The National Council, in its inaugural session on 3 June, deliberated on the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) Amendment Bill, 2021. The RBP Amendment Bill was introduced by Home Minister Ugyen Dorji.
The Bill was amended after finding unforeseen practical challenges in implementing the RBP Act, 2009. The Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan, 2021 was introduced for first and second reading during the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament.
Among others, the deliberation aims to harmonize inconsistent provisions of the existing Royal Bhutan Police Act of Bhutan, 2009 and to professionalize the police force.
Section 71 of the RBP Act states that the RBP can prosecute on petty misdemeanor cases, however, the National Assembly in its review said the RBP need not prosecute as the institution is loaded with other responsibilities. NA opined that the prosecution will be carried out by Office of Attorney General.
Repealing Section 71 and 111 in the Act, a new section 16 (A) was inserted which states: “As an important part of nations security forces, the institution shall be treated like Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) and Royal Body Guard (RBG) on clauses like rank structure; appointment, promotion and removal; positions and tenure; and salary, allowances, benefits and other emoluments.
Deliberating the Royal Bhutan Police Amendment Bill, 2021, the National Council members shared concerns on the newly proposed section to make RBP equivalent to the likes of Royal Bhutan Army, and the Royal Body Guard.
While appreciating the National Assembly on introducing the Bill, the MP of Chukha Sangay Dorji raised concerns as to how it would be applicable to RBP to go in line with Royal Bhutan Army and Royal Body Guard.
Similarly, MP of Punakha, Lhaki Dolma, and MP of Bumthang Nima also raised concern on the issue. Furthermore, Zhemgang MP Pema Dakpa asked whether the ministry had done enough consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Lhatu, the MP of Trashigang, said including the new section and omitting several sections would be conducive to implement the Act. In addition the MP of Haa, Ugyen Namgay, said that the details of new section should be included to avoid complications in the future.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Ugyen Dorji reiterated saying that the ministry had conducted numerous consultations with relevant agencies to review the Bill. He however said the RBG and RBA were not consulted as the prime minister had met with them.
Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said the new Bill is convenient to be implemented. “I hope the National Council will support the Bill considering the benefit it has on the organization,” he said.