Jackson Drukpa

High Court judgment dismisses Chheku Drukpa’s case against ECB

In its final judgment on 13 July, the High Court rejected Chheku Drukpa’s charges against the Election Commission of Bhutan’s (ECB) decision to disqualify Druk Gaki Tshogpa’s (DGT) registration as a political party, on the ground that the party did not submit a name of registered member from 2 dzongkhags, and along with that the accounts of fees and voluntary contribution was not done, as per the political party form no 2.

High Court judgment reads, “Despite being clearly mentioned in the Electoral Law and Political Party Rules and Regulations that the political party must have one member from each dzongkhags, DGT submitted a list of only 18 members, there was no members from 2 dzongkhags. Chapter 8, Article 136 of Election Act, 2008 says the political party shall demonstrate that the political party is broad based with cross national membership and support.”

In addition, one of the judges said, “The Chapter 3, Article 3.5.7 of the Political Party Rules and Regulations states the form submitted by political party must contain names of registered members along with the accounts of the fees and the voluntary contribution received as on the day of the submission of the application in the political party Form No. 2. DGT submitted names of registered members with the accounts of fees and voluntary contribution but not in the format presented in the political party Form No. 2.”

According to the High Court, “The Election Commission said that there are no potential candidates for half of the 47 constituencies. In terms of the profile of the candidates in the list submitted, it is found that 20 are in the 25 to 35 years age group; 4 between 35 to 45 years and 1 is a 46-year old, with no person of public standing and demonstrated experience of leading a government or a public office or an established business.”

“Article 176 of the Election Act says a person shall be qualified to be a member of National Assembly if the if the person is of the minimum age of 25 years and not more than maximum age of 65 years at the time of filing the nomination and if the person possesses a formal university degree. The commission does not have the right to decide whether the members of the political party are capable or not,” the High Court said.

The High Court also said, “Election Commission said that serious concerns remain on the party ideology which is found to be general, and nothing is to be mentioned about how the substantive task of national development is envisioned. The political party is not required to mention anything about the substantive task of national development apart from party charter and ideology.”

Chheku Drukpa claimed that he submitted names of registered members from all the dzongkhags.

The Court said, “If the party is not happy with the decision of the court, it can appeal the Supreme Court within a period of 10 days.”

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