National Council Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008

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Table of Contents

Title Page No.

Preamble 1
Chapter 1 Preliminary 2

Chapter 2 The National Council 2

Chapter 3 Members of the National Council 5

Chapter 4 Chairperson and Vice Chairperson 15

Chapter 5 Sittings of the National Council 19

Chapter 6 Conduct of Business 21

Chapter 7 Passing of Bills 26

Chapter 8 Parliamentary Devices 32

Chapter 9 Committees 37

Chapter 10 Reporting of Proceedings and Resolutions 40

Chapter 11 Code of Conduct 42

Chapter 12 Offences and Penalties 47

Chapter 13 Secretariat 52

Chapter14Amendment and Authoritative Text 53

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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:

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 …… Day, of the… Month
of the Male Earth Rat Year of the Bhutanese
Calendar corresponding to the….Day of the …
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.

2

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.

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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

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

4

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.

5

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;

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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

7

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 person holding a seat in the National Council shall not
tender resignation of the seat while the election of that
person as a member of the National Council is lawfully
contested.

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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.

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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.

10

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.

11

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

27

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

28

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. Questions of national importance shall be listed in
category I and shall require written answers to be given.
All other questions shall be listed in category II and oral
answers shall suffice.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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 and it shall ensure
that the reports of the proceedings are verbatim. This
report 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 it shall be recorded according to the agenda.

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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.

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Code of Conduct

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.

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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;

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(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;

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(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) Purchase or lease any government property even if

the sale or lease thereof has been offered in public

auction;

(b) Simultaneously belong to different Committees,

commissions or boards except as otherwise

provided by law made by Parliament;

(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;

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(g) Hold office of profit.

Other Obligations

172. A member shall not accept decorations from foreign
countries and shall before receiving international awards
inform the National Council. The National Council shall
decide whether the international 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.

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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.

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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;

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(g) Disobedience to orders of the Chairperson;

(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;

(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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Related Laws