National Council Act of the Kingdom Of Bhutan 2008 (Consolidated)

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THE NATIONAL COUNCIL BILL OF THE KINGDOM OF BHUTAN, 2008

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ACT OF THE KINGDOM

OF BHUTAN 2008 (Consolidated)

Preamble

Whereas, the Constitution of Bhutan requires that there shall be a

Parliament for Bhutan in which all legislative powers under the

Constitution are vested and which shall consist of the Druk Gyalpo,

the National Council and the National Assembly;

Whereas, the National Council, as a House of Review of Parliament,

shall ensure that the Government safeguards the interests of the nation

and fulfills the aspirations of the people through public review of

policies and issues, Bills and other legislation, and scrutiny of State

functions;

Whereas, the National Council shall be established as a principal

apolitical institution of a vibrant democracy that shall promote the

wellbeing of the people while safeguarding the security and

sovereignty of the Kingdom with integrity and credibility;

Parliament of Bhutan do hereby enact the National Council Act of the

Kingdom of Bhutan at its First Session as follows:

Chapter 1

Preliminary

Short Title, Commencement and Extent

1. This Act shall:

(a) Be called THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ACT OF THE

KINGDOM OF BHUTAN, 2008;

(b) Come into force on the 11
th

Day of the 6
th

Month of

the Male Earth Rat Year of the Bhutanese Calendar

corresponding to the 12
th

Day of the 8
th

Month of

2008; and

(c) Extend to the whole of Bhutan.

Repeal

2. This Act shall hereinafter repeal all other laws in relation to
the Royal Advisory Council.

Chapter 2

The National Council

3. There shall be a National Council for Bhutan in which, as one
of the highest legislative bodies, all legislative powers under

the Constitution are vested.

4. The National Council shall consist of twenty-five members,
twenty of whom shall be elected by the voters in each of the

twenty Dzongkhags and five of whom shall be eminent

persons nominated by the Druk Gyalpo.

5. The election of the members of the National Council shall be
governed by the provisions of the Election Act of the

Kingdom of Bhutan.

The Independent Mandate

6. The National Council shall not be bound by voters or interest
groups and shall function in a non-partisan manner in their

Parliamentary work.

Functions

7. The National Council shall ensure that the Government
safeguards the interests of the nation and fulfills the

aspirations of the people through public review of policies and

issues, Bills and other legislation, and scrutiny of State

functions.

8. The National Council shall act as the House of review on
matters affecting the security and sovereignty of the country

and the interests of the nation and the people that need to be

brought to the notice of the Druk Gyalpo, the Prime Minister

or the National Assembly.

9. In exercising its legislative function, the National Council
shall:

a) Initiate or prepare legislation except Money Bills and
Financial Bills;

b) Review and amend existing laws; and

c) Consider, pass, amend or reject any legislation passed
by the National Assembly in accordance with the

provisions of this Act

10. In exercising its review function, the National Council shall:

a) Review and comment on the policies, plans and
programmes of the government;

b) Review performance of the government;

c) Review implementation of resolutions and laws; and

d) Review issues of national importance.

Term of the Council

10A. The National Council shall be a continuous House and shall not

be dissolved at any time.

11. The National Council shall continue for five years from the
date of the first sitting of the National Council.

Re-constitution

12. The National Council elections shall be held so the House is
re-constituted on the date of expiry of its term.

Chapter 3

Members of the National Council

Qualifications of Members

13. A person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of the
National Council, if he:

(a) Is a citizen of Bhutan as evidenced by the citizenship

identity card;

(b) Is a registered voter of that constituency;

(c) Is of the minimum age of twenty five years and

maximum of sixty-five years at the time of filing the

nomination;

(d) Possesses a formal university degree.

14. No person shall be a member of the National Council as
well as the National Assembly or a Local Government at the

same time.

15. A member of the National Council shall not belong to any
political party.

15A. A member of the National Council intending to participate in

the next National Council elections shall not be required to

resign and may contest while in office.

Disqualifications of Members

16. A member of the National Council is liable to be
disqualified, if during his tenure he:

a) Marries a person who is not a citizen of Bhutan;

b) Is in arrears of taxes or other dues to government;

c) Holds any office of profit as prescribed under the
Election Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan;

d) Indulges in activities that are in breach of his duties
and misuses his office for personal gains;

e) Is guilty of persistent unruly behaviour in the
National Council;

f) Indulges in activities with a patent bias in the
discharge of his functions;

g) Remains absent without permission of the National
Council for more than one-fourth of the number of

days in a session;

h) Commits willful violation of the laws of the country;

i) Brings disrepute to the National Council by his
personal conduct; OR

j) Persistently contravenes the Code of Conduct as laid
down under this Act.

Decision on Disqualification

17. A person declared ineligible under section 16 shall not be
elected and returned as a member of the National Council.

18. The disqualification of a member under this Act shall be
decided only upon a resolution passed by the National

Council on a petition addressed to the Chairperson. If the

member concerned is the Chairperson, the petition shall be

addressed to the Deputy Chairperson.

19. Any disqualification under this Act shall be adjudicated by
the High Court on an election petition with a right of appeal

to the Supreme Court. A member shall not stand for

election, while his disqualification is under appeal.

Resignation

20. Any person holding a seat in the National Council may
resign through a declaration made in writing under the hand

and seal of that person before two witnesses. Such a

declaration shall be addressed and delivered to the

Chairperson either during a session or an interval between

two sessions of the National Council. If the member so

resigning is the Chairperson, the letter of resignation shall

be submitted to the Druk Gyalpo.

21. If a person holding a seat in the National Council tenders
resignation of the seat in the manner provided under section

20 of this Act, such person is deemed to have vacated the

seat and ceases to be a member of the National Council.

22. A candidate elected to the National Council shall not tender
resignation of the seat until a judgment is awarded to prove

the legality of the election in cases of electoral disputes.

22A. A member of the National Council shall not resign for the

purpose of participation in elections to the National

Assembly before the expiry of his or her term.

Removal

23. Membership of the National Council shall be terminated
upon violation of the provisions of this Act.

Vacancy

24. The seat of a member of the National Council shall become
vacant upon:

(a) Resignation;

(b) Disqualification or removal;

(c) The expiration of the term of office; or

(d) Death.

Issue of writ in case of vacancy

25. Where a vacancy occurs in the National Council for any
reason before the expiry of its term, the Chairperson shall

without delay on being informed of the vacancy by any

member of the National Council, address a warrant to the

Chief Election Commissioner for the issue of a writ for

elections to fill such vacancy or submit a letter to the Druk

Gyalpo in the case of nominated members, provided the

remainder of the term is not less than one hundred and

eighty days.

26. The member elected or nominated under section 25 of this
Act shall serve only the remaining term of office.

Duties

27. A member of the National Council shall serve the interest of
the nation and the people at all times.

28. A member shall have the duty to be faithful and bear true
allegiance to the Druk Gyalpo, His heirs and successors.

29. A member shall have the duty to be faithful and bear true
allegiance to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to preserve,

protect and defend the Constitution and to uphold the laws

and act at all times in accordance with the public trust

placed upon him.

30. A member is obliged to attend the sessions of the National
Council and its Committees and take active part in the issues

being raised in those fora.

Declaration

31. On assuming office and at the start of each year, a member
shall inform the Secretariat in writing about his:

a) Bio-data and educational qualifications;

b) Occupation, trade, profession or vocation;

c) Positions (whether remunerated or not) held in, or
membership of corporations, associations or other

institutions and bodies;

d) Agreements pursuant to which, during or after his
membership, a member is to be assigned certain

activities or granted pecuniary benefits; and

e) Activities pursued in addition to his occupation and
mandate, in particular the delivery of expert

opinions, writing and lecturing.

32. A member shall declare his income, asset and liability and
that of his spouse and dependents in accordance with the

guidelines contained in the Anti-Corruption Act of the

Kingdom of Bhutan.

33. Gifts of pecuniary value which a member receives in
connection with his duties shall be governed by the rules

prescribed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

34. Any reference as to whether a member has willfully
contravened any provisions of section 31 of this Act shall be

made only on a written complaint lodged with the

Chairperson by any Bhutanese citizen and if it is against the

Chairperson, such complaint shall be lodged with the

Deputy Chairperson.

Election Certificates

35. The elected members shall present their Certificates of
Election to the Secretary General before the day on which

the National Council convenes for the first time following

an election.

36. Certificates submitted under section 35 of this Act shall be
inspected by the Secretary General to determine whether it

has been issued by a competent official and whether it is in

the prescribed form.

37. Changes in the composition of the National Council shall be
entered in the list to be maintained by the Secretariat.

Privileges and Immunities

38. Any member who has the right to speak or otherwise take
part in the proceedings of the National Council or any

Committee thereof shall have the right to freedom of speech.

39. A member shall have the right to be provided with
information by the Government and to inspect any official

document on any matter of relevance in the exercise of his

parliamentary mandates.

40. A member of the National Council shall be immune from
any inquiry, arrest, detention or prosecution on account of

any opinion expressed in the course of the discharge of his

functions or votes cast in the National Council or joint

sitting and no person shall be liable in respect of any report,

paper or proceedings made or published under the authority

of the National Council.

41. Without prejudice to the provisions of section 40 of this Act,
a member shall not be prosecuted or arrested for an offence

when the National Council is in session, without first

informing the Chairperson.

42. The immunities under section 40 shall not cover corrupt acts
by any member in connection with the discharge of his

duties or cover other acts of accepting money or any other

valuables in consideration to speak or to vote in a particular

manner.

43. A member of the National Council shall lose his right of
immunity with the concurrence of not less than two-thirds of

the total number of members.

44. A member or officer of the National Council shall not be
compelled to give evidence or produce documents in courts

of law, relating to the proceedings of the National Council

without the prior permission of the Chairperson.

45. No legal process shall be served or arrest made within the
precincts of the National Council without obtaining the

permission of the Chairperson, whether the National

Council is in session or not.

46. The National Council has the right to receive immediate
information of the arrest, detention, bail, conviction,

imprisonment or release of a member from the concerned

authority.

Remuneration

47. The salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments for a
member shall be as determined under the provisions of the

Parliamentary Entitlement Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Chapter 4

Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

Election of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

48. At the first sitting after any election, or when necessary to
fill a vacancy, the National Council shall elect a Chairperson

and Deputy Chairperson from among its members.

49. The election of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson
shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of

Procedure framed under this Act.

50. The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson shall hold office
until the expiration of the term of the National Council but

in the case of death, resignation or removal during the term

of the National Council, a new Chairperson or Deputy

Chairperson shall be elected without undue delay.

51. The Druk Gyalpo shall confer Dakyen to the Chairperson,
by warrant under His hand and seal. The remaining

members of the National Council shall from their first sitting

after taking oaths of office and secrecy don the blue scarf

without fringe.

52. Whenever the Chairperson from illness or other cause finds
it necessary to leave the chair during any part of the sitting

of the National Council, the Deputy Chairperson shall

preside over such sittings, until the Chairperson resumes the

chair.

53. During the unavoidable absence of the Chairperson or
resignation thereof, the Deputy Chairperson shall preside

over sittings during such absence, until the Chairperson

resumes the chair or the National Council elects another

Chairperson.

54. The Deputy Chairperson presiding over the sittings during
the period of the Chairperson’s absence shall enjoy the same

powers of the Chairperson. He shall also perform the duties

of the Chairperson and every such act performed by him

shall have the same effect and validity, as if the Chairperson

himself had performed the act.

Powers of the Chairperson

55. The Chairperson shall conduct the sessions of the National
Council and have the sole authority to call members to the

debate in accordance with the Rules framed under this Act.

56. During the deliberation, if discussions emerge, which may
not be in accordance with the Rules of Procedure, the

Chairperson may stop the same or direct that the matter be

forwarded to the appropriate ministry.

57. A member shall obtain the leave of the Chairperson before
addressing the National Council. The Chairperson shall

ensure that the member’s address is limited to the time limit

defined prior to the start of discussions on the issue or as

defined in the Rules of Procedure.

58. The Chairperson may intervene if a member, while
addressing the Council, deviates from the subject matter.

59. The Chairperson may summon any person to attend the
proceedings of the National Council for the purpose of

giving evidence, provide information or produce documents

in that person’s custody or control.

60. If the Chairperson is of the opinion that a member is
deliberately contravening the provisions of this Act, or that a

member is in contempt of or is disregarding the authority of

the Chair, or that a member’s conduct is grossly disorderly,

the member shall be made to withdraw immediately from

such a sitting of the House.

Removal of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

61. The motion for the removal of the Chairperson or Deputy
Chairperson shall be moved by not less than one-third of the

total members of the National Council.

62. The motion for removal, if passed by two-third of the total
members of the National Council, shall require the

Chairperson to be removed by the Druk Gyalpo, and in the

case of the Deputy Chairperson, by the Chairperson.

Chapter 5

Sittings of the National Council

Summoning Order

63. The Chairperson shall inform the Druk Gyalpo on the date
of commencement of every session before issuing the

Summoning Order.

64. The National Council shall assemble at least twice a year.

65. Whenever necessary, the Chairperson of the National
Council shall convene an extraordinary sitting of the

National Council on the command of the Druk Gyalpo.

66. During an extraordinary sitting, the National Council shall
consider only those matters for which it has been convened

or otherwise have been presented to the National Council.

Oath or Affirmation

67. The day on which the National Council convenes for the
first time following an election, the members in the order

specified in an announcement shall be administered oath or

affirmation.

68. The Chairperson and the members of the National Council
shall take an Oath or Affirmation of Office as provided for

in the Third Schedule of the Constitution before assuming

their responsibilities.

69. The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National
Council shall also take an Oath or Affirmation of Secrecy as

provided for in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution

before assuming office.

Opening Ceremony of the National Council

70. At the commencement of each session of Parliament, the
Druk Gyalpo shall be received in a joint sitting of

Parliament with Chibdrel Ceremony. Each session shall be

opened with a Zhug-drel-phunsum tshog-pai ten-drel.

Address and Message by the Druk Gyalpo

71. The Druk Gyalpo may address or sit in the proceedings of
the National Council as and when deemed expedient.

72. The Druk Gyalpo may send messages to the National
Council. The National Council upon receiving the message

shall, as early as possible, consider the matter and submit its

opinion to the Druk Gyalpo.

Prorogation

73. Whenever the Chairperson finds it necessary to prorogue the
session of the National Council, he shall announce a notice

to this effect.

Open Proceedings

74. The proceedings of the National Council shall be conducted
in public. In the event of compelling necessity, the

Chairperson may however exclude the press and the public

from all or any part of the proceedings in the interests of

public order, national security or any other situation, where

publicity would seriously prejudice public interest.

Conclusion of the National Council

75. Each session of the National Council shall be concluded
with Trashi mon-lam.

Chapter 6

Conduct of Business

Language of Proceedings

76. The proceedings of the National Council shall be conducted
in Dzongkha.

Examination of witness

77. An oath or solemn affirmation or declaration may be
administered to a witness at the proceedings of the National

Council or any Committee thereof.

78. Any oath or solemn affirmation or declaration made under
this Act shall be administered by the Chairperson or by such

person as may be appointed for that purpose either by the

Chairperson or by a standing order of the National Council.

Exclusion of Matters

79. Unless a matter is in contravention to an existing decision of
Parliament or any law in force, the Chairperson shall not

refuse to take up such matter for consideration or voting.

Where the Chairperson refuses to take up any matter for

consideration or voting, he shall state the grounds for his

refusal in writing.

80. The National Council shall not in its proceedings refer to
any matter in relation to which legal proceedings are active

Attendance

81. Before taking his seat in the National Council, each member
shall note his attendance in the Roll of Members.

82. A member remaining absent from the sittings of the
National Council thereof must make an application in

writing to the Chairperson seeking the permission of the

National Council.

83. A deduction equivalent to a day’s daily allowances shall be
made from the salary every time a member remains absent

during the sitting of the National Council without the

permission of the House for any reason including

suspension under this Act.

Order of Sitting

84. The members shall sit in such order and at such place as the
Chairperson may determine.

Quorum

85. The presence of not less than two-thirds of the total number
of members of the National Council shall constitute a

quorum for a sitting of the National Council.

86. Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 85, at least
three-fourths of the total number of members must be

present at the voting of a Bill, an amendment to a Bill or any

other question before the National Council.

87. If there is no quorum at any time during a meeting of the
National Council, it shall be the duty of the Chairperson or

any person presiding in his absence, either to adjourn the

sitting of the National Council or to suspend the meeting

until there is a quorum.

Adjournment

88. The Chairperson shall announce the date of commencement
and adjournment of the National Council.

89. The sitting of the National Council shall be determined by
Rules of Procedure made in that behalf.

90. In case of any change in the day, time and programme of the
sitting of the National Council, the Secretary General shall

serve notice to this effect to the members on the preceding

day.

Manner of Voting

91. Only members have a right to vote in the decisions of the
National Council.

92. A member is entitled to one vote per proposal and the right
to vote shall not be exercised by proxy.

93. When debate has been formally concluded, the Chairperson
shall present a summary of the proposal. If an objection is

offered to the summary and the Chairperson considers the

objection justified, he shall rectify the summary.

94. If there are several proposals for the decision, one shall be
presented for voting against another, until all the proposals

have been thus voted on.

95. The Chairperson presiding over the proceedings of the
National Council shall not vote in the first instance, but he:

(a) Shall cast a deciding vote when there is an equality
of votes; and

(b) May cast a deliberative vote when a question must
be decided with a supporting vote of at least two-

thirds of the members of the National Council.

Dissenting Opinion

96. Any member who does not concur with a decision shall
have the right to enter his dissenting opinion in the minutes.

However, no further debate on such an opinion shall be

permitted.

Protocol about absence

97. A member who was not present when the decision on a
matter was made shall have the right to enter into the

minutes that he has not participated in the making of the

decision, but shall not have the right to object to the

decision.

Power of the National Council to Compel Attendance and

Production

97A. The National Council may at all times command and compel

the attendance before the National Council, or before any

Committee, of such persons and the production of such

papers and items as the National Council or Committee

deems necessary for any of its proceedings or deliberations.

97B. Whenever the National Council requires the attendance of any

person before the National Council or before any

Committee, the Chairperson may issue a warrant, directed

to that person named in the order of the House, requiring

the attendance of such person before the National Council

or Committee, and the production of such papers and items

as are ordered.

Chapter 7

Passing of Bills

98. A Bill passed by both the National Council and the National
Assembly shall come into force upon Assent of the Druk

Gyalpo.

99. Money Bills and financial Bills shall not originate in the
National Council.

100. A Bill pending in the National Council shall not lapse by
reason of the prorogation of the National Council.

101. A Bill shall be passed by a simple majority of the total
number of members of the National Council.

Bills Originating in the National Council

102. A Bill shall be introduced by a member with the
concurrence of the National Council.

103. Statements of Objects and Reasons, Memorandum regarding
delegated legislation and Financial Memorandum whenever

necessary shall be appended to the text of the Bill and

submitted to the Secretariat.

104. The opposition of the motion to introduce the Bill must be
notified before the day on which the motion is included in

the agenda. The Chairperson may allow a member who

opposes the introduction of the Bill and the member who

introduced the Bill to make explanatory statements.

105. Once the Bill is introduced it shall be referred to the
Legislative Committee for necessary opinion and

recommendations. The Chairperson of the Legislative

Committee shall submit the opinion and recommendation on

the Bill so scrutinized within the time prescribed. If the

member who introduced the Bill accepts any

recommendation of the Committee, he shall submit official

amendments.

106. After the member who introduced the Bill submits the
recommendation of the Committee to the National Council,

the discussion on each clause takes place and members may

offer amendments to the clauses of the Bill which is put to

vote of the National Council, thereafter the member who

introduced the Bill shall move a motion that the Bill be

passed.

107. Where a Bill has been introduced and passed by the
National Council, it shall present the Bill to the National

Assembly within 30 days from the date of passing.

108. Where the Bill is subsequently passed by the National
Assembly, the Bill shall be submitted to the Druk Gyalpo

for Assent within fifteen days from the date of passing such

Bill.

109. Where the National Assembly does not pass the Bill, it shall
return it to the National Council with amendments or

objections for re-deliberation. If the Bill is then passed, it

shall be presented to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent within

fifteen days from the date of passing of such Bill.

110. Where the National Council refuses to incorporate such
amendments or objections of the National Assembly, it shall

submit the Bill to the Druk Gyalpo, who shall then

command the Houses to deliberate and vote on the Bill in a

joint sitting.

111. Where the National Assembly neither passes nor returns the
Bill by the end of the next session from the date of

presentation, the Bill shall be deemed to have been passed

by it and the National Council shall present the Bill within

fifteen days to the Druk Gyalpo for Assent.

Bills Received from the National Assembly

112. Where a Bill has been presented to the National Council
after it has been introduced and passed by the National

Assembly, the National Council may pass that Bill no later

than the next session of the National Council. In case of

Budget or Urgent Bills, they shall be passed in the ongoing

session of the National Council.

113. Where a Bill is subsequently passed by the National Council
after it has been introduced and passed by the National

Assembly, the Bill shall be submitted to the Druk Gyalpo

for Assent within fifteen days from the date of passing such

Bill.

114. Where the National Council does not pass the Bill that has
been introduced and passed by the National Assembly, the

National Council shall return it to the National Assembly

with amendments or objections for re-deliberation.

115. Where the National Assembly refuses to incorporate such
amendments or objections of the National Council, it shall

submit the Bill to the Druk Gyalpo, who shall then

command the Houses to deliberate and vote on the Bill in a

joint sitting.

116. Where the National Council neither passes nor returns the
Bill by the end of the next session from the date of

presentation, the Bill shall be deemed to have been passed

by it.

Constitutional Amendment Bills

117. Notices of Constitutional Amendment Bills shall not be
admitted if the Bill does not contain a title indicating that it

is a Constitutional Amendment Bill.

118. Parliament shall have the power to amend by way of
addition, variation or repeal the provisions of the

Constitution. A motion to amend the Constitution shall be

initiated by a simple majority of the total number of

members of Parliament at a joint sitting and, on being

passed by not less than three-fourth of the total number of

members of Parliament, the Constitution shall stand

amended on Assent being granted by the Druk Gyalpo.

Budget and Annual Reports

119. The annual budget shall be presented to the National
Assembly for discussion and after being passed by the

National Assembly, it shall be presented to the National

Council by the Finance Ministry.

120. The Royal Audit Authority and the Anti-Corruption
Commission shall submit their Annual Reports to the

National Council.

121. The National Council shall monitor and review the fiscal
performance and position of the government in accordance

with the principles of fiscal sustainability and transparency.

Chapter 8

Parliamentary Devices

122. A member may secure an action sought by him through:

(a) Parliamentary initiative;
(b) Motion;
(c) Resolution;
(d) Postulate;
(e) Calling attention;
(f) Interpellation;
(g) Adjournment Motion ; and
(h) Motion of censure.

Parliamentary initiative

123. A member of the National Council may either submit a Bill
or general proposal seeking amendment of a section of law,

or a decision.

124. The Chairperson shall notify the National Council of the
receipt of government proposals and resolutions or

ministerial decisions presented for review by the National

Council and also notify the National Council of the

withdrawal of any such government proposals and

resolutions or ministerial decisions.

125. After the National Council admits introduction of a Bill or
general proposal seeking amendment of a section of the law

or a decision, such Bill or general proposal seeking

amendment of a section of the law or decision is then

debated and put to vote of the National Council.

Motion

126. A motion shall be a formal proposal made by any member
requesting the National Council to carry out an act, order an

act to be done or express an opinion with regard to some

matter.

Resolution

127. A resolution shall be a self contained, independent proposal
by any member for the approval of the National Council.

Such a proposal must express the decision of the National

Council.

Postulate

128. A postulate shall request the government to examine the
necessity of a law, decision or a measure in a particular case.

Calling attention

129. The National Council may call the attention of a minister to
any matter of urgent public importance.

Interpellation

130. A member shall question the Government during the
Question Time, which shall be held such number of times

and for such duration during each session, as the National

Council deems expedient.

131. An interpellation requires the government to present an
opinion either orally or in writing.

132. Any member of the National Council may submit a question
orally or in writing worded in precise terms to the

Chairperson.

133. The question must refer to specific fields for which the
government is responsible. It must be concise, brief and

must not contain subjective statements or evaluations.

134. The Chairperson may admit the questions submitted under
section 130 of this Act, if such questions are in accordance

with the Rules of Procedure made in that behalf.

135. The Chairperson shall give adequate time to the concerned
ministry or organization, as the case may be, for furnishing

the reply to the questions.

136. A member requesting for an oral reply to a question must
write the words “for oral reply” on the notice of the question

delivered to the Secretary General and if such words are not

noted on the question, it shall be placed on the list of

questions for written answers.

137. If the interpellator is not satisfied with the answer, he may,
with the permission of the Chairperson call a debate in the

National Council, in which the appropriate authority of the

government shall participate.

Adjournment motion

138. The Adjournment Motion shall be moved by giving a
written notice stating reasons for submitting the motion,

supported by not less than half of total members of the

National Council.

139. A motion for adjournment of the business of the National
Council under section 138 of this Act shall be made with the

consent of the Chairperson.

Motion of Censure

140. The National Council may challenge government policy
through a motion of censure.

141. The motion of censure must be proposed by not less than
half of the total number of members of the National Council.

142. The motion of censure may not be voted until 10 days after
it has been submitted. During the first seven days of this

period, alternative motions may be submitted.

143. The motion of censure shall be deemed to have been passed
by the National Council if passed by a two third majority of

the total number of the National Council.

144. If the National Assembly does not pass the motion of
censure as passed by the National Council by a two third

majority, the same shall be null and void.

Chapter 9

Committees

145. The National Council may appoint Committees to carry out
the business of the National Council.

146. The rules of the National Council besides others shall
provide for:

(a) The establishment, composition, powers, functions,

procedures and duration of its Committees; and

(b) Participation in the proceedings of the National

Council and its Committees, in a manner consistent

with the principles of the National Council Act of the

Kingdom of Bhutan.

Standing Committees

147. The National Council shall appoint Committees composed
of members of the Council to examine any matter within the

jurisdiction assigned to them by the House and to carry out

any mandate given to them by the House.

Select or Ad hoc or Special Committees

148. If any matter cannot be resolved for want of adequate
knowledge, a Committee may be constituted for this purpose

through a Standing Order or a Resolution passed by the

House specifying the Committee’s composition,

responsibilities, terms of reference and powers.

149. The Committee constituted under section 148 of this Act
shall, as soon as may be, place before the National Council

its opinion and recommendation on the matter referred to it

and such opinion and recommendation shall guide the

National Council.

Joint Committees

150. A Joint Committee composed of members from both Houses
may be established by an Act of Parliament or by concurrent

resolution of both Houses.

Procedure in the Committees

151. Each Committee shall elect a Chairperson from amongst its
members.

152. The members on a Committee shall be appointed by the
Chairperson of the National Council with due consideration

being given to the suitability of the member to be on the

Committee.

153. The Committee shall work under the direction of the
Chairperson of the National Council for such matters as the

National Council may from time to time refer.

154. During a period of prorogation of a session of the National
Council or when the term of members of the Committee

expires, their membership shall continue for the purpose of

this Act until new members are appointed by the

Chairperson of the National Council.

154A. To enable the Committees to discharge their functions

efficiently and effectively, each committee shall be

provided with a Committee Secretary, a Legal Assistant,

and a Draftsperson with adequate equipments and

befitting office space.

155. A member of a Committee having personal or pecuniary
interest in any matter that is to be considered by the

Committee shall state his interest therein to the Chairperson

of the National Council through the Chairperson of the

Committee.

156. A member of a Committee shall not divulge, either in the
minutes of dissent or on the floor of the National Council,

any matter circulated to him as confidential, without the

prior approval of the Chairperson of the National Council,

and where such approval has been obtained, any restriction

imposed with regard to the manner in which or the extent to

which such information may be divulged, shall be strictly

observed.

157. A member of a Committee or anyone having access to its
proceedings shall not communicate directly or indirectly to

the press any information regarding its proceedings

including its report.

Financial Provision

158. Prior to each fiscal year, the Secretariat shall prepare an
estimate of the budget that will be required for the payment

of the charges and expenses of the National Council and the

members thereof during the fiscal year and such expenses

shall be met from State funds.

Chapter 10

Reporting of Proceedings and Resolutions

Record of Proceeding

159. The Secretariat shall draw up records of proceedings at each
sitting of the National Council which shall be known as

Official Report of the National Council.

160. The Official Report of the National Council shall contain all
the items of business taken up by the National Council and

the verbatim records shall be maintained in digital sound or

print format.

161. The Secretary General shall submit the report of resolutions
to the National Council for endorsement wherein a member

may bring to the notice of the National Council any patent

error, which shall stand corrected but such resolutions once

adopted shall not be permitted for deliberation.

Distribution of copies of the Resolution

162. The Secretariat shall distribute, within 30 days of the
adoption of the resolution, copies of such resolutions among

the members and other concerned officials, ministries and

departments.

Record of Votes

163. The Chairperson shall cause the votes cast of each member
to be recorded and disclose such records, except in the case

of voting through secret ballot.

164. The casting of votes to elect or give approval to a person for
holding office shall be through a secret ballot.

Chapter 11

Code of Conduct

Non-Partisanship

164A. A member of the National Council shall neither be

influenced by any political party in the performance of

his/her function nor will he/she campaign for any political

party or candidate.

Dedication

165. A Member shall place the highest importance to serving the
Tsa-Wa-Sum with utmost loyalty and dedication, and fulfill

his responsibilities by following the highest moral

principles.

Responsibility

166. A member shall not indulge in any activity that adversely
affects the National Council, national sovereignty and

integrity of Bhutan and shall be responsible to the Druk

Gyalpo and the National Council for his actions.

Integrity

167. A member shall not be influenced in any manner whatsoever
by any individual or body of individuals in the discharge of

his duties.

Selflessness

168. A member shall always uphold first and foremost the
national interest, in discharging his duties and functions.

Conflict of Interest

169. A member shall refrain from casting his vote on any issue
where he has a conflict of interest.

General Code of Conduct

170. Parliament shall from time to time make laws to regulate
conduct of the members of the National Council which shall

include the following:

(a) A member shall ensure that his personal conduct is

consistent with the dignity, reputation and integrity

of the National Council;

(b) A member shall at all times conduct himself in a

courteous and respectful manner and shall respect

the authority of the Chairperson. In particular, he

shall not speak or leave the House when the

Chairperson is speaking and shall speak standing at

his place while addressing the Chairperson and the

National Council;

(c) A member shall not conduct himself in a manner that

would constitute a criminal offence or contempt of

the National Council;

(d) A member shall not display any disorderly conduct

in the National Council Hall;

(e) Foul language, loud laughter and clapping are not
permitted in the National Council Hall;

(f) A member shall address the National Council one by
one and they shall avoid using improper language in

expressing their views during the deliberation;

(g) Under compelling circumstances, if a member has to
leave the National Council Hall, he shall lower his

Kabney and bow while leaving and re-entering as a

gesture of respect to the House;

(h) No member shall unduly influence the Government
officials or Ministers in a case in which he is

financially or personally interested nor elicit

information from the Government in an unauthorized

manner;

(i) A member shall not appear before a Minister or a
Government official in his capacity as a lawyer, legal

advisor, counsel or a solicitor;

(j) A member shall not recommend any of his relations
or other persons with whom he has direct or indirect

interest for employment or business contracts to

Government officials;

(k) A member who has the floor under proper procedure
shall not be interrupted by other members; and

(l) No member shall impose threat, intimidation or use
individual influence to encourage another member to

make any remarks in the National Council.

Incompatibility

171. A member of the National Council shall not:

(a) (Repealed)

(b) Simultaneously belong to different Committees,

commissions or boards except as otherwise provided

by law made by Parliament, or on the approval of the

Chairperson;

(c) Be assigned any responsibility that may be

reasonably construed to have conflict of interest;

(d) Undertake private employment or perform any
function, which is liable to impair public confidence;

(e) Misuse official status, power or public property;

(f) Indulge in illegal or improper means; or

(g) Hold office of profit.

Other Obligations

172. A member shall before receiving foreign and international
awards inform the Chairperson. The Chairperson of the

National Council shall decide whether the award in question

can be accepted by the member.

173. A member shall not maintain or operate bank accounts in
any country outside Bhutan.

174. No member shall during Parliamentary delegations to
foreign countries give press statements regarding the visit,

such briefings of the press shall be done by the leader of the

delegation.

175. A member shall respect the apolitical nature of Public
Service.

Chapter 12

Offences and Penalties

176. Except for any criminal offence which shall be dealt with in
accordance with the Penal Code of Bhutan, any other

offence under this Act shall be dealt with in accordance with

this Act.

177. A member who contravenes any provision of this Act shall
be guilty of an offence and be liable to one or more of the

following penalties, as determined by the National Council:

a) A reprimand;

b) A fine;

c) The refund of any illicit profit;

d) The refund of the indemnities, allowances or other
sums he received as a member while the offence

continued;

e) A temporary suspension; or

f) The loss of his seat as a member.

Breach of Privileges

178. When any individual or authority disregards any of the
privileges, either of the members or of the National Council,

an offence of breach of privilege is committed.

179. Breach of privileges and contempt may include:

(a) Reflection on the character and impartiality of the

Chairperson in the discharge of his duty;

(b) Publication of false or distorted report of the

proceedings of the National Council;

(c) Publication of proceedings of the close door sittings,

without the permission of the Chairperson;

(d) Intimidating of members to influence them in their

conduct;

(e) Offering bribes to members to influence them in

their conduct;

(f) Deliberately giving false or misleading evidence or

information to the National Council or Committee

thereof, by a member or witness;

(g) Disobedience to orders of the Chairperson or a

Committee;

(h) Obstructing or molesting any person summoned for

his attendance in the National Council or its

Committee;

(i) Misconduct in the National Council or its

Committees;

(j) Presenting false or forged or fabricated documents to

the National Council or its Committee;

(jj) Refusing to present information or document that has

been requested by a Member or Committee of the

National Council;

(k) Obstructing or molesting members of the National

Council, officials or ancillary staff of the National

Council in the execution of their parliamentary

duties; or

(l) Tampering with documents presented to the National

Council or its Committee.

180. On any inquiry concerning the privileges, immunities and
powers of the National Council, any copy of the journals of

the National Council shall be admitted as evidence.

180A. The penalty for breach of privileges by any person under this

Act is guilty of an offence and liable to a maximum fine of

five years minimum wage.

Suspension

181. The Chairperson may call to order any member resorting to
disorderly behaviour, disregarding the authority of the chair

or contravening the prescribed Code of Conduct, whereby

he willfully obstructs the business of the National Council,

and if the member fails to heed such call, the Chairperson

may order him to leave the National Council Hall and he

shall not be entitled to attend the sittings of the National

Council for the rest of the day.

182. A member persistently obstructing the business of the
National Council by deliberately indulging in disorderly

behaviour or intentionally contravening the prescribed Code

of Conduct shall be barred from attending the sittings of the

National Council for the next fifteen days.

183. If a member attempts to use force which is derogatory to the
dignity of the National Council, the Chairperson may

suspend him for the whole or any part of the session as he

may deem fit.

184. A member barred from attending the sitting of the National
Council under sections 182 and 183 of this Act, shall not

return to the Session until the period of suspension has been

completed. Thereafter, any future violation of the Code of

Conduct by that member shall lead to removal from the

National Council and such member shall be barred from

contesting in future elections to the House.

185. If a member uses physical force in the House, then that
member shall be permanently removed from the National

Council and barred from contesting in future elections to the

Council.

Competence of the Council

185A. The National Council is fully competent to judge any offence

provided for in this Act and to apply the penalties

prescribed therein.

Chapter 13

The Secretariat

186. The National Council shall have a Secretariat headed by a
Secretary General to aid and assist the National Council in

discharge of its parliamentary duties.

187. The Druk Gyalpo shall, by warrant under His hand and seal,
appoint the Secretary General of the National Council on the

recommendation of the Royal Civil Service Commission.

Functions

188. The Secretary General shall, under the supervision of the
Chairperson, manage the affairs of the National Council and

be responsible for the administration of the Secretariat.

189. The Secretariat shall ensure:

a) that proper training and orientation in parliamentary
procedure, discipline and decorum are given to the

new members of the National Council;

b) the safekeeping of the records of decisions and
proceedings of the National Council and of the

Committees;

c) that a register called the Register of Declaration of
Assets and Liabilities of Members is maintained

based on information supplied by members pursuant

to section 31 of this Act; and

d) To enable the members of the National Council to
discharge their functions efficiently and effectively,

each member shall be provided with at least one

research assistant, adequate supporting staff,

equipment and befitting office space.

190. The Secretariat shall keep proper record of proposals and
their date of receipt.

190A. The Secretariat staff shall aid and assist the members in

carrying out their duties of the Parliament.

191. The agenda shall be submitted to the Chairperson through
the Secretary General of the National Council. The agenda
for the joint sittings of Parliament shall be decided jointly by

the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson

of the National Council.

192. The Secretariat shall perform such other functions as may be
determined by this Act or any other rules made under this

Act.

Chapter 14

Rule Making, Amendment and Authoritative Text

Rule Making

193. The National Council may determine its Rules of Procedure
and the Chairperson shall conduct the proceedings of the

National Council in accordance with the rules.

Amendment

194. The amendment of this Act by way of addition, variation, or
repeal shall be effected by a simple majority of the

respective Houses or vote of no less than two-thirds of the

total members of Parliament present and voting on a motion

submitted by one-third of the members of either House,

provided that the amendment does not undermine the

functions and effectiveness of the National Council.

Authoritative Text

195. In any instance of a difference in meaning between the
Dzongkha and the English texts of this Act, Dzongkha text

shall be regarded as the authoritative text.

Related Laws