MoHCA introduces RBP Amendment Bill in National Council

NC members have raised concerns about inserting a new section

The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs (MoHCA) introduced the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) (Amendment) Bill 2021 during the second sitting of the 29th Session of the National Council.

Home Minister Ugyen Dorji introduced the Bill.

The reason for the amendment was after a few unforeseen practical challenges have come across in implementing the Royal Bhutan Police Act, which was enacted in 2009.

Further, the National Review Taskforce Report recommended the need to harmonize Sections 71 and 111 of the Act.

In the new RBP (Amendment) Bill 2021, Sections 71 and 111 of the Royal Bhutan Police Act 2009 are repealed.

Section 71 stated that RBP can prosecute petty misdemeanor cases, but the National Assembly in its review stated that police need not prosecute as the institution is loaded with more responsibilities and that the prosecution will be done by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

Besides the Domestic Violence Prevention Act of Bhutan, Section 111 stated that no person shall compromise the case. 

In the Bill, a new section 16 (A) is inserted that reads: “As an important part of nations security forces, the institution shall be treated like Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) and Royal Body Guard (RBG) on the followings: (a) Rank Structure; (b) Appointment, promotion and removal; (c) Positions and tenure; and (c) Salary, allowances, benefits and other emoluments”.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji informed the House that the RBP (Amendment) Bill is to bring the act into life that is being practiced and remove the redundant ones.

“There are misconceptions that the RBP is under MoHCA,” the minister said.

However, National Council members raised concerns about inserting a new section.

National Council members from Chukha and Bumthang, MP Sangay Dorji, and MP Nima raised concerns about how the new section would go in parallel with the RBA and RBG.

Punakha’s NC member Lhaki Dolma raised concern over the inclusion of the new section and said that it may not be applicable or convenient for the lower ranks.

NC member from Trashigang Lhatu questioned how it would be convenient to work after the omission and inclusion of some sections and the RBP being under the MoHCA.

NC member of Haa, MP Ugyen Namgay recommended that a part of the section be detailed so as not to have misinterpretation in the future.

Responding to the concerns, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said that there would not be any contradictions, rather it will be more convenient.

“However, we may encounter difficulties during the implementation,” Lyonpo added.

The minister expressed his expectation that the National Council members will consider and support passing the Bill for the benefit of all. 

The Bill will be discussed in the coming sessions in detail.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu