Two were sharing a can of beer

Nim Dorji

Bumthang district court sentenced six men and a woman to 11 months in prison for violating the government’s directive to close shop at 7pm.

They were charged for breach of public order and tranquility as per section 448 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, which is a pretty misdemeanour where each of the defendants can pay thrimthue of Nu 41,250 in lieu of the imprisonment.

Police apprehended the violators in two separate incidents. On April 18, police intercepted three men and the hotel owner drunk around 10 pm inside the closed hotel. In the other incident, on April 21, two men were caught with a can of lager beer in a shop at around 8.30pm. It was Tuesday, a “Dry Day” where sale of alcohol is restricted. The defendants claimed that they came to drop a taam (beater) to the shop and they were offered a can of beer to be shared.

The government has announced that all the business to close by 7 pm on April 14 to ensure there is no risk of community transmission and avoid mass gathering.

The judgment was passed on May 1 and 5 respectively.

Meanwhile, similar case was registered on May 12 where two men and the shopkeeper were apprehended in a bar near Jambay Lhakhang area.