The Constitution scroll is dedicated to His Majesty the Drukgyal Zhipa

Judiciary:  More than seven years after the Constitution of Bhutan, the mother law, had been enacted, Bhutan saw yet another milestone with the consecration and inauguration of 34 Constitution thangkas (scrolls) at the Supreme Court yesterday.

Consecrated by the Yonten Lopon of Zhung Dratshang, Tandin Tshewang, and inaugurated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, and the president of the Bhutan National Legal Institute (BNLI), Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, each kuthang depicts each Article of the Constitution.

Her Majesty the Gyalyum and HRH Princess also signed the commemorative note marking the inauguration of the Constitution Thangkas to commemorate His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th birth anniversary.

BNLI’s director Pema Wangchuk said that the kuthangs are befitting His Majesty the Fourth King’s 34 years of reign and 34 Articles of the Constitution, which is developed as a symbolic reflection and representation of principles derived from the Buddhist scriptures and important provisions of the Constitution.

A press release from the Supreme Court and BNLI stated that in order to use it sagaciously that befits its purpose of augmenting the visions and wishes of His Majesty the Fourth King, Father of the Constitution, to the fullest of its objective so that the fortunate subjects of this Land of Medicinal Herbs continue to uninterruptedly enjoy the fruits from the tree of jewels thereof, an explanatory commentary of the kuthang will also be gradually produced.

One of the principal objectives, the press release stated, is to enable Bhutanese who are not legally literate and most importantly future generations to instantly understand, appreciate and grasp the meaning and significance of the provisions of the Constitution merely by seeing the kuthang.

Conceptualized by HRH Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, the special committee carried out extensive deliberations. “The BNLI and the Supreme Court formed a special committee to review the submissions of the judges throughout the country,” a committee member, drangpon Lungten Dubgyur said. “The judges had submitted their visions depicting how the pictorial representation should reflect in the kuthang.”

The 34 kuthangs were created by two local artists- Tshempon (tailor master) Sonam Tobgye and Lhadrip (painter) Tshewang Tenzin. The Constitution thangkas will remain open for public viewing.

Bhutan witnessed a peaceful transition to democracy under the leadership of the Wangchuck dynasty with the adoption of the Constitution. The Constitution was drafted on the personal initiative and, the wise and courageous decision of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The Constitution was adopted on July 18, 2008 by the first democratically elected members of the Parliament.

Rinzin Wangchuk