Phub Dem

The National Council unanimously adopted to repeal Section 199.8 (A.b) during the adoption of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2019 yesterday.

This means that an offence of or above felony of the second degree is bailable as per the recommendation of the House.

The amended Section 199.8 (A) states: “The court shall not grant bail to a person who has been charged or anticipated being charged with an offence against security and sovereignty of the country.”

The House also recommended that: “The court shall, upon execution of a bond of such sum of money by one or more sureties grant bail at any stage after the arrest of a suspect if the conditions of bail stated in the CCPC are fulfilled.”

NC’s recommendation complement the Supreme Court’s order to rule section 199.8 (A.b) of the CCPC null and void.

The Supreme Court (SC)  issued an order on July 24 stating that section 199.8 (A.b) of the amended Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2011 contravenes the Constitution, and it, thereby, repealed the provision.

The SC, through the order signed by Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk, ruled that the section contravenes section 16 of Article 7 of the Constitution, which states, “A person charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law”.

It stated that the section was considered null and void in accordance with section 10 of Article 1 of the Constitution, which states that the provisions of any law, whether made before or after the adoption of the Constitution, which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be null and void.

The House also recommended the judiciary to frame sentencing guidelines to avoid contradicting sentencing by the judges.

Chairperson of Legislative Committee Choining Dorji said that because there was no clear guideline, the sentencing deepened on individual judges. He said that it was up to the judge to sentence a defendant for a consecutive or concurrent sentence.

The House also adopted to register cases if it is satisfied that a defendant or accused has knowingly, purposefully or willfully evaded the suit for prosecution even if the accused or defendant is not available during the course of registration.

Furthermore, NC recommended revised provision under judicial sale which states that the court shall sell the property of a judgment debtor or a person against whom a financial penalty has been awarded even if the debtor is not available during the time of judicial sale.

The House will forward the Bill to the National Assembly with the recommendations for re-deliberation.