Thinley Namgay  

In an effort to ensure consistent regulations for sporting activities during annual celebrations and religious ceremonies across the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General, recently developed a new guideline.

Minister of Home Affairs Ugyen Dorji shared this information during the National Assembly session while addressing concerns raised by MP Ugyen Wangdi of Drametse-Ngatshang.

Ugyen Wangdi highlighted the need for common rules among dzongkhags to approve sporting events and clarify which sports are permitted. Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji assured that the ministry would continue to support sports activities as long as they do not involve gambling.

He referred to Section 393 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, which defines gambling as an act of staking or wagering something of value on the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the individual’s control. Such activities are considered an offence, punishable as a petty misdemeanour under Section 394.

Lyonpo acknowledged the lack of standardisation among dzongkhags, attributing it to differences in the interpretation of the new regulations. He cited challenges in implementation due to various factors such as limited manpower for monitoring, and a lack of awareness among the rural population.

To address these issues, the ministry plans to conduct awareness programmes for dzongdas (district administrators), local government officials, and farmers, aiming to familiarise them with the new guidelines.

The Speaker of the National Assembly instructed Lyonpo to distribute copies of the new guideline to all members of parliament before the conclusion of the current session.