit

by the vendor’s carrier, or a third party, such that
the consumer could not reasonably be
expected to accept possession of the goods
related to the transaction.

Under these circumstances, vendor shall refund any

payments consumers make, including, when
applicable, any reasonable charges consumer pay
directly to return the product in question to the
vendor in good order or return the damaged
products, if they were damaged in transit before
reaching the consumer, and within a reasonable
time.

(5) Vendors shall maintain effective controls designed to

ensure that transactions are billed and completed as
agreed, to promptly rectify any mistakes in
transaction records, and to ensure that consumers are
notified of any such correction.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO ONLINE PRIVACY

ONLINE PRIVACY

157. (1) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall respect and protect the privacy of
personal information they receive from their users or
consumers.

(2) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall make their privacy policy easily
accessible from their website and whenever personal
information is either requested or collected.
Information that must be disclosed as part of the
privacy policy includes the following:

(a) the specific kinds and sources of information

being received, collected and maintained
online, the purposes for which the information is
collected, how that information is being used,
and to whom the information may be disclosed;

(b) the choices available to users or consumers

regarding the collection, use and disclosure of
their personal information, how they may
exercise and change these choices, and the
implications of such choices;

(c) how users or consumers may review and, when

necessary, correct or remove such information;
and

(d) when the website uses “cookies,” how and why

they are used and the consequences, if any, of
user’s or consumer’s refusal to accept a cookie.

(3) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall limit their collection, use and disclosure
of personal information to that which a reasonable
person would consider appropriate in the
circumstances.

(4) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall not require users or consumers to

consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal
information beyond what is necessary to complete a
transaction.

(5) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall not disclose personal information to
affiliates or third parties for purposes other than the
transactions unless specifically and expressly
authorized by users or consumers in advance, through
a clearly worded opt-in process.

(6) When ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors transfer personal information to third parties,
they shall remain responsible for the protection of that
information. Accordingly, before any such transfer,
the ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and
vendors shall ensure, through contractual, legal or
other means, that the third parties comply with the
privacy provisions of Sections 157 to 161 of this
chapter.

SECURITY OF PAYMENT AND PERSONAL INFORMATION

158. (1) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall maintain effective controls to protect
the integrity and confidentiality of payment and other
personal information that users or consumers provide.
Security mechanisms shall be consistent with current
global industry standards and appropriate to the type
of information collected, maintained or transferred to
third parties.

(2) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall ensure that third parties who are
involved in transactions and have access to personal
or payment information comply with Sub-section (1).

UNSOLICITED E-MAIL

159. Any e-mail messages ICT facility providers, ICT service

providers and vendors send shall prominently display a
return e-mail address and shall provide in plain language a
simple procedure by which users or consumers can notify
the concerned ICT facility providers, ICT service providers
and vendors that they do not wish to receive such
messages.

COMMUNICATIONS WITH CHILDREN

160. (1) Online activities directed at children impose a social

responsibility on ICT facility providers, ICT service
providers and vendors. All communications to
children, or likely to be of particular interest to
children, must be age-appropriate, must not exploit
the credulity, lack of experience or sense of loyalty of
children.

(2) Recognizing the unique nature of online

communications and specific concerns regarding
children, ICT facility providers, ICT service providers
and vendors shall take all reasonable steps to prevent
transactions or offensive communications with
children.

(3) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall not collect or disclose children’s
personal information without the express, verifiable
consent of their parents or guardians. When seeking
parental consent, ICT facility providers, ICT service
providers and vendors shall clearly specify the nature
of the proposed communications, the personal
information being collected and all potential uses of

the information.

(4) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall not knowingly publish or send material of
a pornographic or sexually exploitative nature to
children.

REDRESS

161. (1) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall provide users or consumers with access
to fair, timely and effective means to resolve
problems with any transaction.

(2) ICT facility providers, ICT service providers and

vendors shall offer an internal complaints-handling
process that:

(a) is easily accessible online and offline;

(b) is available to users or consumers free of charge;

(c) is easy to use;

(d) acknowledges complaints within ten business

days of receipt and endeavours to resolve or
address these complaints within thirty days of
acknowledgment;

(e) records and monitors complaints; and

(f) is auditable by a professionally qualified

independent third party.

(3) When a user or consumer on the one hand and an
ICT facility provider, ICT service provider and vendor

on the other hand cannot resolve a complaint, the
Bhutanese ICT facility provider, ICT service provider
and/or vendor should offer to refer the matter to the
Authority. Similarly, when a complaint remains
unresolved and the user or consumer involved is a
foreigner, he should refer the matter to Authority.

(4) The dispute resolution services of the Authority,

referred to in Sub-section (3), shall:

(a) be available to be initiated online and

irrespective of users’ or consumers’ location;

(b) be easily accessible to users or consumers (e.g.

via a hyperlink from ICT facility providers’, ICT
service providers’ and vendors’ websites);

(c) be easy to use;

(d) be offered at nominal or no cost to users or

consumers;

(e) be expeditious, with reasonable time limits for

each stage of the process;

(f) be fair (i.e. meet the standards of due process);

and

(g) commit ICT facility providers, ICT service

providers and vendors to abide by awards when
users or consumers agree to them.

(5) An appeal against a decision of the Authority under

Sub-section (4) may be made within forty-five days of
such decision to the Appellate Tribunal.

(6) An offence under Sections 157 to 161 of this chapter
shall be an offence as defined under the Penal Code.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO DOMAIN NAMES

DISPUTES INVOLVING DOMAIN NAME VIOLATIONS AT
INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

162. The Minister, with the advice of the Authority, may resolve

disputes involving domain names of the Bhutanese person
at international level through appropriate dispute
settlement mechanisms, including those established by the
World Intellectual Property Organisation and other
international bodies.

CIVIL ACTION AGAINST A DOMAIN NAME VIOLATOR

163. (1) A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner

of a trade mark, including a personal name which is
protected as a trade mark, if, without regard to the
goods or services of the parties, that person with a
mala fide to profit from that trade mark, including a
personal name which is protected as a trade mark,
registers, trades in or uses a domain name that:

(a) in the case of a trade mark that is distinctive at

the time of registration of the domain name, is
identical or confusingly similar to that trade
mark; and

(b) in the case of a famous trade mark that is

famous at the time of registration of the domain
name, is substantially identical or confusingly
similar to that trade mark.

(2) In determining whether a person has a mala fide
described under Sub-section (1), a Court may
consider factors such as, but not limited to the:

(a) trade mark or other intellectual property rights of

the person, if any, in the domain name;

(b) extent to which the domain name consists of the

legal name of the person or a name that is
otherwise commonly used to identify that
person;

(c) person’s prior use, if any, of the domain name in

connection with the bona fide offering of any
goods or services;

(d) person’s bona fide non-commercial or fair use of

the mark in a website accessible under the
domain name;

(e) person’s intent to divert consumers from the

trade mark owner’s online location to a website
accessible under the domain name that could
harm the goodwill represented by the mark,
either for commercial gain or with the intent to
tarnish or disparage the mark, by creating a
likelihood of confusion as to the source,
sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the
website;

(f) person’s offer to transfer, sell, or otherwise assign

the domain name to the mark owner or any
third party for financial gain without having
used, or having an intent to use, the domain
name in the bona fide offering of any goods or

services, or the person’s prior conduct indicating
a pattern of such conduct;

(g) person’s provision of material and misleading

false contact information when applying for the
registration of the domain name, the person’s
intentional failure to maintain accurate contact
information, or the person’s prior conduct
indicating a pattern of such conduct;

(h) person’s registration or acquisition of multiple

domain names which the person knows are
identical or confusingly similar to marks of others
that are distinctive at the time of registration of
such domain names, or dilutive of famous marks
of others that are famous at the time of
registration of such domain names, without
regard to the goods or services of the parties;
and

(i) extent to which the mark incorporated in the

person’s domain name registration is or is not
distinctive and famous.

(3) Mala fide described under Sub-section (2) shall not be

found in any case in which the Court determines that
the person believed and had reasonable grounds to
believe that the use of the domain name was a fair
use or otherwise lawful.

(4) In any civil action involving the registration, trafficking,

or use of a domain name under this paragraph, a
Court may order the forfeiture or cancellation of the
domain name, the transfer of the domain name to
the owner of the mark or to the Bhutan Network

Information Centre’s delegated administrative and
technical contact for domain registration.

(5) A person shall be liable for using a domain name

under Sub-section (1) only if that person is the domain
name registrant or that registrant’s authorized
licensee.

(6) As used in this Section, the terms “trades in” and

“traffics in” refers to transactions that include, but are
not limited to, sales, purchases, loans, pledges,
licenses, exchanges of currency, and any other
transfer for consideration or receipt in exchange for
consideration.

JURISDICTION IN REM CIVIL ACTIONS AGAINST DOMAIN NAME

VIOLATORS

164. The owner of a trade mark may file an in rem civil action

against a domain name in the jurisdiction in which the
domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other
domain name authority that registered or assigned the
domain name is located if the:

(a) domain name violates any right of the owner of a

registered or protected trade mark, or

(b) Court finds that the owner is not able to obtain in

personam jurisdiction over a person who would have
been a defendant in a civil action under this Section.

THE MINISTRY TO ACT AS A REGISTRAR OF DOMAIN NAMES

165. The Ministry, as a public neutral body, shall act as Bhutan

Network Information Centre (BTNIC) and registrar of
domain names in Bhutan and shall ensure an effective

protection of the registered domain names both at
national and international levels.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS, THEIR

OPERATIONS AND LIABILITY

HOSTING

166. (1) Internet service providers shall be responsible in

accordance with general laws of Bhutan for their own
content, which they make available (host) for use.

(2) However, an Internet service provider shall not be

liable for storing any third-party content, which he
makes available (host) for use provided:

(a) he has no knowledge of such illegal content

and its illegality;

(b) he is not aware of facts or circumstances from

which the illegal activity or information is
apparent;

(c) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness,

he acts expeditiously to remove or to disable
access to the information; or

(d) he is not technically able and can not

reasonably be expected to block the use of
such content.

(3) This Section shall not affect the possibility for a Court

or the Authority, of requiring the Internet service
provider to terminate or prevent an infringement, nor
does it affect the possibility of establishing procedures

governing the removal or disabling of access to
information.

ACCESS PROVIDING

167. (1) An Internet service provider shall not be liable for any

third-party content which he transmits or routes for
merely providing access of that content over the
Internet provided the Internet service provider does
not:

(a) initiate the transmission;

(b) select the receiver of the transmission; and

(c) select or modify the information contained in the

transmission.

(2) The acts of transmission and of provision of access
referred to in Sub-section (1) include the automatic,
intermediate and transient storage of the information
transmitted in so far as this takes place for the sole
purpose of carrying out the transmission over the
Internet, and provided that the information is not
stored for any period longer than is reasonably
necessary for the transmission.

(3) This Section shall not affect the possibility for a Court

or the Authority of requiring the Internet service
provider to terminate or prevent an infringement.

(4) The obligations in accordance with general laws of

Bhutan to block the use of illegal content shall remain
unaffected if the Internet service providers obtain
knowledge of such content and if blocking is

technically feasible and can reasonably be
expected.

CACHING

168. (1) For the purpose of providing Internet access, Internet

service provider shall not be liable for the automatic,
intermediate and temporary storage of information,
performed for the sole purpose of making more
efficient the information's onward transmission to
other recipients of the service upon their request, on
condition that the Internet service provider:

(a) does not modify the information;

(b) complies with rules regarding the updating of

the information, specified in a manner widely
recognised and used by industry;

(c) does not interfere with the lawful use of

technology, widely recognised and used by
industry, to obtain data on the use of the
information; and

(d) acts expeditiously to remove or to disable

access to the information it has stored upon
obtaining actual knowledge of the fact that the
information at the initial source of the
transmission has been removed from the
network, or access to it has been disabled, or
that a Court or the Authority has ordered such
removal or disablement.

(2) This Section shall not affect the possibility for a Court

or the Authority of requiring the Internet service
provider to terminate or prevent an infringement.

NO GENERAL OBLIGATION TO MONITOR

169. (1) Internet service providers shall not be under a general

obligation, when providing the services covered by
Sections 166, 167, and 168 above to monitor the
information which they transmit or store, nor a general
obligation actively to seek facts or circumstances
indicating illegal activity.

(2) However, the Internet service providers shall promptly

inform the Authority or the Superintendent of Police or
in the absence of a Superintendent, the highest
ranking Police Officer, in the nearest police station
having the jurisdiction, of alleged illegal activities
undertaken by recipients of their service.

NOTICE AND TAKE DOWN

170. (1) An Internet service provider shall not be liable if he,

upon notification of claimed infringement as
described in Sub-section (2), responds expeditiously to
remove, or disable access to, the material that is
claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of
infringing activity.

(2) Elements of notification:

(a) To be effective under this Sub-section, a

notification of claimed infringement must be a
written or electronic data communication
provided to the Internet service provider or his
designated agent that includes substantially the
following:

(i) A physical or electronic signature of a
person authorized to act on behalf of the
owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly
infringed;

(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work

claimed to have been infringed, or, if
multiple copyrighted works at a single
online site are covered by a single
notification, a representative list of such
works at that site;

(iii) Identification of the material that is

claimed to be infringing or to be the
subject of infringing activity and that is to
be removed or access to which is to be
disabled, and information reasonably
sufficient to permit the Internet service
provider to locate the material;

(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit

the Internet service provider to contact the
complaining party, such as an address,
telephone number, and, if available, an
electronic mail address at which the
complaining party may be contacted;

(v) A statement that the complaining party

has a good faith belief that use of the
material in the manner complained of is
not authorized by the copyright owner, its
agent, or the law; and

(vi) A statement that the information in the

notification is accurate, and under penalty
of perjury, that the complaining party is

authorized to act on behalf of the owner of
an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

(b) A notification that fails to comply substantially

with the provisions of Sub-section (2)(a) shall not
be considered in determining whether an
Internet service provider has actual knowledge
or is aware of facts or circumstances from which
infringing activity is apparent.

(3) Replacement of removed or disabled material and

limitation on other liability:

(a) Subject to Sub-section (3)(b), an Internet service
provider shall not be liable to any person for any
claim based on the Internet service provider’s
good faith disabling of access to, or removal of,
material or activity claimed to be infringing or
based on facts or circumstances from which
infringing activity is apparent, regardless of
whether the material or activity is ultimately
determined to be infringing.

(b) Sub-section (3)(a) shall not apply with respect to

material residing at the direction of a subscriber
of the Internet service provider on a system or
network controlled or operated by or for the
Internet service provider that is removed, or to
which access is disabled by the Internet service
provider, pursuant to a notice provided under
Sub-section (1), unless the Internet service
provider:

(i) takes reasonable steps promptly to notify

the subscriber that it has removed or
disabled access to the material;

(ii) upon receipt of a counter notification

described in Sub-section (4), promptly
provides the person who provided the
notification under Sub-section (1) with a
copy of the counter notification, and
informs that person that it will replace the
removed material or cease disabling
access to it in ten business days; and

(iii) replaces the removed material and ceases

disabling access to it not less than ten (10),
nor more than fifteen business days
following receipt of the counter notice,
unless its designated agent first receives
notice from the person who submitted the
notification under Sub-section (1) that such
person has filed an action seeking a Court
order to restrain the subscriber from
engaging in infringing activity relating to
the material on the Internet service
provider’s system or network.

(4) Contents of counter notification: To be effective

under this Sub-section, a counter notification must be
a written communication provided to the Internet
service provider or his designated agent that includes
substantially the following:

(a) A physical or electronic signature of the

subscriber.

(b) Identification of the material that has been

removed or to which access has been disabled
and the location at which the material

appeared before it was removed or access to it
was disabled.

(c) A statement under penalty of perjury that the

subscriber has a good faith belief that the
material was removed or disabled as a result of
mistake or misidentification of the material to be
removed or disabled.

(d) The subscriber’s name, address, and telephone

number, and a statement that the subscriber
consents to the jurisdiction of Courts, and that
the subscriber will accept service of process
from the person who provided notification under
Sub-section (1) or an agent of such person.

(5) An Internet service provider shall not unlawfully

knowingly reinstate, or restore access to, material that
is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of
infringing activity, after initially removing, or disabling
access to that material, contrary to the above
provisions.

PROVISIONS RELATING TO CERTAIN CYBER OFFENCES

UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO COMPUTER MATERIAL

171. (1) A person shall be guilty of the offence of unauthorised

use of property if:

(a) he causes a computer of another person to

perform any function with intent to secure
access to any programme or data held in that
computer;

(b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised;
and

(c) he knows at the time when he causes the

computer to perform the function that that is the
case.

(2) The intent a person has to commit an offence under

this Section may be general and needs not to be
directed at:

(a) any particular programme or data;

(b) a programme or data of any particular kind; or

(c) a programme or data held in any particular

computer.

(3) Any person who is found guilty of an offence shall, on
conviction, be liable for such offence as prescribed
under the Penal Code.

(4) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence

under this Section, in addition to the penalties
prescribed by the Penal Code for this offence, a
Court may, in accordance with the gravity of crime,
impose an additional fine of up to one thousand five
hundred days of the daily minimum national wage
rate.

UNAUTHORISED ACCESS WITH INTENT TO COMMIT OR FACILITATE

COMMISSION OF FURTHER OFFENCE

172. (1) A person shall be guilty of the offence of unauthorised

use of property under this Section if he commits an

offence referred to in Section 171 above with intent
to:

(a) commit an offence involving fraud or dishonesty

or which causes injury as defined under the
provisions of the Penal Code, or

(b) facilitate the commission of such an offence

whether by himself or by any other person.

(2) For the purposes of this Section, it is immaterial
whether the offence to which this Section applies is to
be committed at the same time when the unauthorised
access is secured or on any future occasion.

(3) Any person who is found guilty of an offence shall, on

conviction, be liable for such offence as prescribed
under the Penal Code.

HACKING

173. (1) Whoever, with the intent to cause or knowing that he

is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the
public or any person, destroys or denies service or
deletes or alters any information residing in a
computer or diminishes its value or utility or affects it
injuriously by any means, including buffer over-flow,
commits hacking.

(2) In addition to any civil action for damages allowed

under any law, whoever commits hacking shall be
guilty of the offence of tampering with computer
materials under the Penal Code.

VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT (PENETRATION) TESTING

174. (1) Any person, with the intent to assess the security

vulnerabilities of a computer by performing a
penetration test, shall not cause or knowing that he is
likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the
computer, destroy or delete or alter any information
residing in the computer or diminishes its value or utility
or affect it injuriously by any means.

(2) Whoever undertakes a test of a computer’s security

vulnerabilities shall do so only after agreeing to the
terms of the vulnerability assessment test with the
authorised owner of a computer, or their agent. The
agreement shall cover the following areas:

(a) all consulting and information gathering to

probe all devices as specified by the
organisation, but not devices which are outside
the scope;

(b) discuss the organisation’s security policy to

determine company standards and best
practices;

(c) discuss the issues surrounding the decision to

perform the penetration test against a
production network, and analyze the risks
associated with such a test;

(d) discuss the organisation’s ability to recover from

loss of data during testing by having in place
adequate incident-response and disaster-
recovery plans that have been developed and
verified before testing begins;

(e) plan the test with the organisation’s ICT
technical staff, and determine what is off limits
during the test;

(f) involve the technical staff of the organisation

when required to ensure the integrity of the test
and to reduce the risk of vulnerability to the
organisation;

(g) perform the penetration testing of only the

specified devices; and

(h) report the findings to the organisation only, and

not to other third parties.

(3) Whoever undertakes a vulnerability assessment
(penetration) test, without due regard to the above
conditions, shall be guilty of an offence, under the
Penal Code.

PROHIBITION OF ONLINE HARASSMENT

175. (1) Whoever:

(a) knowingly within Bhutan or in foreign

communications with Bhutan by means of an ICT
device makes any harassing communication in
any form including any comment, request,
suggestion, proposal, or image via e-mail, short
message service (SMS), or other online
communication means, regardless of whether
the maker of such communication placed the
call or initiated the communications, or

(b) knowingly permits any ICT facility under such

person’s control to be used for an activity

prohibited by Sub-sections 171(1) and 172 (1)
above with the intent that it be used for such
activity,

shall be guilty of the offence of harassment.

(2) (a) No person shall be held to have violated Sub-

section (1) solely for providing access or
connection to or from a facility, system, or
network over which that person has no control,
including related capabilities which are
incidental to providing access or connection.
This Sub-section shall not be applicable to an
individual who is a conspirator with, an entity
actively involved in the creation, editing or
knowing distribution of harassment
communications, which violate this Section.

(b) No employer shall be held liable under this

Section for the actions of an employee or agent
unless the employee’s or agent’s conduct is
within the scope of his employment or agency
and the employer has knowledge of, authorizes,
or ratifies the employee’s or agent’s conduct.

PROHIBITION OF ONLINE PROTEST WEB SITES

176. (1) Whoever, be it an individual or a group, who:

(a) knowingly within Bhutan or in foreign

communications with Bhutan by means of an ICT
device makes or makes available any online
protest website communication which is
calculated to undermine the sovereignty,
security, unity and integrity of Bhutan or the
peace, stability and well-being of the nation, in

any form, including any comment, request,
suggestion, proposal, or image regardless of
whether the maker of such communication
placed the call or initiated the communications;
or

(b) knowingly permits any ICT facility under such

person’s control to be used for an activity
prohibited by Sub-section (1)(a) with the intent
that it be used for such activity,

shall, in the case of an individual, be guilty of the
offence of sedition. Further, in the case of a group,
each individual member of the group shall be guilty
of the offence of sedition.

(2) (a) No person shall be held to have violated Sub-

section (1) solely for providing access or
connection to or from a facility, system, or
network over which that person has no control,
including related capabilities which are
incidental to providing access or connection.
This Sub-section shall not be applicable to an
individual who is a conspirator with, an entity
actively involved in the creation, editing or
knowing distribution of online protest web-site
communications, which violate this Section.

(b) No employer shall be held liable under this

Section for the actions of an employee or agent
unless the employee’s or agent’s conduct is
within the scope of his employment or agency
and the employer has knowledge of, authorizes,
or ratifies the employee’s or agent’s conduct.

WRONGFUL COMMUNICATION

177. (1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if he knowingly

communicates directly or indirectly a number, code,
password or other means of access to a computer to
any person other than a person to whom he is duly
authorised to communicate.

(2) An offence under this Section shall be a felony of the

fourth degree.

INTRODUCTION OF COMPUTER CONTAMINANT OR COMPUTER
VIRUS

178. Any person, without permission of the owner or any other

person who is in-charge of a computer, intentionally
introduces or causes to be introduced any computer
contaminant or computer virus into any computer, shall be
guilty of the offence of tampering with computer materials,
which shall be a felony of fourth degree.

PROHIBITION OF OBSCENE COMMUNICATIONS

179. (1) Whoever:

(a) knowingly within Bhutan or in foreign

communications with Bhutan by means of an ICT
apparatus makes or makes available any
obscene communication in any form including
any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, or
image regardless of whether the maker of such
communication placed the call or initiated the
communications, or

(b) knowingly permits any ICT facility or ICT service

under such person’s control be used for an

activity prohibited by Sub-section (1)(a) with the
intent that it be used for such activity,

shall be guilty of the offence of computer
pornography, which shall be a misdemeanour.

(2) (a) No person shall be held to have violated Sub-

section (1) solely for providing access or
connection to or from an ICT facility or network
over which that person has no control, including
related capabilities which are incidental to
providing access or connection. This Sub-section
shall not be applicable to an individual who is a
conspirator with, an entity actively involved in
the creation, editing or knowing distribution of
communications, which violate this Section.

(b) No employer shall be held liable under this

Section for the actions of an employee or agent
unless the employee’s or agent’s conduct is
within the scope of his employment or agency
and the employer has knowledge of, authorizes,
or ratifies the employee’s or agent’s conduct.

PROHIBITION OF ONLINE GAMBLING

180. (1) A person shall be guilty of the offence of gambling if

he knowingly engages in betting or wagering with the
use of an ICT facility or ICT service.

(2) An online gambler and Internet service provider, if

involved in any activity related to betting or
wagering, shall fall within the purview of Sub-section
(1) and the term “betting or wagering” encompasses
the offering of prizes in lieu of money. Further, no

cyber-casinos are allowed to be established, under
this Act.

(3) In addition to the penalties prescribed by the Penal

Code for this offence, a Court may impose an
additional fine of up to two thousand days of the daily
minimum national wage rate.

(4) This Section shall not affect the possibility for a Court

or the Authority of requiring the ICT facility or ICT
service provider and the Internet service provider to
terminate or prevent an infringement.

(5) This Section shall not apply to any betting or wagering

activity approved or licensed by the Authority or by
any other Department or Agency of the Government.

TERRITORIAL SCOPE OF OFFENCES UNDER THIS CHAPTER

181. (1) The provisions of this Chapter shall have effect, in

relation to any person, whatever his nationality or
citizenship, outside as well as within Bhutan.

(2) Where an offence under this Chapter is committed by

any person in any place outside Bhutan, he may be
dealt with as if the offence had been committed
within Bhutan.

(3) For the purposes of this Section, this Chapter shall

apply if, for the offence in question:

(a) the accused was in Bhutan at the material time;

or

(b) the computer, programme or data was in

Bhutan at the material time or capable of being

connected to or sent to or used by or with a
computer in Bhutan at the material time.

POWER OF POLICE OFFICER TO ACCESS COMPUTER AND DATA

182. (1) A police officer or a person authorised in writing:

(a) may at any time:

(i) have access to and inspect and check the

operation of any computer to which this
Section applies;

(ii) use or cause to be used any such

computer to search any data contained in
or available to such computer; or

(iii) have access to any information, code or

technology which has the capability of
retransforming or unscrambling encrypted
data contained or available to such
computer into readable and
comprehensible format or text for the
purpose of investigating any offence under
this Act or any other offence which has
been disclosed in the course of the lawful
exercise of the powers under this section;

(b) may require:

(i) the person by whom or on whose behalf,

the police officer or investigation officer
has reasonable cause to suspect, any
computer to which this Section applies is or
has been used; or

(ii) any person having charge of, or otherwise
concerned with the operation of, such
computer,

to provide him with such reasonable technical
and other assistance as he may require for the
purposes of Sub-section (1)(a); or

(c) shall be entitled to require any person in

possession of decryption information to grant
him access to such decryption information
necessary to decrypt data required for the
purpose of investigating any such offence.

(2) The powers referred to in Sub-sections (1)(a)(ii),

(1)(a)(iii) and (1)(c) shall be exercised only in
accordance with a prior search order from a Court of
competent jurisdiction.

(3) Any person who obstructs the lawful exercise of the

powers under Sub-section (1)(a) or who fails to
comply with a request under Sub-sections (1)(a) or
(1)(c) shall be guilty of the offence of obstruction of
lawful authority as prescribed under the Penal Code.

SUPPLEMENTAL

ELECTRONIC TRANSFER OF FUNDS

183. The Minister, in consultation with appropriate Governmen-

tal agencies and representatives of business enterprises,
may make Regulations for fund transfer through electronic
means between the banks or between the banks and
other financial institutions, including the laying down of the
conditions subject to which banks and other financial
institutions shall participate in such fund transfers, the

manner of such fund transfers and the rights and
obligations of the participants in such fund transfers.

CHAPTER EIGHT: OFFENCES, PENALTIES, LEGAL PROCEEDINGS,

MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL

FRAUDULENT USE OF PUBLIC ICT SYSTEM

184. (1) A person who dishonestly obtains a service provided by

means of a public ICT system with intent to avoid
payment of any charge applicable to the provision of
the service shall be guilty of the offence of theft of
services.

(2) A person who uses any authorisation code, password or

any other restricted form of electronic access device
for the purpose of obtaining a service provided by
means of a public ICT system with intent to avoid
payment of any charge applicable to the provision of
the service shall be guilty of the offence of
unauthorised use of property.

IMPROPER USE OF PUBLIC ICT SYSTEM

185. A person who:

(a) sends, by means of a public ICT system a message or

other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent,
obscene or menacing character shall be guilty of the
offence of lewd and lascivious conduct; and

(b) sends by those means, for the purpose of causing

annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to
another, a message that he knows to be false or
persistently makes use for that purpose of a public ICT

system shall be guilty of the offence of harassment, as
defined under the Penal Code.

MODIFICATION OF MESSAGES

186. A person engaged in the operation of a public ICT system

who otherwise than in the course of his duty in accordance
with this Act intentionally modifies or interferes with the
contents of a message sent by means of that system shall be
guilty of the offence of tampering with computer materials.

POWER TO PROSCRIBE UNACCEPTABLE FOREIGN BROADCASTING
SERVICES

187. (1) The Authority may, by an order, proscribe any foreign

ICT service, including foreign broadcasting service,
within Bhutan if it is convinced that there is repeatedly
contained in the programmes broadcast by that
service matter which threatens the sovereignty,
security, unity and integrity of Bhutan, or is likely to
lead to incitement to an offence, or offends against
good taste or decency, or is contrary to the provisions
of this Act, Regulations, directives or Rules.

(2) If after an order under Sub-section (1) is made, any

person within Bhutan does any of the following acts,
namely:

(a) supplies, or offers to supply, any goods,

equipment or material for or in connection with
the operation or day-to-day functioning of the
proscribed service;

(b) supplies, or offers to supply, directly or indirectly,

any programmes or other software intended to

be included in the programmes transmitted by
the proscribed service;

(c) advertises, by means of any programmes

transmitted by the proscribed service, any goods
or services provided by him; or

(d) advertises or publicises through any means to

the general public in Bhutan details of any
programmes to be transmitted by the proscribed
service;

he shall be guilty of an offence, punishable under the

Penal Code. In accordance with the severity of an
offence, a Court may impose an additional fine of up
to five hundred days of the daily minimum national
wage rate.

(3) Where, for reasons of national security, the Minister is

of the opinion that it is necessary to prevent the
receipt within Bhutan of any service referred to in Sub-
section (1), he may, by order,

(a) authorise the preventing or jamming of the

signals of such service by appropriate technical
means; or

(b) take an appropriate action contemplated

under Section 14 above:

Provided, however, that any such order shall only
remain in force for such period as the threat to
national security referred to above, in the opinion of
the Minister, remains present.

UNLAWFUL INTERCEPTION AND DISCLOSURE OF MESSAGES

188. (1) A person engaged in the operation of a public ICT

system who otherwise than in the course of his duty:

(a) intentionally intercepts a message sent by means
of that system; or

(b) where a message so sent has been intercepted,

intentionally discloses to any person the contents
of that message;

shall be guilty of the offence of eavesdropping.

(2) A person engaged in the operation of a public ICT
system who otherwise than in the course of his duty in
accordance with this Act intentionally discloses to any
person the contents of any statement of account
specifying the ICT services provided for any other
person by means of that system shall be guilty of an
offence, which shall be a felony of the fourth degree.

(3) Sub-section (1) above does not apply to anything done

in obedience to a warrant issued by a Court, and
paragraph (b) of that Sub-section and Sub-section (2)
do not apply to any disclosure in connection with the
investigation of any criminal offence or for the purposes
of any criminal proceedings.

MISLEADING MESSAGES AND INTERCEPTION AND DISCLOSURE OF

MESSAGES

189. (1) Any person who by means of a public ICT system, sends

or attempts to send, any message which, to his
knowledge, is false or misleading and is, to his
knowledge, likely to prejudice the efficiency of any

safety of life service or endanger the safety of any
person or of any vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or spacecraft,
and, in particular, any message which, to his
knowledge, falsely suggests that a vehicle, vessel,
aircraft or spacecraft is in distress or in need of
assistance or is not in distress or not in need of
assistance shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be a
felony of the fourth degree.

(2) Any person who otherwise than under the authority of
the Authority or in the course of his duty as a servant of
the Government, either:

(a) uses any ICT apparatus with intent to obtain

information as to the contents, sender or
addressee of any message which neither the
person using the apparatus nor any person on
whose behalf he is acting is authorised by the
Authority to receive; or

(b) except in the course of legal proceedings or for

the purpose of any report thereof, discloses any
information as to the contents, sender or
addressee of any such message, being
information which would not have come to his
knowledge but for the use of an ICT apparatus by
him or by another person,

shall be guilty of an offence of official misconduct.

OFFENCES RELATING TO EXHIBITION OF PROHIBITED FILMS

190. Any person who:

(a) exhibits publicly or allows the public exhibition on
any premises any film which has not been
certified by the Authority;

(b) exhibits publicly or allows the public exhibition on

any premises to any person who is not an adult
any film which has been granted an ‘A’
certificate by the Authority;

(c) exhibits publicly or allows the public exhibition on

any premises to any child or young person under
the age of twelve who is not accompanied by
an adult any film which has been granted a
certificate with a ‘PG’ endorsement by the
Authority;

(d) exhibits publicly or allows the public exhibition on

any premises any film which has, without lawful
authority, been altered, modified or tampered
with in any way after the film has been certified
by the Authority;

shall be guilty of the offence of lewd and lascivious
conduct under the Penal Code.

PROHIBITION OF AFFIXING PLACARDS AND NOTICES

191. A person who without due authority affixes or attempts to

affix any placard, advertisement, notice, list, document,
board or thing in or on any office, telegraph post or other
property belonging to or used by a provider of a public ICT
system shall be guilty of the offence of unlawful posting of
advertisement.

ENTRY AND SEARCH OF PREMISES

192. (1) If a Court is satisfied upon application supported by

sworn evidence that there is reasonable ground for
suspecting that an offence under this Act (or under
Regulations or Rules made under this Act), has been or
is being committed, and that evidence of the
commission of the offence is to be found on any
premises specified in the information, or in any vehicle,
vessel or aircraft so specified, it may, in accordance
with the provisions of the Civil and Criminal Procedure
Code, issue a search warrant authorising any person or
persons named in the warrant, with or without any
police officers, to enter, at any time within a specified
time from the date of the warrant, the premises
specified in the information, as the case may be, the
vehicle, vessel or aircraft so specified and any premises
upon which it may be, and to search the premises, or,
as the case may be, the vehicle, vessel or aircraft, and
to examine and test any apparatus found on the
premises, vessel, vehicle or aircraft.

(2) If a Court is satisfied upon application supported by

sworn evidence that:

(a) there is reasonable ground for believing that, on
any specified premises or in any specified vessel,
aircraft or vehicle, apparatus to which Section 86
above applies is to be found which does not
comply with the requirements applicable to it
under the National Radio Rules made under that
Section;

(b) it is necessary to enter those premises, or that

vessel, aircraft or vehicle, for the purpose of
obtaining such information as will enable the

Authority to decide whether or not to serve a
notice under Section 87 above; and

(c) access to the premises, vessel, aircraft or vehicle

for the purpose of obtaining such information as
aforesaid has, within fifteen days before the date
of the application to the Court, been demanded
by a person authorised in that and after
producing sufficient documentary evidence of his
identity and authority, but has been refused;

the Court may issue a written authorisation empowering any
person or persons authorised in that behalf by the Authority and
named in the authorisation, with or without any police officers to
enter the premises, or as the case may be vessel, aircraft or
vehicle and any premises on which it may be and to search the
premises, vessel, aircraft or vehicle with a view to discovering
whether any such apparatus as aforesaid is situate thereon or
therein, and, if he finds or they find any such apparatus thereon or
therein, to examine and test it with a view to obtaining such
information as aforesaid:

Provided that, an authorisation shall not be issued
under this Sub-section unless either:

(i) it is shown to the Court that the Authority is

satisfied that there is reasonable ground for
believing that the use of the apparatus in
question is likely to cause harmful
interference with any radiocommunication
used for the purposes of any safety of life
service or any purpose on which the safety
of any person or of any vessel, vehicle,
aircraft or spacecraft may depend; or

(ii) it is shown to the Court that not less than
seven days’ notice of the demand for
access was served on the occupier of the
premises, or, as the case may be, the person
in possession or the person in charge of the
vessel, aircraft or vehicle, and that the
demand was made at a reasonable hour
and was unreasonably refused.

(3) Where under this Section a person has a right to

examine and test any apparatus on any premises or in
any vessel, aircraft or vehicle, it shall be the duty of any
person who is on the premises, or is in charge of, or in or
in attendance on, the vessel, aircraft or vehicle, to give
him any such assistance as he may reasonably require
in the examination or testing of the apparatus.

(4) Any person who:

(a) obstructs any person in the exercise of the powers

conferred on him under this Section shall be guilty
of the offence of obstruction of lawful authority;

(b) fails or refuses to give to any such person any

assistance which he is under this Section under a
duty to give to him shall be guilty of the offence of
failure to assist lawful authority;

(c) discloses, otherwise than for the purposes of this

Act or of any report of proceedings thereunder,
any information obtained by means of the
exercise of powers under this Act, being
information with regard to any manufacturing
process or trade secret, shall be guilty of the
offence of official misconduct;

and criminal proceedings for an offence under this Sub-
section may be instituted.

SEIZURE OF APPARATUS AND OTHER PROPERTY

193. (1) This Section applies to any offence under Sections 82

and 86 to 90 above.

(2) Where

(a) a search warrant is granted under Section 192

above; and

(b) the suspected offence (or any of the suspected

offences) is an offence to which this Section
applies;

the warrant may authorise the person or persons
named in it to seize and detain, for the purposes of any
relevant proceedings, any apparatus or other thing
found in the course of the search carried out in
pursuance of the warrant which appears to him or
them to have been used in connection with or to be
evidence of the commission of any such offence.

(3) After obtaining a warrant from the Court, a person or

persons named in the warrant shall, in accordance
with the provisions of the Civil and Criminal Procedure
Code, enter the premises, vehicle, any vessel or
aircraft, and may seize and detain, for the purposes
of any relevant proceedings, any apparatus or other
thing which appears to him to have been used in
connection with or to be evidence of the commission
of any such offence.

(4) Nothing in this Section shall prejudice any power to
seize or detain property which is exercisable by a police
officer apart from this Section.

PENALTIES AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

194. (1) Any person committing any offence under this Act:

(a) shall, if the offence is under Section 82 above, and

consists either:

(i) in the installation or use, otherwise than
under and in accordance with a
radiocommunication licence, of any
apparatus not designed or adapted for
emission (as opposed to reception); or

(ii) in a contravention, in relation to any such

apparatus, of any Regulation made under
Section 82 above;

be liable, in the case of the first such offence, to a
misdemeanour, and in the case of any
subsequent offence, to a felony of the fourth
degree;

(b) shall, if the offence is under Sections 86 to 90

above and consists in the use, or in the causing or
permitting of the use, or in the selling, offering or
advertising for letting on hire, of apparatus in
contravention of a notice of the Authority, not
being apparatus the use of which is likely to cause
undue interference with any radiocommunication
used for the purposes of any safety of life service
or any purpose on which the safety of any person
or of any vessel, aircraft or vehicle may depend,

be liable, in the case of the first such offence, to a
misdemeanour, and in the case of any
subsequent offence, to a felony of the fourth
degree.

(2) Where a person is convicted of:

(a) an offence under this Act consisting in any

contravention of any of the provisions in Section
82 above in relation to any radiocommunication
station or any radiocommunication apparatus or
in the use of any apparatus for the purpose of
interfering with any radiocommunication; or

(b) any offence under Sections 86 to 90 above;

the Court may, in addition to any other penalty, order
all or any (of the apparatus of the station, as the case
may be) of the apparatus in connection with which the
offence was committed, to be forfeited to the
Authority.

The power conferred by virtue of paragraph (a) above

does not apply to radiocommunication apparatus not
designed or adapted for emission (as opposed to
reception).

(3) Apparatus may be ordered to be forfeited under this

Section notwithstanding that it is not the property of the
person by whom the offence giving rise to the forfeiture
was committed, and any apparatus ordered to be
forfeited under this section may be disposed of, as per
Court order, by the Authority in such manner as it thinks
fit.

(4) The Court by whom any apparatus is ordered to be
forfeited under this Section may also order the person
by whom the offence giving rise to the forfeiture was
committed not to dispose of that apparatus except by
delivering it up to the Authority within forty-eight hours
of being so required by him.

DISPOSAL OF APPARATUS AND OTHER SEIZED PROPERTY

195. (1) Any property seized by a person authorised by the

Authority in pursuance of a warrant under Section 192
above or in exercise of the power conferred by Section
193 above may be detained until the end of the period
of six months beginning with the date of the seizure.

(2) After the end of the period for which its detention is

authorised by virtue of Sub-section (1) above, any such
property which:

(a) remains in the possession of the Authority; and

(b) has not been ordered to be forfeited under

Section 194 above;

shall be dealt with in accordance with the following
provisions of this Section (and references to the relevant
property are references to any property to which this
Sub-section applies).

(3) The Authority shall take reasonable steps to deliver the

relevant property to any person appearing to it to be its
owner.

(4) Where the relevant property remains in the possession

of the Authority after the end of the period of one year
immediately following the end of the period for which

its detention is authorised by Sub-section (1), the
Authority may dispose of it in such manner as it thinks fit.

(5) The delivery of the relevant property in accordance

with Sub-section (3) above to any person appearing to
the Authority to be its owner shall not affect the right of
any other person to take legal proceedings against the
person to whom it is delivered or against anyone
subsequently in possession of the property for the
recovery of the property.

GENERAL PENALTIES FOR CONTRAVENTION OF ACT,

REGULATIONS AND RULES

196. (1) For the avoidance of doubt, where any provision of

this Act or of Regulations or of Rules or of order made
thereunder specifies the class of crime for an offence,
the person shall be liable to punishment for that class
of crime in accordance with the Penal Code, as well
as any additional penalty which may be imposed by
a Court in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(2) Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act

or of Regulations or of Rules or of order made
thereunder for which no penalty is specifically
provided shall be guilty of an offence, which shall be
a petty misdemeanour.

(3) Notwithstanding any provisions of this Act, the civil

liability of a licensee shall not exceed two-thirds of the
amount of his average gross annual income for the
last five years prior to the year in which the fault for
which he is convicted was committed.

OFFENCES BY BODIES CORPORATE

197. In determining the liability of a body corporate for an

offence under this Act, the Penal Code will apply.

JURISDICTION AND APPEALS

198. (1) The Authority is empowered to execute the provisions

of this Act where the jurisdiction of the Courts does
not extend.

(2) The Government shall establish and constitute an

appellate tribunal, as and when required, to be
known as the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Appellate
Tribunal, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(3) Appeals against the order of the Authority shall be

filed only to the Appellate Tribunal.

(4) Any party aggrieved by the decision of the Appellate
Tribunal shall file an appeal to the High Court.

(5) The Appellate Tribunal shall:

(a) be guided by the Guiding Regulatory Principles
for the Authority specified under Section 22; and

(b) have the powers to require information as the

Authority under Section 30.

(6) The presiding officer of the Appellate Tribunal shall be
a retired or sitting High Court judge, with two other
members, who are well-versed in the field of ICT, law
or administration, appointed by His Majesty the King.

(7) The arrangements for cessation, procedures,
remuneration, and other relevant matters related to
the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Appellate Tribunal
shall be prescribed in Regulations made in
accordance with the provisions of this Act.

POWER OF THE APPELLATE TRIBUNAL TO REGULATE ITS

PROCEDURE

199. The Appellate Tribunal shall have, for the purposes of

discharging its functions under this Act, the same powers as
are vested in a Civil Court under the Civil and Criminal
Procedure Code, while hearing a case, in respect of the
following matters, namely:

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any

person and examining him;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of documents;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses

or documents;

(e) requisitioning any public record or document or a

copy of such record or document, from any office;

(f) dismissing an application for default or deciding it, ex

parte;

(g) setting aside any order of dismissal of any application
for default or any order passed by it, ex parte;

(h) reviewing its decisions; and

(i) any other matter which may be prescribed in the
Rules.

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

200. There shall be paid out of money provided by the Ministry of

Finance any administrative expenses incurred by the Minister
in consequence of the provisions of this Act and any
increase attributable to this Act in the sums payable out of
money provided under any other Act.

AMENDMENT

201. The amendment of this Act by way of addition, variation or

repeal may be effected only by the Parliament.

AUTHORITATIVE TEXT

202. In any instance of a difference in meaning between the

Dzongkha and English texts of this Act, the Dzongkha text
shall prevail

DEFINITIONS

203. Unless the context otherwise requires, the following words

and terms used in this Act shall have the following
meanings assigned to them:

“Addressee”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, of a data
message means a person who is intended by the originator to
receive the data message, but does not include a person acting
as an intermediary with respect to that data message.

“Adult” means a person who is eighteen years of age or above.

“Advisory Committee” means the ICT and Media Advisory
Committee as established under this Act.

“Apparatus” means any device which is designed, constructed or
adapted for use in connection with the operation of an ICT facility
for transmitting, conveying or receiving any ICT and media service
and, in particular includes: any line, that is to say, any wire, cable,
tube, pipe or other similar thing (including its casing or coating),
which is so designed or adapted; any structure, pole or other thing
in, on, by or from which any ICT apparatus is or may be installed,
supported, carried or suspended; and customer equipment.

“Appellate Tribunal” means the Bhutan Infocomm and Media
Appellate Tribunal as established under this Act.

“Authority” means the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority as
established under this Act.

“Bhutan” means the Kingdom of Bhutan.

“Book” includes every volume, part of a volume, pamphlet,
booklet, brochure, and every sheet of music notation, map,
chart or plan separately printed, in whatever form and
language, but it shall not include pamphlets, booklets, brochures
or other material produced solely for advertising or publicity
purposes or, where it is published by a body, for its internal
organisational purposes, or where it is published by a political
party, for recognised electoral campaigning purposes.

“Broadcasting” means the dissemination, whether through free
space (including by satellite) or through cables or billboards, in
un-encoded or encoded form, of any form of communication,
including signs, signals, pictures, images, graphics, data or
sound, or a combination of them, intended to be received by
the general public or any section of the general public, by
means of any broadcasting receiving apparatus.

“Broadcasting receiving apparatus” means any equipment,
device or system capable of, or designed or constructed for, the
reception of any broadcasting service and includes “broadcast
television receiver” (any apparatus used for audio and visual
reception in monochrome or colour of any broadcast signals) or
“broadcast sound receiver” (any apparatus used for the aural
reception of any broadcast signals).

“Broadcasting service” means an ICT service for providing
broadcasting to persons having appropriate equipment,
including broadcasting receiving apparatus, for receiving that
service regardless of the means of delivery of that service, but
does not include: a service (including a teletext service) that
provides only data, or text (with or without associated still
images); or a service that makes programmes available on
demand on a point-to-point basis, including a dial-up service; or
a service, or a class of services, that the Authority may
determine and notify as not being a broadcasting service.

“Business” includes a trade, profession or employment and also
includes any activity carried out by a person, whether
incorporated or unincorporated.

“Cabinet” means the Cabinet of the Royal Government of
Bhutan.

“Certificate”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a data
message or other record confirming the link between a signatory
and signature creation data.

“Certification service provider”, for the purposes of Chapter
Seven, means a person that issues certificates and may provide
other services related to electronic signatures.

“Channel” means a set of frequencies used for transmission of a
programme.

“Cinematograph” includes any apparatus for the representation
of moving pictures.

“Commercial”, in addition to its ordinary meaning, be given a
wider interpretation for the purposes of Chapter Seven, in order
to cover matters arising from all relationships of a commercial
nature whether contractual or not, and includes but not limited
to the following transactions: any trade transaction for the
supply or exchange of goods or services, distribution agreement,
commercial representation or agency, factoring, leasing,
construction of works, consulting, engineering, licensing,
investment, financing, banking, insurance, exploitation
agreement or concession, joint venture and other forms of
industrial or business cooperation, carriage of goods or
passengers by air, sea, rail or road.

“Communication” means the process of conveyance of content
through transmission, emission or reception of signals, by wire or
other electromagnetic emissions.

“Company” means a body incorporated under the Companies
Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2000.

“Computer” means any electronic, magnetic, optical or other
high-speed data processing device or system which performs
logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of
electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input,
output, processing, storage, computer software, or
communication facilities which are connected or related to the
computer in a computer system or computer network.

“Computer contaminant” means any set of computer
instructions that are designed: (a) to modify, destroy, record,

transmit data or programme residing within a computer,
computer system or computer network; or (b) by any means to
usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer system
or computer network.

“Computer virus” means any computer instruction, information,
data or programme that destroys, damages, degrades or
adversely affects the performance of a computer or attaches
itself to another computer and operates when a programme,
data or instruction is executed or some other event takes place
in that computer.

“Consumer” means a person who uses a product for personal,
family, household, or business purposes.

“Content” means any information, sound, text, data, picture (still
or moving), other audio-visual representation, signal or
intelligence of any nature or any combination thereof which is
capable of being created, processed, stored, retrieved or
communicated electronically or otherwise.

“Control”, unless the context indicates otherwise, means control
in any manner that results in control in fact, whether directly
through the ownership of securities or indirectly through a trust,
agreement or arrangement, the ownership of any body
corporate or otherwise.

“Court” means the Royal Courts of Justice having its appropriate
jurisdiction.

“Cross media” means any combination of components of the
media.

“Customer equipment” means any equipment, apparatus or
instrument along with its connecting link unto the interface unit
connecting with an ICT facility.

“Damage”, in addition to its ordinary meaning, means to
destroy, alter, delete, add, modify or rearrange any computer
data by any means.

“Data”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a
representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or
instructions which are being prepared or have been prepared in
a formalized manner, and is intended to be processed, is being
processed or has been processed in a computer system or
computer network, and may be in any form (including computer
printouts, magnetic or optical storage media, punched cards,
punched tapes) or stored internally in the memory of the
computer.

“Data message”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means
information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic,
optical or similar means including, but not limited to, electronic
data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex or
telecopy, and acts either on its own behalf or on behalf of the
person it represents.

“Decryption information” means information or technology that
enables a person to readily re-transform or unscramble
encrypted data from its unreadable and incomprehensible
format to its plain text version.

“Director” means the Director or the Director General of Bhutan
Infocomm and Media Authority.

“Directory information service” means a service consisting in the
provision by means of an ICT facility or ICT service of directory
information for the purpose of facilitating the use of ICT services.

“Document” means any printed material including books,
newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets, maps, charts,

plans, and any printed material bound together for sale,
distribution or circulation, and the word ‘document’ includes an
electronic document.

“Editor” means a person having editorial or equivalent
responsibility for media content and for the decision to publish or
broadcast or web-cast that content. This term shall include any
person who controls the editorial policy of the newspaper,
broadcast, electronic media or other periodical, by whatever
title he may be known within his organisation.

“Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical,
magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, biometric and photonic or
similar capabilities, whether digital, analogue or otherwise.

“Electronic commerce” or “e-commerce” means a commercial
activity that involves buying, distribution of products and
services, leasing, licensing, marketing, production, publicity,
promotion, selling, or otherwise providing a product or service
online, including over the Internet, and this includes soliciting
donations and operating contests and clubs.

“Electronic communication” means communication by
electronic means.

“Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)” means the electronic
transfer from computer to computer of information using an
agreed standard to structure the information.

“Electronic government” or “e-government” or “e-governance”
means giving to citizens with the use of ICT the choice of when
and where to access Government information and services.

“Electronic signature” or “e-signature” means data in electronic
form in, affixed to or logically associated with a data message,
which may be used to identify the signatory in relation to the

data message and to indicate the signatory’s approval of the
information contained in the data message.

“Emergency services” means the police, fire, ambulance and
such other emergency services as may be prescribed in the
Regulations and Rules under this Act.

“Encrypted” or “encoded” means treated electronically or
otherwise for the purpose of preventing intelligible reception by
unauthorised persons and the word “unencrypted” or
“unencoded” shall have the contrary meaning.

“Encrypted data” means data which has been transformed or
scrambled from its plain text version to an unreadable or
incomprehensible format, regardless of the technique utilised for
such transformation or scrambling and irrespective of the
medium in which such data occurs or can be found for the
purposes of protecting the content of such data.

“Entertainment” includes any performance, dance, exhibition,
amusement, game, sport or race to which persons are admitted
with or without payment, but does not include performance of a
drama.

“Film” means a cinematograph film and includes
cinematograph films contained in celluloid, video-tape or on
compact discs (CDs) or on digital versatile discs (DVDs).

“Foreign company” means a body corporate incorporated
outside Bhutan.

“Foreign journalist” means any journalist who: (i) regardless of
whether he is a citizen or permanent resident of Bhutan, is
employed by a foreign newspaper in any journalistic capacity
within Bhutan, whether temporarily or on a long-term basis; or (ii)
not being either a citizen or permanent resident of Bhutan, works

as a correspondent or reporter within Bhutan for any newspaper,
whether temporarily or on a long-term basis.

“Foreign newspaper” means any newspaper published outside
Bhutan for an audience largely outside Bhutan.

“Frequency” means frequency of electromagnetic waves used
for providing an ICT service.

“Free-to-air”, in the context of a broadcasting service, means a
non-encrypted broadcasting service made available for
reception by receiving equipment commonly available to the
public without requiring payment of a subscription fee.

“Government” means the Royal Government of Bhutan.

“Governmental agency” means and includes the Parliament,
ministries, departments, divisions, public corporations, and
authorities.

“Harmful interference”, in relation to radiocommunications,
means any form of emission, radiation, induction or other
electromagnetic effect which endangers the functioning of, or
seriously degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts any
radiocommunication service operated in accordance with the
provision of this Act.

“ICT” means information and communications technology,
which includes the full range of electronic technologies and
techniques used to manage information and knowledge.

“ICT facility” means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is
used or is capable of being used principally for, or in connection
with, the provision of ICT services, and includes a transmission
facility as well as any or all of the following facilities: fixed links
and cables, computer facilities, pay-phone/communication

facilities, radiocommunication transmitters, receivers and links,
satellite earth stations, towers, poles, and ducts and pits used in
conjunction with other facilities. This term does not include
customer equipment, but includes such other services as may be
prescribed by Rules; unless otherwise stated, ICT facility relates to
public ICT facility.

“ICT facility provider” means a person who owns or operates or
provides any ICT facility.

“ICT network facility” means any element or combination of
elements of physical infrastructure used principally for, or in
connection with, the provision of ICT services, but does not
include customer equipment, and includes such other facilities
as may be prescribed by Rules; unless otherwise stated, ICT
network facility relates to public ICT network facility.

“ICT network service” means any element or combination of
elements of ICT services provided with the use of any ICT facility
or combination of ICT facilities, and includes such other services
as may be prescribed by Rules; unless otherwise stated, ICT
network service relates to public ICT network service.

“ICT service” means any or all of the following services:
telecommunications services, like public telephony, telegraphy,
facsimile, cellular telephony, and pay-phone/communication
services, broadcasting services, like satellite broadcasting,
broadcasting distribution (cable television), mobile satellite,
subscription broadcasting, and terrestrial free-to-air television
and radio broadcasting, information technology services, like
Internet service, web-casting, e-mail and all other sorts of e-
services, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, digital library and
commercial information services, network-based information
and related specialised professional services provided by
electronic means, public-switched data and any other similar
service, and includes such other services as may be prescribed

by Rules; unless otherwise stated, ICT service relates to public ICT
service.

“ICT service provider” means a person who owns or provides or
operates any ICT service.

“ICT system” means an ICT network service and ICT network
facility used by a person or another person to provide ICT and
media service; unless otherwise stated, ICT system relates to
public ICT system.

“Information” includes information (whether in its original form or
otherwise) that is in the form of a document, a signature, a seal,
data, text, images, sound, or speech.

“Information system” means a system for generating, sending,
receiving, storing or otherwise processing data messages.

“Intelligence” means signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or
intelligence of any nature.

“Intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of the contents
through the use of such devices or means as considered
necessary.

“Interconnection” means the physical or logical connection of
public ICT facilities of different ICT facility and/or ICT service
providers and/or media service providers.

“Internet” means an international telecommunication network
through which computers are interconnected.

“Internet access” means access to the Internet or to any similar
global system for linking networks together using, as the basis for
communications, transmission protocols or Internet Protocol or
any protocols amending or replacing them.

“Intermediary”, with respect to a particular data message,
means an Internet Service Provider and a person who, on behalf
of another person, sends, receives or stores that data message
or provides other services with respect to that data message.

“International organisation”, unless the context otherwise requires,
means the United Nations and any of its specialised agencies, and
other inter-governmental organisations.

“Internet-based publication” means any matter that is made
available to the general public via the Internet, including the
World Wide Web.

“Internet Service Provider (ISP)” means a natural or legal person
or associations of persons who make available either their own
or third-party content over the Internet or who provide access to
the Internet.

“Journalist” includes an editor, sub-editor, editorial writer,
reporter, freelance contributor and any other person who is
engaged in the task of editing, reporting or writing for a
newspaper or broadcasting service.

“Licence fees” means the initial, annual or renewal fees payable
to the Authority by an applicant or a licensee, as the case may
be, for a licence.

“Licensee” or “permit-holder” means any person who has been
granted a licence or a permit under this Act or the Regulations,
as the case may be.

“Licensed service” means a service licensed under this Act.

“Media” means relevant ICT services, including broadcasting
and where pertinent, also includes: newspapers, books, journals,

periodicals, brochures, pamphlets, circulars, magazines,
publications and other works made available to the general
public in printed and/or electronic form or format;
cinematographic films, performance of dramas and other
entertainments made accessible to the general public; radio
and television channels and/or stations broadcasting to the
general public (whether terrestrial or satellite-based); the
Internet accessible to the general public; Internet-based
suppliers of information, news and entertainment accessible to
the general public; and news agencies engaged in collecting,
processing and collating news reports, feature articles and/or
other material, or supplying such material to any of the aforesaid
media, for the purposes of public dissemination.

“Media service” means service provided through any mode of
media and made available to the general public.

“Message”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a
communication sent, delivered to, received or transmitted, or
intended to be sent, delivered, received or transmitted by
telecommunication and includes any information that enables
the identification of the origin and destination of the
communication and the date and time it was transmitted or
received.

“Minister” means a member of the Cabinet and who is in-charge
of the Ministry of Information and Communications acting solely in
his official capacity.

“Ministry” means the Ministry of Information and Communications
of the Government.

“Movie hall” or “movie theatre” or “cinema hall” means any
premises used for the exhibition of a film to which members of
the public may gain admittance, whether on payment of a
charge or otherwise.

“National Radio Rules” means Rules having the force of law and
made by the Authority.

“Newspaper” means any publication containing news,
information, reports of events / occurrences, or comments,
published in any form and in any language for sale or free
distribution at regular intervals; this term includes magazines and
other periodicals, but does not include any publication
published by or for the Government.

“Number” means any identifier which would need to be used in
conjunction with any public ICT service for the purposes of
establishing a connection with any termination point in a public
ICT facility, user, ICT apparatus connected to any public ICT facility
or service element, but excluding any identifier which is not
accessible to the generality of users of a public ICT service.

“Obscene” means material and/or information that: (a)
obviously relates to sex or shows sex; (b) is designed to incite to
indecency or lust; and (c) appeals predominantly to an interest
in sexual conduct, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a
patently offensive way, and lacks serious literary, artistic,
political, or scientific value, but does not include any material
and/or information of specifically artistic or religious nature and
scope.

“Originator” of a data message, for the purposes of Chapter
Seven, means a person by whom or on whose behalf, the data
message purports to have been sent or generated prior to
storage, if any, but it does not include a person acting as an
intermediary with respect to that data message.

“Performance of drama” means any drama, play or other form
of artistic expression, which is capable of being performed live
by actors before an audience, usually in a public place.

“Person” includes any individual, partnership, company,
unincorporated organization, Government, Governmental
agency, trustee, executor, administrator or other legal
representative.

“Personal data” or “personal information” means any data or
information which relates to a person who can be identified:
from that data; or from that data or other information which is in
the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the
ICT service provider or ICT facility provider, and includes any
expression of opinion about that person and any indication of
the intentions of the ICT service provider or ICT facility provider or
any other person in respect of that person.

“Plain text version”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means
original data before it has been transformed or scrambled to an
unreadable or incomprehensible format.

“Printing” includes writing, lithography, cyclostyling,
photocopying, photography, and any other physical or
electronic modes or forms of representing or reproducing words,
pictures, designs or objects in a visible form.

“Product” means a good, service, contract for service or other
item of value.

“Programme” means any matter, or arrangement of matter,
including matter whether or not of a commercial nature (such as
advertisements), television or radio programme, advertising or
sponsorship, which is intended to inform, educate or entertain
the audience to which it is broadcast, or intended to be
broadcast, but this term does not include any matter that is
wholly or substantially in the form of, or related to, any private
communication.

“Proprietor” means owner and for the purposes of fixing
responsibility for operations of a company, includes the chief
executive officer of the company.

“Public ICT facility” means an ICT network facility used by a
person to provide ICT service to the public for compensation.

“Public ICT service” means an ICT network service used by a
person to provide ICT service to the public for compensation.

“Public ICT system” means an ICT network facility and ICT
network service used by a person to provide ICT service to the
public for compensation.

“Public place” means any premises, including a building or open
air auditorium, to which any member of the general public may
be able to gain admission, whether on payment of a charge or
otherwise.

“Publication”, unless the context indicates otherwise, means the
act of making information or stories available to people in any
electronic or print form.

“Radiocommunication” means telecommunication by means of
radio waves and includes the emitting or receiving, over paths
which are not provided by any material substance constructed or
arranged for that purpose, of a frequency or electromagnetic
energy, being energy which either: serves for the conveying of
messages, sound or visual images (whether the messages, sound
or images are actually received by any person or not) or for the
actuation of control of machinery or apparatus; or is used in
connection with the determination of position, bearing or
distance, or for the gaining of information as to the presence,
absence, position or motion of any object or any objects of any
class; and references to radiocommunication stations or
radiocommunication apparatus shall be construed as references

to stations and apparatus for the emitting or receiving as aforesaid
of such electromagnetic energy.

“Radiocommunication service” means a service involving the
transmission, emission and/or reception of radio waves for
specific ICT service, including broadcasting.

“Radio”, unless the context indicates otherwise, means the system
or work of broadcasting sound programmes for the public to listen
to.

“Radiocommunication station” includes the radiocommunication
apparatus of a ship, aircraft, satellite or earth station.

“Rate” means an amount of money or other consideration and
includes zero consideration.

“Regulations” means Regulations having the force of law and
made by the Minister, as specifically authorised under this Act.

“Relevant association”, for the purposes of Section 28, means any
association (whether incorporated or not) whose membership
consists wholly or mainly of persons engaged in the provision of ICT
facilities, ICT services, media services or of persons employed by or
representing persons so engaged and whose objects or activities
include the promotion of the interests of persons so engaged.

“Relying party”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a
person that may act on the basis of a certificate or an electronic
signature.

“Rules” means Rules having the force of law and made by the
Authority, as authorised under this Act, and includes National
Radio Rules.

“Signatory”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a person

that holds signature creation data and acts either on his own
behalf or on behalf of the person he represents.

“Spectrum” means a continuous range of radio frequencies up
to and including a frequency of 3000 Gigahertz.

“Station” includes all premises housing studios, transmitters,
receivers or other equipment or facilities, and relay stations, and
in the context of broadcasting service, also means any place
from where any matter is broadcast.

“Subscriber” of a service means a person who subscribes to a
specific ICT and media service primarily for his own use;

“Telecommunication” means any transmission, emission or
reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or
intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other
electromagnetic systems.

“Telecommunication service” means a service provided by
means of ICT facilities and includes the provision in whole or in
part of ICT facilities and any related equipment, whether by sale,
lease or otherwise.

“Television” means the conveyance of visual information,
together with one or more channels of associated audio or
suitable encoded textual information, or both.

“Terrestrial”, in the context of broadcasting service, means
pertaining to the use of a ground-based transmitter.

“Transaction”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means an
agreement between a vendor and a consumer for provision of
a product.

“Transmission facility” means any wire, cable, radio, optical or
other electromagnetic system, or any similar technical system,
for the transmission of intelligence between termination points,
but does not include any transmission apparatus, exempted by
Rules.

“Universal access” or “Universal service” is an evolving precept
that the Authority shall precisely define and revise, if necessary,
periodically by the Rules, taking into account advances in
information and communication technologies and services as
well as the principles of quality and just, reasonable, affordable
rates, access to advanced services, access in rural and high-
cost areas, equitable and non-discriminatory contributions,
specific predictable support mechanisms, access to services for
schools, libraries and health care, and competitive neutrality.

“Universal Service Obligation (USO)” means a condition of
licence that is imposed or to be imposed by the Authority on a
provider of ICT facilities, ICT services and media services to
provide universal service and to contribute to the universal
service fund that is managed or to be managed by the
Authority; provided, however, that such obligation shall be
imposed in a transparent, non-discriminatory and competitively
neutral manner and shall not be more burdensome than
necessary for the kind of universal service desired to be
achieved by the Authority.

“Vendor”, for the purposes of Chapter Seven, means a business
or non-profit organization conducting electronic commerce
directly with consumers.

“Vessel” means a vessel of any description used in water
navigation.

GENERAL INTERPRETATION

204. In this Act:

(a) word importing the masculine gender shall
include the feminine gender and neutral gender,
as the case may be;

(b) word in the singular shall include the plural and

vice versa;

(c) “act”, in relation to any person, includes any

commission or omission of an act which he is
under a duty to do and “done” shall be construed
accordingly;

(d) any reference to the sending or the conveying of

messages includes a reference to the making of
any signal or the sending or conveying of any
warning or information, and any reference to the
reception of messages shall be construed
accordingly;

(e) any reference to a subsidiary and a wholly-owned

subsidiary shall be construed in accordance with
the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan
2000; and

(f) any over-lap or inconsistency between the

functions, responsibilities and powers of the
Minister on the one hand and those of the
Authority on the other hand, shall be resolved
keeping in mind that while the Minister is in charge
of overall and general policy and legislative
aspects of ICT and media industry, the Authority
as an independent regulatory body has specific

(g) For the purpose of removal of any doubt, the

provisions of this Act do not apply to the letter and
parcel services of the Bhutan Postal Corporation
Ltd. or a private sector postal operator except as
provided by another Act.

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