Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2001_English version_
THE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE OF
Royal Government of Bhutan
“Establish a justice devoid of bias or partiality”
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel
THE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE OF BHUTAN, 20 01
We, the People, the Dratsang, and the Royal Government of Bhutan, in Order to
‘maintain the quality of an unimpaired flowing of heavenly stream of
Justice’ and ensure domestic Tranquility to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Civil and Criminal Procedur Code for the Kingdom of
1. Short Title, Commencement and Extent
1.1. This Code shall:
(a) be called THE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
CODE OF BHUTAN, 2001;
(b) come into force in the year of the Female Iron Snake Year,
Sixth Month, the Third Day, corresponding to the Twenty-
Third day of July, 2001; and
(c) apply to all persons throughout the territory of Bhutan or
otherwise within the judicial reach of the Royal Courts of
Justice of Bhutan.
1.2. The provisions of OM, AA and HUNG of the Thrimzhung
Chhenmo, 1959, are inviolable by this Code.
1.3. The provisions of the following sections of law are h reby,
(a) Chapter 11(1) & 11(2) except Da 2-12 of the Thrimzhung
(b) Section Pa 5 of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo, 1959; and
(c) Sections 13, 19, 27, 28, 29, and 30 of the Bhutan Police Act,
Principles of the Judiciary
The Independence of the Judiciary
2. The Judiciary is separate from the Legislature and Executive and is fully
independent in the exercise of its functions.
2.1 The Executive shall have a duty to provide for the ex cution of
judgments of all the Courts.
Equal Justice under Law
3. All persons are equal before the law and are entitld to equal and effective
protection of the law without discrimination on the grounds of race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth or other status.
3.1 A citizen shall have the right to be tried by the ordinary courts of
law and shall not be tried before ad hoc tribunals.
4. Every person is entitled to a fair and public trial by an independent and
impartial Court in any proceeding. The Court may in its discretion
exclude the press and the public from all or any part of the trial or other
proceedings only if there is a compelling need to do so in the interest of:
(a) public order;
(b) national security;
(c) the privacy of the parties;
(d) protecting the privacy of a juvenile; and
(e) in any other situation, if in the opinion of the Court publicity would
seriously prejudice the interests of justice.
5. The Courts shall decide matters before it impartially on the basis of fact
and in accordance with the rule of law.
6. There shall be no bias or perceived bias in the judicial process.
6.1. A Drangpon/Rabjam shall disqualify himself/herself or be
disqualified from presiding or dealing with a case where:
(a) he/she is related to any party to the case;
(b) circumstances exist which affects or could be construed to
affect his/her impartiality; or
(c) his/her act contravenes the Code of Conduct.
7. A member of a family may on behalf of a person imprisoned on a criminal
conviction or a person detained, request the Supreme/High Court to issue
an order of Habeas Corpus for the production of the person before the
The Structure of the Courts
The Structure of the Courts
8. The Courts shall be:
(a) the Supreme Court of Bhutan;
(b) the High Court;
(c) the Dzongkhag Courts; and
(d) the Dungkhag Courts.
The Supreme Court
9. The Supreme Court shall:
(a) be established in obedience to kasho of His Majesty the Druk
(b) be presided over by the Chief Justice of Bhutan;
(c) be the highest Court of Justice in Bhutan with all other Courts
within the territory of Bhutan subordinate to it; and
(d) have such number of Drangpons as His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo
may appoint upon the recommendation of the National Judicial
The High Court
10. The High Court shall:
(a) be presided over by a Chief Justice of the High Court;
(b) have such number of Drangpons as His Majesty the King shall
appoint upon the recommendation of the National Judicial
(c) discharge its duties and functions individually or in benches, as the
Chief Justice may decide; and
(d) have such number of benches constituted by the Chief Justice as
may be required in the interest of Justice.
The Dzongkhag Court
11. A Dzongkhag Court shall:
(a) be established in every Dzongkhag;
(b) be presided over by a Drangpon; and
(c) have such number of benches established from time to time by the
Chief Justice of Bhutan.
The Dungkhag Court
12. A Dungkhag Court shall be presided over by a Dungkhag Drangpon.
Appointment of Drangpons
13. His Majesty the King shall appoint legally qualified, experienced and
competent persons of high integrity as:
(a) the Chief Justice of Bhutan;
(b) Drangpons of the Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of the
National Judicial Commission;
(c) Chief Justice and Drangpons of the High Court, upon the
recommendation of the National Judicial Commission; and
(d) Drangpons of the Dzongkhag Courts, upon the recommendation of
the National Judicial Commission.
13.1. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall appoint legally qualified,
experienced and competent persons f high integrity as Drangpons
of the Dungkhag Court, upon the recommendation of the Judicial
Appointment of Rabjams
13.2. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall appoint legally qualified,
experienced and competent persons of high integrity as Rabjam.
Oath of Allegiance and Secrecy
13.3. After receiving the warrant of appointment from His Majesty the
Druk Gyalpo, the Chief Justice shall administer an 'Oath of
Allegiance and Secrecy' before a Court and obtain a written pledge
“I… in the name of the Triple Gem and the guardian deities of the
Kingdom of Bhutan do solemnly swear and affirm that I will
faithfully perform the duties of my office without fear or favour,
affection or ill-will and will to the best of my ability, preserve,
protect and defend Tsa-Wa-Sum with Tha Damsti and Ley
The National Judicial Commission
14. His Majesty the King shall appoint qualified, experienced and competent
persons of high integrity as members of the National Judicial
The Chairman of the National Judicial Commission
14.1. The Chief Justice of Bhutan shall be the Chairman of the National
15. Every Drangpon shall:
(a) enjoy security of tenure, quamdiu se bene gesserint; and
(b) be censured , suspended or removed from office only by an order of
His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo upon the recommendation of the
National Judicial Commission for proven misbehavior r
Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
16. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall extend to the whole of
Bhutan, all persons therein, and all persons with an established legal
relationship to Bhutan. The Jurisdiction shall be ex rcised in accordance
with this Code.
Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
17. The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction over cases.
18. Where a question of law or fact is of such a nature and of such public
importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court
upon it, His Majesty the King may refer the question t that Court for its
consideration. The Court shall hear the reference and submit to His
Majesty the King its opinion thereon.
19. Where a particular case is not covered or is only partially covered by this
or any other law in force, and is not otherwise excluded from adjudication,
the Supreme Court/High Court shall have original jurisdiction over it.
20. The Supreme/High Court shall exercise jurisdiction outside Bhutan on the
bases of the following principles:
(c) passive personality;
(f) flag jurisdiction; and
Jurisdiction of the High Court
21. The jurisdiction of the High Court shall extend to the whole of Bhutan, all
persons therein, and all persons with an established legal relationship to
Bhutan. The Jurisdiction shall be exercised in accordance with this Code.
Original Jurisdiction of the High Court
22. The High Court shall have original jurisdiction over cases:
(a) arising out of or under international treaties, conventions and
(b) where the lower Court does not otherwise have original jurisdiction;
(c) between two or more Dzongkhags;
(d) in which Bhutan or the Government of Bhutan is a party; and
(e) of right of Habeas Corpus.
23. The High Court may exercise appellate jurisdiction over:
(a) any judicial review on appeal from an administrative adjudication;
(b) any order/decision/judgment of a Dzongkhag Court.
Original Jurisdiction of Dzongkhag Court
24. A Dzongkhag Court shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases where
venue exists in its territorial jurisdiction and original jurisdiction of the
High Court does not apply.
Appellate Jurisdiction of Dzongkhag Court
25. A Dzongkhag Court shall exercise appellate jurisdiction over an appeal
from an order, decision or judgment of Dungkhag Courts subordinate to it.
Original Jurisdiction of Dungkhag Court
26. A Dungkhag Court shall exercise original jurisdictions in all cases where
venue exists in its territorial jurisdiction and the original jurisdiction of the
High Court and Dzongkhag Court does not apply.
Automatic Enforcement Orders
27. Where a Court of separate jurisdiction issues a warrant, order, decision or
judgment which must be carried out within the terrio ial jurisdiction of
another Court, the Issuing Court shall request by Court Order, the
Receiving Court to take necessary action.
27.1. The Receiving Court shall ensure that the Issuing Court’s warrant,
order, decision or judgment is carried out fully to the best of its
27.2. No line of appeal or judicial review shall vest in the Receiving
Court with regard to any such warrant, order, decision or judgment
of the Issuing Court.
27.3. Appellate review shall lie with the Issuing Court.
27.4. The line of appeal shall remain with the Court with appellate
jurisdiction over the Issuing Court with the appeal filed by the
aggrieved party to that Court in accordance with the appeal
procedures contained in this Code.
Powers of the Judiciary
Power to Adjudicate
28. When a complaint is properly admitted in accordance with this Code and
deemed justiciable, the Court shall:
(a) preside over all proceedings within its jurisdiction;
(b) not entertain any petition outside the Court;
(c) not delegate any power or authority over any element of a case to
any other person, institution or body;
(d) pronounce judgment based on relevant and reliable evidence
according to the law; and
(e) enforce orders, decisions and sentences in accordance with this
Code and other laws.
Power to fill Lacuna
28.1. Every Judge shall decide a case in accordance with the provisions
of Law. Where any section is ambiguous or there exists lacuna, the
decision of the majority Judges of the Supreme Court/High Court
29. The Royal Courts of Justice shall apply International Convention, Covenant,
Treaty and Protocol that are duly acceded by the Royal Government of
Bhutan and ratified by the National Assembly of Bhutan.
Power to Make Rules
30. The Supreme Court and the High Court may make rulesfor the purpose of
giving effect to the provisions of this Code.
30.1. The rules made under this Section may:
(a) be with regard to the use of forms or registers, etc. to be used
in the Courts;
(b) be with regard to the amount of compensation or damages to
be assessed by the Courts;
(c) with regard to any other matter which is to be or may be
(d) not be inconsistent with the provisions or the intentions of
this Code or any other law in force in Bhutan.
31. A Case shall be registered with the Registry of the Court.
31.1. The registration may be effected by:
(a) a representative of the State;
(b) a prosecutor or a Jabmi hired by the state to prosecute;
(c) the police officer;
(d) a victim or a victim’s next-of-kin; or
(e) an aggrieved person or his/her Jabmi/ next-of-kin.
31.2. A petitioner must have "legal standing" and the petition must
involve a concrete case or controversy.
32. The Court shall conduct Miscellaneous Hearing expeditiously before a case
has been registered with the Registry of the Court.
32.1. During the Miscellaneous Hearing, the Court shall:
(a) make an initial determination whether sufficient legal cause
exists to admit the case for proceedings according to the law;
(b) hear the case within the prescribed period; and
(c) give written reasons, if the petition of a party is d missed.
33. A person may:
(a) plead or defend himself/herself in person; or
(b) be represented by a Bhutanese Jabmi of his/her choosing and where
this right is waived it must be done competently and intelligently.
34. Only an indigent Accused shall have Legal Aid provided for one's defence
where the interest of justice so requires.
Scope of the Summons
35. All persons and legal entities may be made to appear and provide
evidence or otherwise participate in any legal process or procedure
through service of summons.
Power to issue Summons
35.1. Subject to the provisions of this Code, every Court may issue:
(a) service of process to a party in a civil suit;
(b) summons for the appearance of any person whose presnce is
required in connection with any civil or criminal proceeding
or judicial action; and
(c) summons for the production of any document or other
material object necessary for the purpose of any civil or
criminal proceeding or judicial action.
Subpoena and summons for witness
36. Every party to a case shall be entitled to present evidence in his/her
defence, including the right to subpoena relevant witnesses.
36.1. A Court may issue a subpoena or otherwise summon a witness to
provide testimony in a civil or criminal matter on:
(a) the request of any party to the suit; or
(b) it’s own motion, if the Court, in the pursuit of justice, deems
evidence of such witness essential.
36.2. Nothing in this Code shall preclude a plaintiff/prosecutor or a
respondent/defendant from presenting additional witnesses during
the Court proceedings without a Court Summons.
36.3. A witness so required to testify by a party may appear following
sufficient notice to the opposing party as determined by the Court to
enable effective cross-examination.
36.4. The witness and physical evidence must be presented within the
time period reasonably prescribed by the Court.
36.5. The Court shall grant adequate time to rebut evidence and cross-
examine witness of the opposing party.
37. The Court shall issue summons under the seal of the Court.
37.1. A Summons shall:
(a) state the name of the Court and the title of the cas ;
(b) order a person to whom it is directed to appear before the
Court in person at the time, date and place specified therein;
(c) order a person to whom it is directed to give testimony;
(d) order a person to produce evidence; or
(e) order a person to produce document/other material object on
the date and place specified therein.
Service of Summons
38. A Summons shall be served upon a person by delivering, tendering or
sending through registered mail to him/her a copy of the Summons.
38.1. Where the person to be served/summoned cannot by the exercise of
due diligence be found, the summons may be served by leaving a
(a) an adult member of his/her family; or
(b) a person living with him/her at the same dwelling.
38.2. The Court may also publish a written proclamation in any media
including electronic requiring a person to appear at a specified
place and time not less than twenty-one days from the date of
publishing such a proclamation, if service in person or by mail is
Serving of Summons Outside Jurisdiction
39. When a Court desires that a Summons issued by it be served outside its
territorial jurisdiction, it may:
(a) issue the Summons for service directly;
(b) send such a Summons in duplicate to a Dr ngpon within whose
territorial jurisdiction the person summoned reside; or
(c) have the process sent by a registered mail.
Return of Service
40. After delivering the service to the litigant, the official who served the
process shall file a return of the service of notice with the Court, which
issued the Summons.
Failure to Answer a Service of Process or Summons
41. Where a party fails to answer a Court-issued Servic of Process or
Summons, the Court may issue an order to the police to produce the party
41.1. Subsequent failure to answer the Summons may result in a finding
of contempt and the party may be subjected to civil or criminal
sanction or fine in accordance with the law.
Payment for Witness
42. The parties to the case shall pay to the witness so ummoned:
(a) reasonable traveling fare; and
(b) daily allowance at the prevailing rate prescribed by the Minimum
Sua Sponte Summons
42.1. If the Court summoned the witness ua sponte, after considering it
necessary, expedient or otherwise in the interest of justice to do so,
the Government shall pay reasonable travelling fare nd daily
allowance at the prevailing rate prescribed by the Minimum Wage
Purpose of Discovery
43. Discovery shall be allowed to:
(a) avoid unnecessary proceedings as to undisputed facts;
(b) aid in formulating issues;
(c) freeze testimony so as to prevent perjury;
(d) serve to prepare a case for summary Judgment;
(e) promote settlement of a case outside Courts; and
(f) preserve evidence of witness who may not be available t the time
of the trial.
Scope of Discovery
44. The party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged,
relevant to a specific claim or defence in an action.
Limits of Discovery
45. Discovery shall not be allowed if:
(a) a suit has not been legally initiated;
(b) it is unreasonably duplicative;
(c) information sought is obtainable through other source that is more
convenient, less burdensome or less expensive;
(d) it is unduly burdensome or expensive in the facts and circumstances
of the case;
(e) it is for irrelevant information including facts bearing no relation to
(f) it is to harass or embarrass a party or a witness;
(g) it is privileged information as defined in this Code;
(h) it is to protect the witness in the criminal trial; nd
(i) it is against the interest of the national security.
45.1. The party requesting discovery shall show both need an that
refusal to allow discovery would prejudice or cause extreme
hardship to him or her.
45.2. The discovering party must adequately describe the property to be
Timing of Discovery
46. The Court may prescribe such terms and conditions as are just, specifying the
time, place and manner of making the discovery and inspection.
Failure to Comply with Discovery
47. If a party has failed to comply with a legitimate request for discovery, the
(a) order such party to permit discovery;
(b) order such party to permit inspection;
(c) grant a continuance until such time as discovery has occurred;
(d) order whatever relief is deemed appropriate; and
(e) order the non-compliance party or legal representative o pay
reasonable Court costs, attorney fees or both.
Retention of Evidence
48. A Court shall arrange for retention of any evidence produced before it in
any suit to be impounded and
kept in the custody of the Court, for such period and subject to such
conditions as the Court deems fit.
48.1. A document admitted in evidence in a suit shall be endorsed with:
(a) the number and title of the suit;
(b) the name of the person producing the documents; and
(c) the date on which it was produced.
48.2. The endorsement shall be signed or initialed by the presiding judge.
Specific Discovery Devices
49. A party may request for an affidavit from a person regarding information
relevant to the case at hand.
49.1. An affidavit, which is written or printed declaration, shall be:
(a) statement of fact made voluntarily;
(b) confirmed by signed affirmation by the party making t; and
(c) taken before a person having authority to administer uch an
affirmation, as a Government or a Court official.
50. The Court may depose a person with relevant information.
50.1. A deposition shall be taken:
(a) before an officer legally authorized to take depositi ns;
(b) in a foreign country, subject to compliance with that
country's laws and rules pertaining to the taking of discovery;
(c) in accordance with the prescribed Interrogatories.
50.2. When the testimony is fully transcribed, the depositi n shall be:
(a) read out to the person deposed for verification as to its
(b) corrected, if necessary; and
(c) signed by the person deposed.
50.3. An illiterate person is entitled to have an official of the Court read
the statement to him/her before a literate witness to confirm its
50.4. The official of the Court and the witness shall sign the deposition
confirming the accuracy of what is written and what w s read to the
person deposed by the Court official.
51. A party may send a set of relevant questions to the o r party to the case.
51.1. A party has the duty to inspect before answering interrogatories to
ensure the accuracy of the response.
52. Statement made during discovery is admissible as sub tantive evidence or
impeachment evidence at proceedings to impeach a witness who makes an
inconsistent statement in the Court.
53. A deposition of an unavailable witness may be introduced into evidence at
Retraction or Striking out Evidence
54. The deposed party to a case may request the Court to strike out matters,
which he/she considers inadmissible from the deposition or interrogatory.
54.1. The party may seek to retract or strike out portions f discovery
pertaining to any witness if so warranted under the law.
Information Privileged from Discovery
55. Work-product is privileged from discovery.
55.1. Work-product shall include:
(a) materials, mental impressions, conclusions, opinions r legal
theories of opposing party and his/her legal representative;
(b) expert evidence given by the expert to the opposing party and
his/her legal representative informally.
55.2. Work product privileges cannot be used to hide facts relevant to the
56. Discovery of defendant's financial situation is generally not permitted
except when punitive damages are sought.
57. The Court shall not allow discovery of insurance policy limits for trial but
may allow it in order to allow the party an opportuni y to assess
adequately the settlement value of the case.
Protective and Modifying Orders
58. On a sufficient cause being shown, the Court may at any time order that
discovery or inspection be denied, restricted, deferr d or make such other
order as is appropriate.
Attachment of Property
59. When a property in dispute is located within the jurisdiction of a Court,
that Court at the request of a party to the dispute has the right to
adjudicate its status or ownership in accordance with this Code or other
59.1. Jurisdiction over a tangible property is attained by attachment and
over an intangible property by garnishment.
59.2. In accordance with this Code, the Court may order attachment of
(a) to obtain in rem or quasi in rem jurisdiction when the party to
a case has not acknowledged process;
(b) to prevent wasting, damaging, disposing or otherwise
impairing the value of the whole or any part of theproperty
in dispute that might be used in a case;
(c) to prevent the removal of the whole or any part of the
property in dispute from the territorial jurisdiction of the
(d) in cases of fraud and intentional torts.
59.3. In case property to be attached is found under the jurisdiction of a
separate Court, the concerned Court may issue a Court Order
requesting that separate Court to attach the disputed property.
59.4. In accordance with this Code, the Receiving Court shall enforce
such a Court Order.
59.5. The property to be attached shall be clearly demarcated and
relevant to the case.
Grounds and Due Process
60. Request for attachment shall be addressed directly to he Court.
60.1. Attachment procedures shall:
(a) comply with due process of law ;
(b) provide for notice; and
(c) provide an opportunity to be heard.
60.2. The plaintiff must show that sufficient grounds forattachment exist.
60.3. No person executing process of attachment or seizure of moveable
property shall enter any dwelling place seven anti-Meridian and
61. Under extraordinary circumstances, attachment may be granted ex-parte.
61.1. When attachment is issued ex-parte, the Court issuing such order
shall give an opportunity to the absent party to shw cause against
the order within forty-nine days from the date of the order.
Claims of Third Parties
62. A person not a party to the litigation having a legal interest in the property
attached may make a claim to the Court which issued th attachment order
within hundred and eight days of the date of attachment.
Requests for Attachment
63. In determining whether to grant a request for an attachment, the Court
(a) the merit and legality of the request;
(b) the availability of an alternative adequate legal remedy;
(c) the difficulty of administering and enforcing the order;
(d) the likelihood that the injunction or order will be effective; or
(e) the possibility of an irreparable harm occurring without such
64. A Court may issue a preliminary injunction, if the respondent/ defendant
is acting in a way that would irreparably affect the plaintiff’s claim or
would render the final judgment in the action ineffectual.
64.1. Since preliminary injunction may cause serious injury to the
respondent/defendant and since it is granted prior to adjudication on
the merits of the case, the Court shall utilise this remedy only under
extraordinary circumstances where the plaintiff hasdemonstrated
that he/she cannot be protected by less drastic measur s.
64.2. An opposing party may contest the preliminary injunction prior to
trial or during the course of the trial.
64.3. Attachment under preliminary injunction shall not generally extend
beyond the final settlement of the case.
Temporary Restraining Order
65. A temporary restraining order can be granted upon showing that
immediate irreparable harm will occur.
65.1. A Court shall, upon the request of the plaintiff/deendant
immediately serve the temporary restraining order.
65.2. The Plaintiff shall make a good faith effort to give notice to the
Defendant/Respondent of the temporary restraining order hearing.
65.3. If the temporary restraining order is ex-parte or due notice has not
been given to all the parties, the duration of the emporary
restraining order should not exceed one hundred and eight days.
66. The Court may issue an interlocutory order during the course of a trial to
prevent an injury that may be suffered by the petitioner owing to any
action or inaction of a person or authority in case preliminary injunction
or temporary restraining order is not issued.
66.1. An interlocutory order may at the discretion of theCourt issuing it
be modified, vacated or annulled, if it finds that:
(a) the party is misusing the process;
(b) the party is unnecessarily delaying the course of justice; or
(c) there are other sufficient legal grounds for doing so.
66.2. Attachment under interlocutory order shall not generally extend
beyond the final settlement of the case.
66.3. An Appellate Court may pass an interlocutory order to a
subordinate Court if:
(a) its proceedings are irregular;
(b) there is an undue delays;
(c) there is an unreasonably frequent adjournments; or
(d) there is a miscarriage of justice.
67. A Court may issue an injunction against a party restraining from specified
action or specified use of property not in accordance with the judgment
67.1. The Court shall specify the duration of the injunction in its order.
Retention and Interim Delivery of Attached Property
68. A Court shall arrange for retention or interim deliv ry of any property
attached by it.
68.1. In such a case, the persons to whom the property is delivered shall
be made to furnish a bond by which they agree to produce the
property before the Court as and when required.
69. The Court may appoint a receiver when there is substantial danger that the
property will be lost, damaged or removed from its jurisdiction.
69.1. The receiver's sole allegiance and legal responsibility is to the
Claims and Objections to Attachment
70. Any claim or objection to the attachment of any property may be made
within hundred and eight days from the date of such attachment, by any
person other than the proclaimed person.
70.1. In the event of the death of the claimant or objector, the claimant’s
legal representative may continue any claim or objection made
within the period allowed by this Code.
70.2. A person whose claim or objection has been disallowed in whole or
in part by an order under this Code may, within a period of hundred
and eight days from the date of such order, institute a suit to
establish the right, which he/she claims in respect of the property in
Release, Restoration and Sale of Attached Property
71. Following the judgment and any appeal, if no injunction is granted, the
tenure of all previous attachments shall cease.
71.1. If the proclaimed person does not appear within the tim specified
in the proclamation, the property under the attachment shall be at
the disposal of the Government.
71.2. The property shall not be sold until the expiration of hundred and
eight days from the date of the attachment and until a y claim
preferred or objection made has been disposed off under this Code.
However, the Court may cause it to be sold if:
(a) such property is perishable in nature; or
(b) otherwise beneficial to the owner.
71.3. If, within one hundred and eight days from the date of the
termination of the attachment order, any person whose property is
or has been held by the Court or its receiver appears, such property,
or if the same has been sold, the net proceeds of the sale, or if part
only thereof has been sold, the net proceeds of the sal and the
residual of the property shall, after satisfying therefrom all costs
incurred in consequence to the attachment, be deliver d to him/her.
71.4. Failing this, the Court in its discretion may order the property to be
sold and provide the proceeds from the sale to the Government.
Assignment of a case
72. A case shall be assigned to a Bench in an order of precedence.
Conflict of Interest
73. A case shall not be assigned to a Drangpon who may have or be
reasonably construed to have conflict of interests in he matter at hand.
Order of Case Precedence
74. The Court shall hear the cases in an order of chronological precedence.
74.1. The Court may hear a case out-of-turn, if:
(a) there is an imminent danger of loss or destruction of
(b) it is characterised by the rapid deterioration of health of a
critical party or witness in the dispute; or
(c) there is a severe and augmenting monetary implications to
75. All inquiries and proceedings shall be:
(a) conducted as expeditiously as possible; and
(b) continued uninterrupted until the case is completed, unless the
Court grants an adjournment or stay of proceedings i accordance
with this Code.
Adjournment and Stay of Proceedings
76. A Court shall not consider a motion for adjournment or stay of
proceedings ine die.
76.1. The Court may grant a motion for adjournment or stay of
(a) for three to twenty one days, in the absence of a crucial
witness summoned by the Court;
(b) for a maximum of three days, if an opposing party requires
time to study/consider Court admissible evidence not
previously available which may have an impact on his/her
legal strategy or plea ;
(c) for a maximum of three days, if a party needs time to prepare
for the cross-examination of a new witness of the opposing
party not previously scheduled to appear in the proceedings;
(d) for a maximum of three days, if a respondent/defendant
wishes to change his/her plea;
(e) for a maximum of seven days, if the witness or party in the
suit, excluding an imprisoned defendant has to attend another
Court provided that the Summons from that Court wasissued
earlier to the institution of this suit;
(f) for a maximum of seven days, if the parties jointly agree to
pursue an out-of-Court settlement in accordance with this
(g) for a maximum of sixty days, if a party is sick or mentally
unsound and furnishes a medical certificate;
(h) for a maximum of seven days, if a member of the family of
either party is critically ill;
(i) for a maximum of fifty days, if there has been a deth in the
family of either party;
(j) for a maximum of thirty days, if the participation f a litigant
in farm activities during planting or harvesting sea ons is
(k) if a national emergency has arisen directly affecting the
parties or other key parties to the suit; or
(l) for any other judicially valid reasons or purposes as may be
determined by the Court.
76.2. The Court shall by necessity exercise heightened scrutiny of a
request for adjournment or stay of proceedings where the non-
requesting party is incarcerated.
76.3. The prescribed time for adjournment shall be so stated t the time
of the Court’s order on a motion to adjourn or a motion to stay.
76.4. While granting adjournment at the request of a party, the Court may
impose such terms and conditions as it considers just and proper.
Production before Court Regularly
77. Every person in a trial shall be regularly produced before a Court of
78. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to authorise any person on behalf of
another to address the Court or to examine witnesses, except where
authorised by the Court.
79. The Court shall establish a hearing calendar.
Show cause Order
80. The Court may issue a show cause order on the motion f the opposing
80.1. Where the person so ordered fails to appear or to give sufficient
reasons, the Court may take appropriate action.
81. Hearing shall be conducted in accordance with this Code.
81.1. The purpose of Preliminary Hearing is to enable the Court to:
(a) entertain challenges to pleadings based on cause, procedure
and jurisdiction; and
(b) clarify substantive or procedural legal issues.
81.2. The Court shall convene a preliminary hearing within:
(a) ten days of registration in criminal cases; and
(b) one hundred and eight days of registration in civil ases.
82. Opening statements shall entail each party's version of the facts.
83. The Court shall allow the parties to a case or their Jabmi for rebuttal.
84. The Court shall grant opportunity to present evidence including the right
to subpoena witness and to compel the production of physical evidence on
84.1. Evidence may include physical exhibits, the testimony f witnesses
or expert opinion in accordance with this Code.
85. If necessary, the Court may hear and take an independent testimony of
party to the case.
86. If necessary and available, the Court shall hear witness of the parties to
87. If available and necessary, the relevant exhibits shall be examined by the
Court and the parties to the case.
88. After the submission of evidence and hearing of witness, the concerned
Court may conduct judicial investigation, if necessary.
88.1. The Court may conduct a judicial investigation to:
(a) inspect or inquire into any matter before it;
(b) take additional evidence and hear additional arguments;
(c) make inquiry or inspection relevant to the case on the spot;
(d) give an opportunity to the parties to present and cross-examine
additional witnesses on the spot;
(e) clarify the cause for inconsistency in statements made before
and after the spot inspection; and
(f) make a written report of the spot inspection or inqu ry.
Judicial Enquiry Committee
89. In any proceeding, the Court may appoint a Judicial Enquiry Committee
(a) examine any person;
(b) make a local investigation;
(c) examine or adjust accounts;
(d) hold a scientific, technical or expert investigation;
(e) conduct a sale of property which is in the custody f the Court; or
(f) perform any other functions, which are legally justified by the case
and supported by the law.
90. In the determination of any case, the parties to a case shall be entitled to
examine or have cross-examined the opposing witness.
90.1. The Court may, subsequent to the cross-examination, if the party
who calls the witness so desires allow re-examinatio .
90.2. The parties or their Jabmis may postpone their cross-examinations
until a later moment during the hearing, if the right to cross-
examine is not utilised immediately following presentation by the
90.3. The Court, at its discretion and in pursuit of Justice and equity, may
choose to cross-examine the witnesses of either party.
Execution of Bah
91. In every proceeding, the Court shall execute Bah, if the parties to the case
92. The closing argument shall give opportunity to the parties or their Jabmis
to summarise the case and evidence.
93. Following the closing arguments, the Court shall adjourn and deliberate
over the case at hand.
94. Professional secrecy and confidentiality concerning the case and Court
deliberation shall bind the Court and all of its officers.
94.1. The Court and its officers shall not discuss, publicise or testify on
the case, Court deliberation or related matters.
94.2. The Court record and judgment shall serve as the complete record
and testimony of the case and the Court deliberations.
94.3. The Court deliberations shall not exceed ten days whenever
Court Deliberation by a Bench
95. If a case is heard by more than one Drangpon:
(a) the decision of the majority shall prevail;
(b) the judgment shall not be signed by a Drangpon who was not
present during the hearing of the case; and
(c) the dissenting Drangpon may give his/her reasons of dissent in the
judicial opinion following the opinion of the majority.
96. Following its deliberations, the Court shall reconve e and in the presence
of the parties pronounce its written judgment.
Burden of proof in Civil Case
96.1. Finding of liability against one or more of the parties can only be
given when proof by a preponderance of the evidence has been
demonstrated by the plaintiff/appellant.
Burden of proof in Criminal Case
96.2. Finding of guilt against one or more of the parties can only be given
when the prosecution to the full satisfaction of the Court has
established a proof beyond reasonable doubt.
96.3. Judgment shall be:
(a) in conformity with “Yig Kur Namzhag”;
(b) in writing;
(f) signed; and
(g) placed in the Court record.
96.4. The judgment of the Court shall be final once rendere .
96.5. If no appeal is recorded within ten days from the registration of the
judgment in the Court record, it shall be enforced.
Award and Sentence
96.6. In the case of a finding of guilt or liability against one of the parties,
the Court may directly pronounce sentence or Judgment or allow a
further recess to finalise its deliberations on the matter.
Costs of Litigation
97. It shall be at the discretion of the Appellate Court based on the outcome of
a case to determine an appropriate assignment of costs and other expenses
related to the suit.
97.1. The Court shall have full power to determine by whom r out of
what property and to what extent such costs are to be paid and to
give all necessary directions for the purposes and so state in its
Costs for Causing Delay
98. The Court may order a defaulting party to pay costs to the attending party
calculated at the rate prescribed under the Minimum Wage Rate.
99. Where a judgment debtor is unable to pay the Judgement debt/ the
financial penalty awarded by a Court, the Court shall sell the judgment
debtor’s property at a judicial sale and apply the proceeds for the
repayment of the judgment debt in accordance with this Code and other
99.1. A judgment creditor may request the Court to summon relevant
person to testify as to the whereabouts of the debtor's property.
99.2. Designated property should be turned over to the Court. If that
property cannot be found, the Court may levy on the debtor's other
real and personal property within its jurisdiction.
99.3. When such property is insufficient to satisfy the judgment, the
Court may levy on the debtor's other real and personal property
located in a separate jurisdiction by issuing Court O der to that
Court having jurisdiction over that real and personal property.
99.4. Where a Court holds property and more persons than one have
made application to the Court for the execution of decrees for the
payment of money passed against the same judgment-debtor and
have not obtained satisfaction thereof, the property, af er deducting
the costs of realisation, shall be distributed pro-rata.
99.5. If the price is grossly inadequate, the Court may withhold a sale or
postpone sale for a minimum of three times or three months, which
ever is less.
99.6. The Court shall exempt from sale:
(a) essential wearing-apparel, cooking vessels, beds an bedding
of the judgment-debtor, his/her spouse and children and
dependants, and religious articles;
(b) artisan tools used to earn an income;
(c) agricultural land to the extent of minimum acre ceiling
prescribed by the Land Act, 1980;
(d) books of account; and
(e) any other property which the Court may consider necessary
for the minimum reasonable livelihood or subsistence of the
judgment-debtor and his/her family.
Enforcement of Liability of Surety
100. Where any person has furnished security or given a guarantee, a decree or
order may be executed in the manner herein provided for the execution of
decrees if he/she has rendered himself/herself personally liable against
(a) the performance of any decree or any part thereof;
(b) the restitution of any property, taken in execution of a decree; or
(c) the payment of any money or for the fulfilment of any condition
imposed on any person, under an order of the Court in any suit or
proceeding consequent thereon.
Professional Conduct of Jabmis
101. A Jabmi is an officer of the legal system, a representative of clients and a
public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.
101.1. In all professional functions, a Jabmi shall:
(a) at all times uphold the honour, and maintain the dignity and
integrity of the profession and to improve not only the law
but the administration of justice;
(b) faithfully conduct himself/herself in a manner befitting to or
worthy of belonging to the noble fraternity of Jabmis;
(c) assist the Court in expediting the case to ensure the just, fair
and prompt dispensation of justice by being punctual in
attending court hearing, conferences and deposition a d
being concise and direct in the trial and dispositin of the
(d) adhere to the principles of honesty, moral, ethics and good
conduct befitting to the dignity of the legal profession;
(e) not resort to fraudulent means;
(f) not advance a claim, defense, position, or argument that
misstates a material fact or is false, deceptive, unwarranted,
obstructionist, or frivolous, in light of the law and the facts
(g) maintain professional norms of courtesy between them;
(h) not attribute the loss of the case to the incompetenc , bias, or
other effect of a judge/to countenance a client's suggestion to
the same effect;
(i) not abuse the process of the court on behalf of his/her client
in order to injure the opponent or use unfair methods against
the opponent or to benefit himself/herself;
(j) not utilise litigation or any other course of conduct to harass
the opposing party;
(k) represent a client zealously within the bounds of the law at
all stages and deal with the case honestly and carefully in
accordance with instructions;
(l) preserve the confidences and secrets of a client unless
required by law or by the standards of the legal profession;
(m) avoid conflict of interest, impropriety, and the appearance of
(n) provide competent representation that includes appropriate
legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, diligence, preparation,
(o) not, because of professional duties, be identified with a client
or a cause of a client;
(p) not acquire or use any information or evidence obtained by
unlawful or unethical means;
(q) not initiate, continue, or participate in any criminal case or
any civil case that is not supported by adequate cause; and
(r) be courteous and civil, both in oral and written
Punishment of Jabmis for Professional or other Misconduct
101.2. Where a Jabmi engages in professional or other misconduct, the
(a) admonish/reprimand the Jabmi; or
(b) suspend the Jabmi from appearing before a Court for such
period as it may deem fit.
101.3. Where a Jabmi engages in professional or other misconduct, the
High Court may:
(a) admonish/reprimand the Jabmi;
(b) suspend the Jabmi from appearing before a Court for such
period as it may deem fit; or
(c) bar the Jabmi from practice, if convicted of a cognizable
offence or otherwise.
Contempt and Associated Offences
Contempt of Court
102. A person showing disrespect to the Court during Court proceedings may
be subjected to civil or criminal sanction in accordance with the laws of
102.1. A person may be subjected to civil or criminal sanction in
accordance with the laws of contempt for:
(a) interfering with a case, either orally or in writing;
(b) failing to comply appropriately to the judicial order; or
(c) otherwise obstructing the course of justice.
Failure to Adhere to Hearing Schedule
103. Failure of a party to a case to adhere to the hearing schedule may result in
a finding of contempt and may be subjected to civil or criminal sanction.
Non-compliance with Judicial Orders
104. Non-compliance with judicial orders may result in a finding of contempt
and subject to civil or criminal sanction.
Failure to Appear
105. Where a person summoned fails to appear or present vidence at the order
of the Court, he/she may be found in contempt of court and may be
subjected to civil or criminal sanction.
Absence without leave
106. Once the hearing of a case has begun, if the litigant or other person
summoned by the Court takes leave of absence without e permission of
the Court, he or she may be subjected to civil or criminal sanction for
107. An aggrieved party may initiate civil contempt proceedings.
107.1. Finding of civil contempt shall result in fine/imprisonment until the
civil order has been complied with.
Corporations and Unincorporated Associations
108. In addition to any fine or injunction, the Court may order a charter of a
corporation after due process to be forfeited, the certificate of any
association revoked or dissolved upon finding that e Board of Directors
or a high managerial agent acting on behalf of the corporation/ association
has, in conducting the corporation/association's affairs, purposely engaged
in a persistent course of criminal conduct.
108.1. The Board of Directors, agent or employee of a corporation/ an
unincorporated association may be prosecuted and setenced to
fines and/or imprisonment for any criminal conduct where
Appeal, Review and Decision Procedure
109. A party to a case may file an appeal to a higher Court against a judgment
of the subordinate Court.
109.1. An appeal shall be permitted only:
(a) from the final judgment;
(b) if it has been filed in the registry of the appellate Court; and
(c) if it is preferred within ten days of the Judgment.
109.2. While the appeal is pending, all awards for damages and other
settlements related to the Court's decisions shall be held in
abeyance and any injunctions or temporary restraining order shall
109.3. The Court, under appropriate circumstances, may order the
appellant to furnish a bond as a precondition to an appeal in order to
secure the Plaintiff's Judgment against disbursement pending appeal
and discourage frivolous delay.
109.4. Once a case is appealed to a higher Court, there shall be no recourse
to a lower Court except on remand by the higher Court.
110. The Appellate Court shall:
(a) determine whether there was error; and
(b) if so whether such error warrants either a remand or full or partial
110.1. Appellate Courts may review only those decisions upon which there
are properly preserved records.
110.2. The Court, the appellant and his/her Jabmi must therefore, ensure
that any challenge or objection to a decision of the Court is properly
110.3. The appellant in his/her appeal must present to the Appellate Court
only that portion of the Judgment and his/her challenge to that
110.4. The Party cannot introduce fresh evidence on appeal or rely on
evidence not introduced during proceedings in the lower Court.
Decision on Appeal
111. The Appellate Court may:
(a) dismiss the appeal;
(b) reverse all or part of the Judgment awarded by the low r Court after
due process of law;
(c) remand the case to the lower Court with instructions;
(d) order a new proceeding; or
(e) charge reasonable costs to be paid by the party submitting the
appeal, if the appeal is dismissed.
111.1. Costs may include travel expenses, hire charges and d ily wages.
Appeal to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo
112. Any party having fully exhausted the judicial appeal processes and still
aggrieved by the decision of the Court may appeal to His Majesty the
113. Any reference to time specified in this Code within which an act must be
performed or omitted shall exclude the period of journey and the
Finality of Judgment
114. No person shall amend or alter a Judgment rendered by a competent Court
except His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo.
115. Person shall not be entitled to file a subsequent suit if the cause of action
or claims involved in it are same as prior suit on which there was a valid
and final Judgemnt on that cause of action based on the merits.
Institution of Civil Suits
Institution of a suit
116. A suit may be initiated in accordance with the Code by:
(a) a litigant himself/herself;
(b) a member of his/her joint family; or
(c) a Jabmi of his/her choice.
116.1. Every suit shall be instituted:
(a) by presenting a Petition of Complaint to a Court with
jurisdiction by the pleader or his/her member of the family/
(b) in good faith and not for harassment.
Minor or Person of Unsound Mind
117. When a person entitled to sue or be sued is a minor or f unsound mind or
otherwise unable to present his/her case, the suit may be brought in his/
her name by member of joint family through a legal uardian/Jabmi.
Substitution by Legal Representative and Successor
118. If a party to a civil case dies during the suit, or becomes physically or
mentally incapacitated, the Court shall order:
(a) substitution of such party by legal representative;
(b) successor of that party representing his/her estate; and
(c) to receive, if damages are awarded from the other party.
Breach of Trust and Fiduciary Duties
119. In the case of any alleged breach of any express or constructive trust
created for public purpose, or where the direction of the Court is deemed
necessary for the administration of any such trust, one or more persons
having a clear legal interest in the trust, may institute a suit or may pursue
a Court decree to:
(a) remove any trustee;
(b) appoint a new trustee;
(c) direct a trustee who has been removed or a person wh has ceased
to be a trustee, to deliver possession of any trustproperty in his/her
possession to the person entitled to the possession of such property;
(d) direct accounts and inquiries;
(e) declare what proportion of the trust property or of the interest
therein shall be allocated to any particular object of the trust;
(f) authorise the whole or any part of the trust property to be let, sold,
mortgaged or exchanged;
(g) settle a scheme; or
(h) grant such further or other relief as the nature of the case may
120. A petition relating to any civil suit for any relief shall be instituted in the
Court with jurisdiction.
120.1. Site of proceedings shall be:
(a) where the cause of action arose;
(b) where a principal plaintiff/defendant resides;
(c) where the property is situated;
(d) where an agreement is signed or entered into; or
(e) in actions by/against any agent/agency of the Governm nt
where the Government authority is located.
121. The Court may hold proceedings or conduct hearings at any site other than
the place where the Court is situated, whenever it considers that it is
necessary, expedient or otherwise in the interest of justice to do so.
121.1. The Court shall record the reasons in writing when it holds and
conducts such hearings at any place or area other than where such
Court is situated.
In Personam Jurisdiction
122. The Court may adjudicate a claim against a respondent/defendant, if the
respondent/defendant while physically within the Court's territorial limits
is personally served with process.
In rem Jurisdiction
123. The Court may assert in rem jurisdiction to determine rights in property
found within its jurisdictional territory.
Quasi in rem Jurisdiction
124. The Court may attach property owned by the respondent/d fendant that is
found within its territorial jurisdiction and enterain action against that
respondent/defendant, even if the dispute was unrelated to the property
125. Subject to the provisions of this Code, once jurisdiction has been
exercised by a particular Court, claims related to the primary controversy
may be adjudicated by that Court even though they do not by themselves
fall within the jurisdiction of the Court.
126. A defendant may challenge the jurisdiction of the Court over his/her
person or property.
126.1. This challenge must be raised by:
(a) a special appearance of the defendant; or
(b) an objection to in personam, in rem or quasi in rem
jurisdiction asserted in the Answer to the Complaint.
127. The Court shall not hear any suit or issue in a suit, which is pending
before any other competent Court.
Service of Process
Service of Process
128. Once the Court has found a complaint to be legally admissible, the Court
may issue Service of Process.
129. Except as otherwise provided in this Code, the Court shall ensure that
reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard are afforded to the
defendant in a suit before
any type of jurisdiction over his/her person and property or the property to
which he/she has a claim is exercised.
Date of Response
130. The Service of Process shall indicate the date by which the defendant
must submit his/her answer to the Court within twenty-one days of its
130.1. The Answer shall include:
(a) an affirmative defence;
(b) a partial affirmation;
(c) a general denial;
(d) a counter-claim; or
(e) a cross-claim.
Suit by or against an Agency
131. When a suit is filed against any agency, corporation or company for a civil
matter, process shall be served through its management, principal, director
or any principal executive officer.
131.1. Any agency, corporation, or company may also file a suit against
any person or entity by having process served on such person or on
its management, principal, director or any principal executive
officer as the case may be.
Petition of Complaint and the Answer
Petition of Complaint
132. The petition of complaint is the plaintiff's statemnt of claims against the
132.1. The Petition of Complaint must:
(a) allege sufficient information to establish a right of relief;
(b) state the basis of the Court’s jurisdiction; and
(c) contain a prayer for relief.
132.2. The Petition of Complaint shall bear necessary legal stamp and be
signed by the petitioner or his/her member of the family/legal
guardian or Jabmi.
132.3. Every Civil suit filed shall bear a Court fee unless waived by the
Court in the case of an indigent Plaintiff.
Answer by the Defendant
133. The Answer shall include respondent/defendant’s defence.
133.1. The defendant may submit:
(a) a challenge to the Court's jurisdiction;
(b) an affirmative defence;
(c) a partial affirmation;
(f) third party claims; or
(g) a general denial.
133.2. The Answer shall bear necessary legal stamp and be sign d by the
defendant/respondent or his/her member of the family/legal
guardian or Jabmi.
133.3. The Answer by the defendant shall reply the complaint in
accordance with this Code.
133.4. An allegation that is not denied or is denied improperly may be
133.5. An evasive or incomplete answer may be deemed admitted.
134. An Answer may set-forth specific denial wherein the r spondent/
defendant responds to a complaint paragraph by paragraph denying only
those matters legitimately controverted and thereby, admitting all
allegations known to be true.
Affirmative Defence and Response by Plaintiff
135. If the defendant wishes to add new facts constituting one or more defence
to the plaintiff’s complaint, they must be affirmatively pleaded in the
135.1. If an answer contains an affirmative defence, the plaintiff shall
(a) admitting or denying the allegations; or
(b) adding new allegations to avoid the defence.
Answer to New Claim
136. Party against whom a counter-claim, cross-claim or third party claim is
asserted shall file an answer to such pleading and in such time in
accordance with this Code.
136.1. An answer to new claims shall bear necessary legal stamp and be
signed by the respondent himself/herself, or his/her m mber of the
family/legal guardian or Jabmi.
Purpose of Pleadings
137. The Purpose of the Pleading process is to:
(a) eliminate legally defective contentions;
(b) give notice to opposing party; and
(c) identify the issues in the law suit.
Types of Pleading
137.1. The following types of Pleading are admissible, if prepared in
accordance with this Code:-
Plaintiff's statement of claims against defendant.
Defendant's denial of any untrue allegation and defendant's
own allegation against the plaintiff.
A counterclaim sets forth claims that defendant has against
A cross-claim sets forth claims among co-parties.
(e) A third party claim
A third party claim is filed by defendant against a third party
who allegedly must indemnify the defendant if found guilty.
138. The pleading must:
(a) set forth the basis of the Court's subject matter jurisdiction;
(b) allege a statement of facts setting forth a cause of action or defence
in ordinary and concise language;
(c) inform the opposing party as to the legal nature of the claim or
(d) state the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff
and respondent/defendant, so far as they can be ascert ined; and
(e) be signed and bear necessary legal stamp to be valid.
Motion for more Definite Statement
138.1. If a pleading is adequate to inform the opposing party but is vague
in content, the opposing party may move for a more definite
Restrictions on Pleading
138.2. A party is not permitted to plead evidence.
139. The Court may ignore improper allegation.
139.1. Pleading must be in good faith, not for harassment, delay, or
139.2. The Court shall not issue a service of process, if the complaint is
not in accordance with the provision of this Code.
Purpose of Joinder of Claims
140. Joinder of claims ensures that all related claims can be heard and
adjudicated in the same action and as a result lessen the burden on the
Court from multiple cases and ensures that the case n be resolved in an
140.1. Once a party is joined, he/she may assert a claim wherein:
(a) the party’s interests are closely related to the action; and
(b) the claims arise from the same transaction in dispute in the
140.2. The Court may allow additional claims where the inclusion of such
claims into the suit promotes greater judicial efficiency or equity.
141. A counter-claim sets forth any additional claim thedefendant/respondent
may have against the plaintiff/appellant, which canbe reasonably litigated
in the same suit.
141.1. A respondent/defendant can make a counter-claim, which is a claim
for relief against the plaintiff, if the counter-claim is logically
related to the original claim contained in the Petition of Complaint
from the plaintiff.
141.2. The Court may allow additional counter-claim where th inclusion
of such claims into the suit promotes greater judicial efficiency or
142. A respondent/defendant/plaintiff may assert a claim against a co-
Third party Claim
143. A third party claim may be filed by respondent/defendant against a third
party who allegedly must indemnify the respondent/defendant, if found
143.1. In a case where such claim is made, the proceeding may proceed
only after all cause of action has been reviewed in pre-hearing in
accordance with this Code.
Claim as original Complaint
144. For pleading purposes, counter-claim, cross-claim and third party claim
are treated as if they were original complaints resulting in the Service of
Process and an Answer by the respondent/defendant.
144.1. In cases where such claims are made, the proceedings may proceed
only after all causes of actions have been reviewed in pre-hearings
in accordance with this Code.
145. A person holding property that is subjected to inconsistent claims can join
all claimants in a single action, if he/she can show fear of multiple liability
or litigation and thereby, place his/her property under the Court's control.
145.1. The claims of the various claimants shall then be levied against a
single fund and be mutually exclusive.
145.2. Any respondent/defendant who is threatened with multiple liability
may assert an interpleader by way of counter-claim, cross-claim, or
third party claim.
Joinder of Parties
Joinder of Parties
146. The purpose of joining parties is to ensure that all p rties with an interest
or liability associated with a legal action are incorporated as parties to a
146.1. Joinder of parties shall be allowed to ensure that all parties whose
presence is required to fully litigate a suit are psent. As a result,
the Court avoids repetition of claims on the same matter between
various parties and ensures that the case can be resolved in an
equitable and final manner.
146.2. When considering joinder of parties, the Court must de ermine
(a) an action is being brought by all real parties in interest; or
(b) the parties to the action have the capacity to sue or be sued.
Real Party in Interest
147. The real parties in interest are those with the legal ri ht to enforce a claim.
147.1. If a Court finds that the real parties in interest have not been joined,
it shall allow for an amendment to the Petition of C mplaint.
147.2. Where all real parties in interest cannot be feasibly joined, the
Court shall take whatever action is legally possible to ensure some
limited measure of relief to legitimate claimants.
Capacity to Sue or be sued
148. A person lacking in capacity to sue or be sued is one who has a direct
stake in the outcome of the litigation but is unable to prosecute or defend
an action due to mental or physical incapacity, being a minor or absent:
148.1. Such person shall be, in the case of a juvenile, be represented by the
148.2. Such person shall, in the case of person with a mental or physical
incapacity, or otherwise physically absent who is not a minor, be
represented by an individual with power of attorney over his/her
business affairs or by a Jabmi.
148.3. The burden of proof is on the asserting party or his/her
parents/family member/legal representative/guardian/Jabmi to
prove lack of physical or mental capacity or minor.
Class Action Suit
149. A suit may be brought by or against large numbers of individual whose
interests are closely related provided:
(a) the general outlines of a group are recognisable at the outset of the
(b) common questions of law or fact exist among all of the class
(c) the representatives are members of the class and are capable of
representing the interests of the absent class members.
Adjudication without Proceedings
150. At any stage of the proceedings, it shall be open to the parties to take the
help of a Chimi, Gup, Chipon, Mang-mi or Barmi as mediators for mutual
settlement of a civil case in accordance with the requirements of this
150.1. Efforts to achieve negotiated settlement in all civil cases may at the
discretion of each party proceed with or without the assistance of a
150.2. The parties may request the Court for an adjournment in accordance
with this Code in order to pursue this settlement.
150.3. The settlement must be by voluntary consent and signed by the
parties and the mediators in their presence and executed without
erasure or alterations.
150.4. The settlement agreement must bear a proper legal stamp and
conform to the laws.
150.5. Any subsequent modification of the settlement agreement shall
require attestation, signature of the concerned parties, their
witnesses, bear a proper legal stamp and conformity with laws.
150.6. The party must raise objection to the validity of such settlement
agreement within ten days of the agreement.
150.7. In case, more than one agreement regarding the same ubject matter
is executed between the parties, the latest agreement in point of
time shall be treated as valid in law and be so sanctioned by the
150.8. If the agreement dehors existing laws or a valid objection to its
legality is raised by one of the parties, the Court may declare such
agreement null and void and resume hearing.
151. The party to the suit can request for a summary judgment to dispose off a
case when no real legal or factual dispute exists.
152. The Court may pronounce a default judgment, if one f the parties fails to
appear at the trial or in his or her answer:
(a) fails to answer;
(b) gives an evasive reply; or
(c) otherwise fails to follow a Court’s order thereby, severely
prejudicing the Court’s capacity to hear the case.
Withdrawal and Adjustment of Suits
153. At any time after the institution of a suit, a plaintiff may, as against all or
any of the defendants abandon his/her suit or a part of his/her claim.
153.1. The party may be liable for such costs as the Court may award
calculated in accordance with the Minimum Wage Rate.
154. Completion of a civil suit shall not preclude the plaintiff from exercising
his/her right to prosecute the same defendant for crimes.
155. A party is prevented by his/her own act from claiming a right to the
detriment of other party who was entitled to rely on such conduct and has
156. Upon a finding of circumstantial evidence not amounting to proof beyond
reasonable doubt, the case may be deferred.
Collection of Judgment Debt
157. The Court may order a Judgment debtor to deliver money or property to
the Court who shall deliver the Judgment debt to the awarded party within
157.1. A Judgment creditor may have an execution issued under which the
debtor's property may be levied upon or sold by an appropriate
Arrest of persons
158. No person shall be subjected to arrest or detention, except in accordance
with this Code.
159. A person arrested shall not be subjected to more restraint than is
reasonably necessary to prevent his/her escape.
Torture or Threat
160. A person shall not be subjected to torture/cruelty/inhumane/degrading
160.1. A person suspected of carrying out such activity shall be subjected
to criminal prosecution.
160.2. A statement/pleading/testimony given under such circumstances
shall be inadmissible.
Duties of Police
161. It shall be the duty of every police personnel to pr mptly detect and
apprehend all persons, for whose apprehension sufficient ground exists
and to bring offenders to justice.
Report of an Offence
161.1. A person may make a Criminal Complaint to the police or in the
absence of police, to any appropriate public authority, when he/she
or a member of his/her family has been the victim of a crime, has
witnessed a crime or has prior knowledge of a crime which may
occur or the intention to commit a crime.
161.2. If a complaint is lodged with a public authority other than the
police, such public authority, upon receipt of the Criminal
Complaint, shall submit it to the police expediently and without
161.3. The police shall place the Criminal Complaint in writing, if the
complaint has not already been
submitted in writing and make efforts to verify the accuracy of the
complaint expeditiously by carrying out preliminary investigation.
161.4. The police or the person making the statement and the person
providing any record or evidence shall sign all statements and
records emanating from the investigation.
161.5. The police shall also make a record of the description of the suspect
as first given to them by potential witnesses.
161.6. It is mandatory for the investigating Officer to get statement of a
material witness questioned during the course of investigation.
Police Crime Report
162. Based on the information collected, the police shall prepare a crime report
for warrant of arrest with the name of the suspect and the nature of the
crime and other elements justifying probable cause for arrest.
Arrest by Warrant
Warrant of Arrest
163. A Court is empowered to issue a warrant of arrest upon request by the
police for criminal offence in accordance with this Code or other laws.
163.1. The Court upon receipt of the crime report may direct the police to
carry out additional investigation, if reasonable cause of guilt has
not been satisfactorily established.
163.2. The warrant shall empower the police to arrest a person in lawful
Form and Duration of Arrest Warrant
164. The warrant of arrest shall state:
(a) the name and address of the accused;
(b) the crime with which he/she is charged;
(c) the name of the Issuing Court; and
(d) bear the seal of the Court.
164.1. The warrant shall remain valid until it is executed or cancelled by
the Issuing Court.
Jurisdictional Reach of Arrest Warrant
164.2. Arrest warrants may be executed within Bhutan, beyond the
jurisdictional boundary of the Issuing Court.
164.3. If a warrant of arrest is to be enforced outside therritorial
jurisdiction of the Issuing Court, the police shall:
(a) obtain an endorsement from the Court having territorial
(b) upon arrest, inform the Court having territorial jurisdiction.
164.4. No line of appeal or judicial review shall vest in the Receiving
Court with regard to any warrant from an Issuing Court.
164.5. The right to assert a motion for improper arrest or improper
issuance of a warrant shall vest directly with the suspect and his/her
Service of Warrant through Extradition
164.6. A warrant may be served by the intervention of a foreign state,
where the suspect to be served is outside Bhutan and in a country
with which the right of an extradition has been established by
treaty, convention or mutual agreement.
164.7. If a police officer acting under an arrest warrant has reason to
believe that the person to be arrested has entered into or is within
any place, any person being in charge of such place shall allow the
arresting officer free ingress thereto, and afford all reasonable
facility to effect the arrest.
Arrest without Warrant
165. A police officer may arrest without a warrant in a public place, if any
person is reasonably believed to be:
(a) abusing or physically assaulting another person;
(b) attempting to forcibly dishonour a female;
(c) suspected of dealing in illegal business;
(d) in possession of illegal arms/ammunition etc.;
(e) using false weights and measures;
(f) dealing in harmful drugs;
(g) causing harm to public property such as telephone lines, lamp posts,
roads, water pipes, etc.
(h) wanted criminals;
(i) a deserter from the uniformed services;
(j) fishing and hunting on prohibited days and months under the Laws of
(k) a receiver of stolen property;
(l) obstructing a police in the execution of lawful duties;
(m) willfully and indecently exposing one’s person or disgracing or
committing nuisance, or exposing a contagious disease to the general
public or contaminating drinking water; or
(n) neglecting to fence in or duly protect any dangerous tank or other
dangerous place or structure.
165.1. The power of the arresting Police officer to enter a private dwelling
to effect an arrest without warrant is limited to instances of
immediate necessity or other exigent circumstances such as waiting
for the suspect to exit the private dwelling is notappropriate.
Stop and Frisk
166. Upon a reasonable suspicion of involvement in a criminal offence, a
police officer/an authorised person may stop, question and frisk:
(a) a person moving about at odd hours in a public place; and
(b) a person who cannot give satisfactory account f himself/herself.
166.1. The police officer/authorised person may subsequently arrest a
suspect, if during the stop, question and frisk, he has reason to
believe that there is a probable cause for doing so.
166.2. The police officer may detain a person arrested withou a warrant
pending police investigation in accordance with this Code.
Arrest by Citizen
167. A citizen may arrest or cause to be arrested any person whom he/she
(a) has committed or intends to commit a criminal offence; or
(b) is wanted by the law for the commission of an offence.
167.1. A person so arrested shall be handed over to the police r in the
absence of police, relevant public official without delay.
167.2. If a suspect is handed over to a public official other than the police,
that official shall record a statement from the arresting individual
justifying the arrest and expediently transfer the suspect to the
167.3. At the time of handing over the suspect to the police, the arresting
individual, or the public official given control over the person by
the arresting individual, shall make or present a statement to the
police justifying the arrest.
167.4. Upon receipt of the suspect, the police shall:
(a) ensure that the suspect is not improperly treated;
(b) carry out all necessary inspections; and
(c) carry out medical examination to search for evidence, if there
exists a probable cause for such a search.
Search by Warrant
168. A Court may issue a search warrant to the police to conduct a search for
168.1. Search warrant shall only be issued upon showing a probable cause
of criminal offence to the Court.
168.2. The police requesting a search warrant shall present to the Court:
(a) the name of the accused and address;
(b) the suspected criminal offence;
(c) the place of search; and
(d) the facts establishing probable cause for the search.
169. The information in the affidavit and Police Crime Report shall have
sufficient reasons to allow the Court to reasonably believe that the items
have not yet been removed from the premises to be searched.
169.1. All search warrants shall be executed within twenty-one days of
their issuance, unless the Issuing Court has granted an extension.
Jurisdictional Reach of Search Warrant
170. Search warrant may be executed within Bhutan, beyond the jurisdictional
boundary of the Issuing Court.
170.1. If a search warrant is to be enforced outside the territorial
jurisdiction of the Issuing Court, the police shall:
(a) obtain an endorsement from the Court having territorial
(b) upon search, inform the Court having territorial jurisdiction.
170.2. In accordance with this Code, the Receiving Court shall ensure that
the search warrant from the Issuing Court is enforced.
170.3. The Receiving Court shall not impede the search or remove any of
the resulting evidence from the search. It shall, however, receive a
copy of the list of articles seized during the search to be provided to
the Issuing Court and to the owner or person in occupation of the
premises searched in accordance with this Code.
170.4. No line of appeal or judicial review shall vest in the Receiving
Court with regard to any such search warrant from the issuing
170.5. The right to assert a motion for improper search or improper
issuance of a warrant shall rest directly with the suspect or other
affected parties and their Jabmi.
Procedure for a Warranted Search
171. A search shall be made in the presence of Chimi/Gup/Chipon/ member of
Dzongkhag and Geog Yargye Tshokchung/witness.
171.1. A police executing the warrant shall:
(a) announce that he/she is a police; and
(b) show a search warrant.
171.2. Where there is a danger of destruction of evidence and/or the
distances from the Court to the places to be searchd are substantial,
police on the scene may conduct the search without aving search
171.3. A police may use reasonable force to break into premis s, if the
police is refused entry after identification as an agent of the law.
171.4. The police may frisk a person on the scene, if he/she may appear to
171.5. Whenever, it is necessary for a woman to be searched, another
woman shall make the search with strict regard to decency.
171.6. If there is reasonable cause to arrest a person who is n the
premises, the police may do so.
Scope of the Search Warrant
172. The search warrant shall be specific with regard to the premises to be
Search of an Apartment
173. A search warrant for the search of an apartment building or other multi-
family dwelling shall contain the name of the occupant or the number of
the particular apartment.
Search of a Person
174. The warrant for a search of a person shall state the person's name or at
least provide a description so complete that it is unlikely to apply to
anyone except the suspect.
Search of Vehicle/Aircraft/Vessel/Conveyance
175. Where a warrant is required for the search of a vehicle/aircraft/vessel/
conveyance, the warrant shall contain either the vehicle/aircraft/vessel’s
registration number or its description and the name of its owner.
Search without Warrant
176. A police officer has, upon arrest of a suspect withou a warrant, the right
to search the area under the suspect's immediate con rol/ possession.
176.1. A police officer making any arrest shall seize from the person
arrested any weapon, contraband or any other evidence of an
offence carried on his/her person.
177. If the police is in hot pursuit of a felony suspect and have reason to
believe that the suspect has entered a particular private premise, the police
may enter the premise to search for him/her. While searching, the police
may also search for weapons that the felony suspect may have and seize
177.1. While engaging in the hot pursuit of a felony suspect and searching
and seizing of any weapon he/she may possess, the police may
seize any other evidence of criminal behaviour, which he/she may
discover coincident to their search for the suspect.
177.2. A police may for the purpose of arresting with/without warrant a
person whom he/she is authorised to arrest, pursue such person into
any place in the country.
Search of Vehicle/Aircraft/Vessel/ Conveyance
178. A vehicle/aircraft/vessel/conveyance may be searched where reasonable
cause exists or upon the arrest of the driver/pilot/ assenger.
178.1. If the vehicle/aircraft/vessel/conveyance itself is being subjected to
a valid warranted search, closed containers found i the
vehicle/aircraft/vessel/conveyance may be searched without a
Consent by Third Person to Search
179. A search without a warrant is authorised when an indiv dual of legal age
with joint authority over the property, grants the police permission to enter
179.1. The entry may not be forced and the search must be confined to
common areas where the person allowing this search normally
exercises the right of entry.
Consent by Parent/Guardian
179.2. When the suspect is a minor or mentally incompetent and living
with his/her parent/guardian, the parent/guardian my consent to a
search of the minor suspect's room.
Consent by Landlord
179.3. A landlord may not consent to a search of his/her tenant's
apartment/ room, even if he/she has the power to ener them for
cleaning or maintenance.
179.4. A landlord may consent to a search of the areas of common usage,
such as hallways and common dining areas.
Guest House/Hotel Guests
179.5. Guest House/Hotel Management may not consent to a search of a
guest's room in his/her absence.
179.6. After a guest has checked out permanently, a hotel employee may
consent to a search for item left behind.
179.7. An employer can consent to a search of his/her employee's work
area, if the search is for items related to the job.
179.8. An employee may consent to a search of his/her employer's
premises, if he/she is in a position of substantial authority.
179.9. School official may search the person and property of a student
without a warrant.
Additional Discovery Methods in Criminal Cases
179.10. In criminal cases, in addition to the established evidentiary
procedures and methods, the police may use search warrant, arrest
warrant and conduct search in the manner defined within this Code
to obtain additional evidence of criminal action, intention or
Seizure of Article
180. A police officer may seize any property, which may be alleged or
suspected to have been stolen or which
may be found under circumstances, which create suspicion of the
commission of an offence.
181. The police shall prepare a list of all the articles taken into possession at
the time of search and the copy shall be given to the owner or the person
in occupation of the premise, as the case may be.
181.1. The list shall be signed and dated by the officer making the search,
the owner of the premise or person in occupation of the premise and
by a witness present at the time of search.
181.2. When an article discovered is of such a nature that i s immediate
destruction is necessary for public safety, it shall be lawful for the
police officer making the search to destroy or have th same
181.3. A police officer making a search shall turn over all evidence to the
police station with labelling where it shall be maint ined until
required by the Court with jurisdiction over the case.
Return of Items
181.4. If the police, prosecutor or the Court deems that
specific item is irrelevant to a case, the item shall be returned to the
owner without delay.
181.5. Where the ownership of specific item is in dispute, the Court may
return it to the person in whose possession it was found at the time
of the search or, retain the item and advise the party concerned to
litigate the matter in a separate case.
Search of Mail and Wiretapping
Opening of Mail/Parcel
182. Mail/parcel may be intercepted and opened by a responsible authority
specifically authorised by the Government without a w rrant, if there is
reasonable cause to suspect that the mail/parcel contains narcotic/other
contraband/information harmful to public health/security in accordance
with this Code and other laws.
182.1. Any mail/parcel intercepted and opened by any authority without a
warrant, shall be produced before the Court within twenty four
there is reasonable cause to suspect that the mail/parcel contains
narcotic/other contraband/information harmful to public
183. Wiretapping is permissible only, if authorised by a w rrant of Court in
accordance with this Code and other laws.
183.1. A Court may authorise to intercept only, if it finds that:
(a) there is reasonable cause to believe that a specific ind vidual
has committed or may attempt to commit a heinous crime;
(b) there is reasonable cause to believe that such interception
will furnish evidence about the crime or the attempt or will
provide information to foil it;
(c) normal procedures for inspection have been tried and have
failed or reasonably appear likely to fail or to be dangerous;
(d) there is reasonable cause to believe that the facility from
which or the place where the interception is to be made, is
or will be used in connection with the offence or is linked to
the individual under suspicion.
183.2. The warrant may not be for any period longer than is ecessary to
achieve the objective of the authorisation, and in any event not for
duration longer than forty-nine days.
183.3. The Court may grant extension to the warrant on sufficient cause
being shown for the same. However, the efforts made during the
first period, and results of such efforts must also be disclosed while
183.4. An interception without prior judicial authorisation is permitted
when an emergency situation exists with respect to an attempt or
commission of a heinous crime.
183.5. Only the Chief of Police may make the decision to in ercept without
prior judicial authorisation. However, the judicial order must be
obtained within twenty-four hours of the commencement of the
Cause for Arrest
184. Immediately following arrest, an arrested person shall be informed of the
charge for which he/she is being arrested.
184.1. Subsequent to arrest, the police shall make reasonable attempt to
inform the parent, guardian or member of the family of the person
so arrested and detained as soon as possible.
184.2. Any statement made to police by the suspect, to retain its
evidentiary value in Courts, must be voluntary in nature, include a
statement to that effect and carry the signature of the suspect.
184.3. The interrogation of suspect shall be permitted provided the person
charged has been informed of his/her right to consult a Jabmi
before any such interrogation.
185. The police and other investigator may take a sample from the body of the
suspect relevant to the offence for which the person i being held.
185.1. Due discretion should be exercised for invasive procedures (i.e.
bodily fluids) including reasonable notice and the right to have a
Jabmi present, if so requested by the suspect, to ensure the
admissibility of resulting evidence in Court.
186. The Court may order an accused to be remanded to Police/judicial
custody, if there exists reasonable cause that he/she has perpetrated a
187. The charge shall contain such particulars as are reasonably sufficient to
give the accused notice of the matter with which the accused is charged.
Contents of the charge
187.1. A charge in accordance with this code shall state the offence with
which the accused is charged:
(a) if the law which creates the offence does not give it any
specific name, definition/description of the offenc must be
stated so as to give the accused notice of the matter wi h which
he/she is charged;
(b) the charge shall state the law and section of the law against
which offence is said to have committed;
(c) charge must be written in the language of the Court; and
(d) if the accused is liable to enhanced punishment, by reason of
previous conviction, the facts, date and place of the previous
conviction must be stated in the charge.
Particulars as to time, place and person
187.2. The charge shall contain such particulars as to time and place of the
alleged offence and the
person (if any) against whom or the thing (if any) in respect of
which, it was committed.
187.3. A Court may to meet the ends of justice, alter or add to any charge
before the judgment is pronounced.
188. A defendant shall be entitled to a speedy trial. This right shall not limit the
capacity of the accused to adequately prepare his/her defence.
Production before a Judge
188.1. Any person arrested and detained with/without warrant shall be
produced before a Court within twenty-four hours of the arrest
exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of
arrest and the Government holidays.
188.2. A person arrested and detained for bailable offence may be released
on bail, provided:
(a) he/she makes available to the police as and when required
during the course of the investigation; and
(b) remain within the limits of any particular area as prescribed in
the bail order.
Court Venue and Sub-Judice
Determination of Court Venue
189. Jurisdiction of a Court to conduct trial in a criminal matter shall be where
the crime occurred.
189.1. No Court shall proceed with the trial of any defenda t while a same
criminal charge is currently being prosecuted in any other
competent Court in Bhutan.
189.2. The Defendant may be tried in different Courts forseparate
190. A Court shall conduct a Preliminary Hearing of a case within ten days of
registering it in the Registry of the Court.
190.1. Based upon its review, the Court shall determine whether
sufficient cause exists to proceed with a criminal prosecution and
if so, whether the suspect should be detained or releas d on bail in
accordance with this Code.
190.2. During the Preliminary Hearing, the Court shall ask the accused
for his/her pleading.
190.3. If the accused enters a plea of guilt, or not guilty or Nolo
Contendere, the provisions of this Code shall apply.
191. Whenever a police investigation cannot be completed in time to enable a
Preliminary Hearing in accordance with the provision herein, the police
making the investigation shall produce the accused p rson before the
191.1. The Court, prior to the Preliminary Hearing, may authorise the
detention of the accused for an additional period nt exceeding:
(a) forty-nine days, if satisfied that adequate grounds exist for
doing so; or
(b) one hundred and eight days, where the investigation relates to
a heinous crime.
192. For every distinct offence, there shall be a separate charge presented in the
192.1. Where a case proceeds to trial, every charge shall be considered
Joinder of charge
193. If a person in a series of acts so connected to form a part of the same
transaction commits more than one offence, the person may be charged
with and tried at one trial for every such offence.
Person who may be Charged and Tried Together
194. Persons accused of the same offence or any offence that can be reasonably
construed to have been committed during the same criminal transaction
be charged and presented together in the Preliminary Hearing except
Full or Partial Pleas of Guilty or Nolo Contendere
Nolo Contendere or Plea of Guilty
195. Before confirming a plea of guilty or Nolo Contendere, the Court must
address the defendant and determine that the defendant appears mentally
competent and understands:
(a) the nature of the charge to which the plea is offered;
(b) the mandatory minimum and maximum penalties provided by law,
(c) that the Court may also order the defendant to make restitution to
any victim of the offence; and
(d) that if the defendant accepts a plea of guilty or N lo Contendere
he/she waives his/her right to a trial.
195.1. In the case of juvenile, his/her parents/member of family/legal
guardian/Jabmi may make a plea of guilty or Nolo Contendere only
in the best interest of the juvenile.
195.2. The Court may order the defendant to furnish
an explanation, if the defendant pleads guilty to
all the offences charged.
195.3. If the Court is satisfied that the accused has admitted his/her guilt
voluntarily and the admission appears to be true, th Court may
convict him/her and pass sentence in accordance with law.
195.4. A plea of Nolo Contendere shall be accepted by the Court only after
due consideration of the views of the parties and the interest of the
public in the effective administration of justice.
195.5. If the plea of Nolo Contendere is accepted, the Court may proceed
to award Judgment and sentencing according to the law.
Full or Partial Plea of not Guilty
196. If the defendant pleads not guilty to one or more of the charges levelled,
the Court shall set a date for trial granting sufficient time as required to
enable the prosecution and defence to prepare adequtely.
196.1. The Court following the completion of the full trial shall pronounce
sentence on an element, to which the suspect pleads guilty or Nolo
197. With agreement to provide information to the prosecution and in lieu of a
full criminal trial, a suspect may choose to plead guilty to an offence
lesser than the offence charged and be sentenced acordingly.
197.1. The prosecution may consider a plea bargain in exchange of
evidence deemed critical for prosecution against other criminal
197.2. Discretion as to whether or not to consider a plea bargain rests fully
with the prosecution which shall amongst other factors consider:
(a) the nature of the offence;
(b) the circumstances under which the crime was committed;
(c) the person’s prior criminal record and status; and
(d) whether it is voluntary in nature.
197.3. Before confirming a plea bargain, the prosecution shall determine
whether the defendant is mentally competent and is a
juvenile, and if so is represented by parent/member of a
family/legal guardian/ Jabmi, and understands:
(a) the nature of the charges emanating from the plea bargain;
(b) the mandatory minimum and maximum penalties provided
by law, if any;
(c) that a plea bargain may be made as well during the course of
the Criminal trial; and
(d) that if the prosecution accepts the plea bargain, the defendant
waives his/her right to a trial.
Discretion of Courts
198. The Court shall still have the power to order the defendant to make
restitution and pay compensation to a victim.
Bail and Bond
Bail and Bond
199. Where a suspect other than a person accused of non-bailable offence in
the Preliminary Hearing submits that he/she is not guilty and subject to
the conditions stated in this Code, the Court may decide to release him/her
on bail upon execution of a bond for such sum of money by one or more
199.1. Where a defendant is indigent or the charge is not a serious threat to
public safety, a Court may release the defendant without posting a
bond based on a promise to return and other conditis set by the
199.2. In making the determination of whether to grant bail and the bail
amounts, the Court shall consider the:
(a) severity of the charges;
(b) suspect’s past criminal record;
(c) likelihood of flight;
(d) potential threat posed to civil society;
(e) suspect’s age and physical/mental health condition; and
(f) views of the victim or aggrieved person.
199.3. The Court, after an inquiry and recording the reasons, may refuse to
accept a surety offered on the grounds that such surety is an unfit
person for the purposes of the bond.
199.4. A person released on bail shall be required to:
(a) make himself/herself available to the police/Court as and when
required during the course of the investigation/trial;
(b) remain within the limits of any particular area as prescribed in
the bail order; and
(c) abstain from making any inducement, threat or promise,
directly or indirectly to a person acquainted with the facts of
the case so as to dissuade the person from disclosing such facts
to the Court/police.
199.5. A person shall be released once the bond has been ex cut d and the
Court admitting the person to bail has issued an order of release to
199.6. Where a sufficient cause is established, a surety for the attendance
and appearance of the person released on bail may appl to the
Court to discharge the bond.
199.7. If a surety applies to the Court to discharge the bond, the Court
shall issue a warrant of arrest directing that the person so released is
brought before the Court.
199.8. On the appearance of such person pursuant to the warrant, or on his
voluntary surrender, the Court shall direct the bond to be discharged
require such person to find other suitable sureties, and if he/she fails
to do so, may commit the person to jail.
Bond for keeping the peace and good behaviour
200. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is likely to commit
a breach of peace, disturb public tranquillity or any wrongful act, the
Court after giving the person concerned opportunity to show cause, may
order such person to execute a bond with or without sureties for keeping
the peace for a period not exceeding 108 days.
200.1. The bond to be executed shall bind the person to keep the peace or
to be in good behaviour, and therefore shall be liable as per the
undertaking for any breach of the bond.
200.2. If a person fails to give security as required, theperson shall be
committed to prison until such period expires or until such period
he/she gives the security to the Court that made the order requiring
201. The amount of bond shall be fixed at ten to thirty percent of the income of
Withdrawal from Prosecution
Withdrawal from Prosecution
202. If following the accumulation and review of evidencs, the police and the
prosecutor believes that there is an insufficient lega basis to make a
compelling case to prove a suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the
police/prosecutor may request the Court to allow the prosecution to be
Termination of Bail
202.1. The effect of withdrawal of prosecution shall be dismissal of the
case and termination of conditions of bail.
202.2. If the accused is in custody, he/she shall be immediat ly released.
203. A Court may release the suspect or defendant, terminate bail/dismiss a
case, if the prosecution repeatedly fails to produce sufficient evidence or
witness to substantiate the charge against the suspect
Acquittal in a Case of Innocence
204. Where guilt beyond reasonable doubt has not been established to the
Court’s satisfaction for the charge, the defendant shall be acquitted and
released and have the conditions of his/her bail terminated.
Motion for new Trials
205. The prosecution may motion the Courts for new trials based on newly
discovered evidence or on other grounds.
206. Defendant acquitted/convicted of a specific offence may not be penalised
for the second time.
206.1. Double jeopardy protection shall not apply to an associated offence
and the part of the same set of operative facts was not known to the
206.2. Double Jeopardy does not protect the defendant from civil
207. Sentencing may be passed only with regard to the element of the charge
where guilt beyond reasonable doubt has been proven to the full
satisfaction of the Court.
Types of Sentencing
208. A defendant found guilty of a crime may be:
(a) awarded capital punishment;
(c) released on probation;
(d) fined; or
(e) ordered to pay compensation or damages and make restitution to
the victim or his/her legal heir.
Additional Criminal Penalties
209. The Court may also decree a forfeiture of property/a judicial sale of
property/a financial penalty/cancellation of licens/impose any other
penalty deemed fit.
Concurrent or Consecutive Sentence of Imprisonment
210. The Court may direct that any sentence of imprisonment awarded by it
shall run concurrently or
run consecutively with the sentences awarded either n the same trial or
with a sentence that the accused is already undergoing f r any other
Detention prior to sentence
211. When a defendant who is sentenced to imprisonment has previously been
detained in any prison following his/her arrest forthe crime for which
such sentence is prescribed, such period of detention shall be deducted
from the term of his/her sentence.
Criminal Trial does not Bar Civil Suit
212. Completion of a criminal trial shall not preclude the right of a victim or
person otherwise harmed by the defendant from filing a civil suit against
the same defendant and associated parties.
213. A Juvenile arrested on a criminal charge shall :
(a) be informed promptly and directly of the charge against him/her
through his/her parents/member of family/legal guardian;
(b) be accompanied by a parent/member of family/legal guardian
during trial unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of
the child, in particular, taking into account his/her age or situation;
(c) have the opportunity to be represented by a Jabmi;
(d) have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and
presentation of his/her defence; and
(e) have his/her privacy fully respected at all stage of the proceedings.
Disposition of a Convicted Juvenile
213.1. In making the determination to allow a Juvenile to go home after
advice/admonition or release the Juvenile on probati n, he Court
shall consider the:
(a) severity of the charges;
(b) juvenile’s past criminal record;
(c) likelihood of flight;
(d) juvenile’s age and physical/mental health condition; and
(e) potential threat posed to civil society.
213.2. A Court shall take into consideration the following factors in
making orders concerning juvenile:-
(a) age of the juvenile;
(b) physical and mental health;
(c) circumstances in which the juvenile was living;
(d) reports made by the police; and
(e) other circumstances as are, in the opinion of the Court,
required to be taken into consideration in the bestinterest and
welfare of the Juvenile.
214. The original text of this Code is the text as passed by the National
Assembly in Dzongkha. The Dzongkha text and the English translation are
equally authoritative, except that, in any instance of a difference in
meaning between the two texts, the Dzongkha text shall prevail.
215. Drangpons of the:
(a) Dzongkhag Court shall be addressed as Judges in English;
(b) High Court shall be addressed as Justices; and
(c) Supreme Court shall be addressed as Justices.
215.1. "Druk Gyalpo" means His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
215.2. "Dungkhag Court" means Court at sub-divisional level.
215.3. "Dzongkhag Court" means district court.
215.4. "Government" means the Royal Government of Bhutan and its
215.5. "Law" means the laws of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
215.6. "National Judicial Commission" means commission appointed
under this Code for the purposes of appointment and removal of
215.7. "Offence" means any act or omission in contradiction any law in
force committed within or outside the territory of the Kingdom of
215.8. "Person" includes an individual, partnership, corporati n,
organisation, enterprise, agency, department, subdivision, or other
legal entity whether public or private and successor,
representative, or agent of one of them.
215.9. "Prosecutor" or "Prosecution" means a person who has been
directed by the Government to appear and conduct a criminal case
on behalf of the Government.
215.10. "Public" means all classes of the society or any community.
215.11. "Receiver" means any person so appointed under this Code.
215.12. "Drangpon" means Justice or Judge or Presiding Judicial Officer of
215.13. "Rabjam" means any person so designated by any relevant rules or
regulations or statute.
215.14. "Thrimzhung Chhenmo" means The Supreme Law of 1959.
215.15. "TSA-WA-SUM" means His Majesty the King, Country and People
215.16. ''Bah" means a legal undertaking or bond.
215.17. Jabmi " means a Bhutanese legal counsel who has been licensed to
215.18. The Royal Courts of Justice means Courts of law in Bhutan.
215.19. Words, offences and expressions not defined h rein but defined in
other Laws have the same meanings respectively assigned to them.
Words not defined in this Act or in any other Law will be defined
and incorporated into to this Code by the High Court/S preme
Court as the case may be.