Justices of the Supreme Court and High Court
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Bhutan comprises of the Chief Justice and four associate Justices. The Chief Justice is appointed from among the Drangpons of the Supreme Court or from among eminent jurists by the Druk Gyalpo in consultation with the National Judicial Commission. The term of office of the Chief Justice of Bhutan is five years or until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier. The associate Justices are appointed from among the Drangpons of the High Court or from among eminent jurists by the Druk Gyalpo in consultation with the National Judicial Commission. The associate Justices will serve for ten years or until attaining the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.
His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo devised a special method to initiate the process to establish the first Supreme Court through the Royal Decree issued to the Nation on the 3rd Day of the 10th Month of the Female Earth Ox Year of the Bhutanese calendar corresponding to 19th November 2009. The Royal Commission was entrusted with the sacred responsibility of nominating a candidate for the post of Chief Justice of Bhutan and Justices of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the Chief Justice and three associate Justices were administered the oath of office and secrecy on 21st February 2010 establishing the first Supreme Court of Bhutan, coinciding with the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s thirtieth birth anniversary.
The High Court
Appointment of Dzongkhag Drangpons dates back to 1960. After the establishment of the High Court on 3rd November 1967, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck promulgated Kadyon (Royal Edict) Nga in 1976, which provided for the appointment of the Judges (Drangpons). The first Chief Justice of Bhutan was appointed in 1985.
The High Court of Bhutan, which comprises of a Chief Justice and eight Drangpons, is the court of appeal from the Dzongkhag Courts and Tribunals in all matters and exercises original jurisdiction in matters not within the jurisdiction of the Dzongkhag Courts and Tribunals and is the court of first instance for constitutional cases. The High Court Chief Justice and Justices are appointedfrom among the drangpons of dzongkhag courts or from eminent jurists by Druk Gyalpo on the recommendation of the National Judicial Commission.
The High Court for administrative purposes consists of different Benches including larger Benches constituted by the Chief Justice of the High Court as required in the interest of Justice. Each Bench comprises of a minimum of two Justices and maximum of three Justices to hear appeals from the subordinate Courts. The parties may proffer an appeal from the decisions rendered by the bench, which shall be heard by a larger bench constituted and presided over by the Chief Justice of the High Court consisting of a minimum of three Justices.
The Acting Chief Justice and four associate Justices were administered the oath of office and secrecy on 21st May 2010.
The Dzongkhag Court
The Dzongkhag Court is presided over by a Dzongkhag Drangpon. Every Dzongkhag Drangpon is assisted by one or more Drangpon Rabjam(s) or registrar(s). The Dzongkhag Drangpons are appointed by the Chief Justice of Bhutan on the recommendation of the Royal Judicial Service Council.
The Dungkhag Court
The Dungkhag Court is presided over by a Dungkhag Drangpon. The chief Justice of Bhutan appoints legally qualified, experienced and competent persons of high integrity as Dungkhag drangpons upon the recommendation of the Royal Judicial Service Council.