English | Dzongkha Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Only first-degree felony or above will be non-bailable

Dec 11, 2020

The non-bailable offence will only be the first-degree felony or above. The parliament endorsed the Joint Committee on the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code’s (CCPC) proposal to amend the non-bailable offence from a second degree or above to a first-degree felony or above.

Section 199.8 A of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act of Bhutan 2011 states that a person is ineligible for bail if he or she is accused of an offence against the security and sovereignty of the country and an offence of or above felony of the second-degree. However, some members supported the Joint Committee’s recommendation of removing the non-bailable clause of second-degree offence stating that it is depriving individuals of basic human rights and fundamental rights.

The original clause (B) in the section of the Bill states that an offence of or above second-degree felony is ineligible for bail. During the amendment of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code Bill of Bhutan 2019 yesterday, the House agreed to amend the clause reasoning it to be unconstitutional.

“According to legal experts, the section is unconstitutional and I feel they are right. According to my experience and research, in developed countries, deciding whether a person is eligible for bail or not before the verdict in itself is violating human rights. An accused is innocent until proven guilty by the court of law,” said Ugyen Tshering, an Eminent Member of the National Council.

“When an individual is a suspect and is denied bail, it is against human rights. But if an individual is found guilty of an offence, then it is another thing. But until a valid or sufficient proof is presented to prove the offence, a person should be granted bail,” added Passang Dorji (PhD), the Bartsham-Shongphu’s Member of Parliament.

The Parliament endorsed the recommendations and adopted the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill of Bhutan 2019 with 65 Yes votes and 6 abstaining out of 71 Members present and voting.

Offences such as rape of a child above 12 years and voluntary manslaughter are graded as a second-degree felony while murder, statutory rape, treason, terrorism and offences against Ku, Sung, Thukten are some of the crimes graded as the first-degree felony.

Tshering Dendup

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