The High Court has ruled that only the parties in the party have rights to file any constitutional cases in the court, creating debates whether individual citizens will have any say in the constitutional cases.
The court ruled Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has no legal standing to file case against the government.
The party had filed case against government for alleged violation of the Constitution by granting fiscal incentives without the parliament’s endorsement.
The Tobgay-government had granted fiscal incentives worth Nu 1.104 billion between January 1, 2016 and May 7, 2017.
DNT’s basis of argument before the Court was Article 14.1 of the Constitution, which states, “Taxes, fees and other forms of levies shall not be imposed or altered except by law.”
The court stated that DNT has no jurisdiction to file a constitutional writ as it is not a party who is directly harmed or has the right to invoke ‘class action suit’ as per Section 149 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (CCPC), and declared the lack of ‘’ or legal standing” as per Section 31.2 of the code.
“Under these provisions, only a person or class of individuals, whose rights are directly affected or who suffered an actual injury has the legal standing to sue,” the judgment stated.
DNT had claimed that it represents 17 percent of the voters who have voted for them in the primary round of the elections in 2013. The High Court ruled that DNT’s invocation of ‘legal standing’ based on Article 21, Section 18 and Article 7, Section 23 of the Constitution is not tenable.
DNT said it is disheartened by the court ruling but would not appeal against it. Party president Dr Tandi Dorji said, ‘I’ll write to the Opposition Leader urging the party to take this case forward and bring it to its logical conclusion.’
A press release issued by DNT stated that the Opposition has stated that the provision of fiscal incentives in 2016 is a violation of the Constitution and it is, therefore, the responsibility of the Opposition now to decide whether to file a case to clarify the constitutionality of providing fiscal incentives.