Sikkim, Constitution of
Constitution of the Kingdom of Sikkim of 5 October 1970
We, Palden Thondup Namgyal, Chogyal of the Kingdom of Sikkim, promulgate this Constitution with the assent of Our National Assembly as follows:
Article 1 – The Kingdom of Sikkim
- The Kingdom of Sikkim is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis; the power of the State is inherent in and issues from the Chogyal and the People and shall be exercised by both in accordance with the provisions of the present Constitution.
- The Kingdom of Sikkim is a unitary State consisting of five dzongdey with thirteen dzongkhags. It is based upon the principle of enabling the people residing within its borders to live in peace and freedom.
- The dzongdey of Mangan consists of the dzongkhag of Mangan.
- the dzongdey of Gangtok consists of the dzongkhags of Gangtok, Namchi, and Geyzing.
- The dzongdey of Darjeeling consists of the dzongkhags of Darjeeling, Kalimpang, Karsiyang, and Siliguri.
- The dzongdey of Mechi consists of the dzongkhags of Ilam, Jhapa, Panchthar, and Taplejung.
- The dzongdey of Yatung consists of the dzongkhag of Yatung.
- Gangtok is the capital and the seat of the National Assembly and the Royal Government.
- Changes in the boundaries of the territory of the Kingdom may only be made by a law.
- Boundary changes between dzongdhags and dzongdeys, and the union of existing ones also require a majority decision of the citizens residing there who are entitled to vote.
Article 2 – The Monarchy
- The succession to the throne, hereditary in the Namgyal Chogyals of Sikkim, the coming-of-age of the Chogyal and of the Heir Apparent, as well as any guardianship which may be required, are to be determined by the Royal House in the form of a dynasty law.
- Every successor to the throne shall, before receiving the oath of allegiance, declare upon his honour and dignity in a written proclamation that he will govern the Kingdom of Sikkim in conformity with the Constitution and the other laws, that he will maintain its integrity, and that he will observe the rights of sovereignty indivisibly and in like manner.
- The Chogyal may entrust the Heir Apparent who has attained majority with the exercise of the sovereign powers held by him as his representative should he be temporarily prevented or in preparation for the Succession.
- Not less than 1,500 citizens have the right to table a reasoned motion of no confidence in the Chogyal. The National Assembly must issue a recommendation on this at its next session and order the holding of a referendum in accordance with Article 66, Paragraph #If the motion is accepted in the referendum, it must be communicated to the Chogyal for consideration under the dynasty law. The Chogyal must inform the National Assembly within six months of the decision reached in compliance with the said Law.
Article 3 - Culture
- The flag, the emblem, and the national anthem of the Kingdom shall be laid down in a separate law.
- The national colors are green and red.
- Denjongka is the national and official language.
- Buddhism of the Nyingma tradition is the State religion and as such enjoys the full protection of the State; other confessions shall be entitled to practise their creeds and to hold religious services to the extent consistent with morality and public order.
Article 4 - Executive
- The Chogyal is the Head of State and shall exercise his sovereign authority in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution and of the other laws.
- The Chogyal is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts and does not have legal responsibility. The same applies to any member of the Royal House who exercises the function of head of state.
- The Chogyal shall represent the State in all its relations with foreign countries, without prejudice to the necessary participation of the responsible Royal Government.
- The Chogyal shall take, through the Royal Government, and independently of the National Assembly, the steps required for the implementation and enforcement of the laws, and any action required in pursuance of the powers of administration and supervision, and shall issue the requisite ordinances (Article 13). In urgent cases he shall take the necessary measures for the security and welfare of the State.
- The Chogyal shall appoint the judges in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution (Article 16).
- Every law shall require the sanction of the Chogyal in order to acquire validity.
- The Chogyal shall possess the prerogative of remitting, mitigating or commuting sentences which have been legally pronounced, and of quashing prosecutions that have been initiated.
- Only at the instigation of the National Assembly shall the Chogyal exercise his prerogative of remission or mitigation in favour of a member of the Royal Government sentenced on account of his official acts.
Article 5 - Functions of the State
- The supreme function of the State is to promote the general welfare of the People. For this purpose, the State shall provide for the institution and maintenance of law, and for the protection of the religious, moral and economic interests of the People.
- The State shall support and promote education and schooling. The whole field of education and schooling shall be under the supervision of the State. This must be so ordered and administered that, from the co-operation of the family, the school and the Sangha, the younger generation may be imbued with religious and moral principles and patriotic sentiments and may be fitted for their future occupations.
- Education shall be compulsory for all.
- The State shall ensure that adequate compulsory instruction in the elementary subjects is given free of charge in public schools.
- All persons with children in their care shall ensure that they receive education of the standard prescribed for public elementary schools.
- Private education shall be permissible provided that it conforms to the legal regulations governing the period of schooling, the educational aims and the arrangements prevailing in the public schools.
- The State shall provide appropriate scholarships to help children of good intellectual attainments but without financial means to attend institutes of higher education.
- The State shall be responsible for the public health system, assist institutions for the care of the sick, and seek by legislation to combat intemperance and to reform alcoholics and work-shy persons.
- The State shall safeguard the right to work and shall protect the workers, especially women and young persons employed in commerce and industry.
- Public holidays recognized by the State shall be observed as public days of rest.
- To increase employment and to advance its economic interests, the State shall promote and assist agriculture, alpine farming, trade and industry. In particular, it shall promote insurance against damage and injuries to which workers and goods are exposed, and shall take measures to prevent such injuries and damage.
- It shall pay special attention to the development of the transportation system in accordance with modern requirements.
- It shall support landslide control measures and afforestation and drainage operations and shall monitor and encourage every endeavour to develop new sources of income.
- The State shall possess sovereign rights over waters in conformity with the laws existing or to be enacted hereafter in this matter. The utilisation and distribution of such waters and flood control measures shall be regulated by law and promoted, with due regard to the development of technology. Rights relating to electricity shall be regulated by law.
- The State shall exercise sovereign rights over hunting, fishing, mining and the Kingdom’s forests. When legislating on these matters, it shall protect the interests of agriculture, of communal revenues and of quality of life.
- The currency and banking system shall be regulated by the State.
- By enacting the necessary legislation, the State shall provide for an equitable system of taxation, which shall exempt from taxation incomes below a minimum standard of living and shall impose heavier burdens on persons in higher wealth or income brackets.
- Public poor relief shall be administered by the communes in conformity with specific laws. The State shall be responsible, however, for the supervision of such activities. It may grant appropriate assistance to the communes, especially for the proper care of orphans, the mentally handicapped, persons suffering from incurable diseases and the aged.
- The State shall support and promote health, old age, disability and fire insurance schemes.
- The State shall provide for a rapid procedure for legal actions and the execution thereof, under conditions that will safeguard material rights; it shall also provide for a system of administrative law based on the same principles.
- The exercise of the professional representation of parties shall be regulated by law.
- Where necessary in the public interest, property of any kind may be compulsorily assigned or subjected to an encumbrance, against appropriate compensation, the amount of which in cases of dispute shall be determined by the courts.
- The procedure for expropriation shall be regulated by law.
Article 6 - General Rights and Obligations of Citizens of the Kingdom
- All citizens shall be equal before the law. The public offices shall be equally open to them, subject to observance of the legal regulations.
- There shall be equality of rights between the sexes.
- Every citizen shall be freely entitled to reside in any locality within the Kingdom and to acquire property of any description, provided that he observes the detailed legal regulations relating to such matters.
- The domicile rights of aliens shall be determined by treaties or, in their absence, on a basis of reciprocity.
- Persons staying within the territory of the Kingdom shall be bound to observe its laws and shall be entitled to the protection afforded by the Constitution and the other laws.
- All citizens shall be entitled to civic rights in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution.
- All citizens who have completed their eighteenth year, have their normal residence in the Kingdom and whose right to vote has not been lost may exercise all political rights in matters of State.
- The conditions under which citizenship rights may be acquired or forfeited shall be determined by law.
- Personal liberty, the immunity of the home and the inviolability of letters and written matter are guaranteed.
- Except in the cases specified in law and in the manner thus prescribed, no person may be arrested or detained in custody, no houses or persons may be searched and no letters or written matter may be examined or seized.
- Persons arrested unlawfully or when demonstrably innocent and those proved innocent after conviction shall be entitled to full compensation from the State as determined by the courts. Whether and to what extent the State has a right of recourse against third parties in such cases shall be regulated by law.
- Nobody may be deprived of his proper judge; special tribunals may not be instituted.
- Nobody may be threatened with or subjected to penalties other than those provided by the law.
- Accused persons shall have the right of defence in all penal proceedings.
- The inviolability of private property is guaranteed; confiscation may only take place in such cases as determined by law.
- Copyright shall be regulated by law.
- Trade and industry shall be free within the limits prescribed by law; the extent to which exclusive commercial and industrial privileges may be admissible for specified periods of time shall be regulated by law.
- Freedom of belief and conscience are guaranteed for all persons.
- The right of ownership and all other proprietary rights of religious communities and religious associations in respect of their institutions, foundations and other possessions devoted to worship, education and charity are guaranteed. The administration of religious property shall be regulated by a special law.
- The enjoyment of civil and political rights shall not be dependent on religious belief nor may the latter constitute a ground for any dereliction of civil obligations.
- Every person shall be entitled to freely express his opinion and to communicate his ideas by word of mouth or in writing, print or pictures within the limits of the law and morality; no censorship may be exercised except in respect of public performances and exhibitions.
- The right of free association and assembly is guaranteed within the limits prescribed by law.
- The right to petition the National Assembly is guaranteed, as is the right of complaing; not only individuals whose rights or interests are affected but also dzongdeys and dzongkhags are entitled to have their wishes and requests brought before the National Assembly by a member of that body.
- The procedure for petitioning the National Assembly shall be laid down by law.
- Every man fit to bear arms shall be liable, up to the completion of his 60th year, to serve in the defence of his country in the event of emergency.
- Apart from this contingency, no armed units may be organised or maintained, except so far as may be necessary for the provision of the police service and the preservation of internal order. Detailed regulations regarding this matter shall be laid down by law.
Article 7 – The National Assembly
- The National Assembly is the legal organ representing all the citizens of the Kingdom and as such has the duty of safeguarding and vindicating the rights and interest of the People in relation to the Royal Government in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution and also of promoting as far as possible the welfare of the Royal House and of the country while faithfully adhering to the principles laid down in this Constitution.
- The rights appertaining to the National Assembly may only be exercised in the lawfully constituted assembly of that body.
- Detailed regulations regarding membership in the National Assembly shall be laid down in a law.
- Detailed regulations regarding the procedures of the National Assembly shall be laid down in a law.
- The National Assembly shall consist of Representatives who shall be elected by the People by universal, equal, secret and direct suffrage according to a system of proportional representation to be determined by law.
- The members of the Royal Government and the Courts may not be members of the National Assembly at the same time.
- Detailed regulations regarding the conduct of the elections shall be laid down in a law.
- The Chogyal has the right, subject to the exception laid down in the following Paragraph, to convene the National Assembly, to close it, and, on warrantable grounds, which must on each occasion be communicated to the assembled National Assembly, to prorogue it for three months or to dissolve it. The prorogation, closing or dissolution of the National Assembly may only be proclaimed before the assembled National Assembly.
- In pursuance of a substantiated written request submitted by not less than 1,000 citizens entitled to vote or of a resolution adopted by the communal assemblies of not less than three communes, the National Assembly must be convened.
- Subject to the same conditions as in the preceding Paragraph, 1,500 citizens entitled to vote or four communes which have adopted resolutions to that effect at their communal assemblies may demand a referendum with regard to the dissolution of the National Assembly.
- Representatives shall receive from the State Treasury a daily allowance and travel expenses as prescribed by law.
- In particular, the following matters shall fall within the sphere of activity of the National Assembly:
- participation in the work of legislation in accordance with the Constitution;
- participation in the conclusion of treaties (Article 8);
- the establishment of the annual budget and the authorization of taxes and other public dues;
- resolutions on credits, pledges and loans chargeable to the State, and the purchase and sale of State property;
- the resolution on the annual report furnished annually by the Royal Government on the whole of the State administration;
- the submission of suggestions and complaints and the exercise of control with regard to the State administration as a whole (Article 63);
- the impeachment of members of the Royal Government before the State Court for breaches of the Constitution or of other laws.
- the passing of a resolution on a vote of no confidence in the Royal Government or one of its members.
- The National Assembly shall have the right of control over the whole of the State administration, including the administration of justice. It shall exercise this right inter alia through an audit committee which it shall elect. Its right of control extends neither to the judgments of the courts nor to the functions assigned to the Chogyal.
- The National Assembly may at any time bring defects or abuses which it has observed in the State administration directly to the notice of the Chogyal or the Royal Government by the submission of memorials or complaints and to request their redress. The results of the enquiry instituted in respect of such matters and the measures ordered in consequence shall be communicated to the National Assembly.
- The representative of the Royal Government must be given a hearing and shall be bound to answer interpellations addressed to him by members of the National Assembly.
- The National Assembly has the right to appoint investigational committees. It is obliged to do so when at least one quarter of the number of Representatives fixed by law requests this.
- The National Assembly shall have the right to appoint a Finance Commission to which the passing of resolutions on the acquisition or alienation of landed property may also be transferred.
- The right of initiative with regard to legislation, that is to say, the right of introducing bills, shall appertain to:
- the Chogyal, in the form of Royal Government bills;
- the National Assembly itself;
- citizens with the right to vote, subject to the following provisions.
- If not less than 1,000 citizens entitled to vote, whose signatures and qualification to vote are duly certified by the authorities of the commune in which they reside, submit a petition in writing or if at least three communes do so in the form of resolutions of the communal assembly in similar terms requesting the enactment, amendment or revocation of a law, such petition must he debated at the next session of the National Assembly.
- f a petition from one of the organs referred to under 1) to 3) above concerns the enactment of a law which has not already been provided for in the present Constitution and the adoption of which would involve public expenditure, whether in a single sum not provided for in the Finance Bill or in payments extending over a longer period, such petition shall only be discussed by the National Assembly if it is accompanied by proposals for providing the necessary funds.
- A petition submitted under the right of initiative and concerning the Constitution may only be brought by not less than 1,500 citizens entitled to vote or by at least four communes.
- Further detailed regulations regarding this popular initiative shall be laid down in a law.
- Without the participation of the National Assembly, no law may be issued, amended, or declared to be in force. For a law to become valid, it must in every case receive the assent of the National Assembly and be sanctioned by the Chogyal, countersigned by the responsible Head of the Royal Government or his deputy and promulgated in the National Legal Gazette. If the Chogyal does not give his assent within six months, it shall be deemed to have been refused.
Article 8 – National Referendum
- If the issue affects the Constitution as a whole or in part, the demand for a referendum must be made by not less than 1,500 citizens with the right to vote or by not less than four communes.
- The National Assembly is authorized to call for a referendum on the adoption of any of the principles embodied in a proposed law.
- The referendum shall be held by communes; the acceptance or rejection of the resolution on the enactment of the law shall be decided by an absolute majority of the valid votes recorded in the whole of the country.
- Resolutions on the enactment of laws subject to a referendum shall not be submitted to the Chogyal for sanction until the referendum has been held or until the statutory period of thirty days within which a petition for a referendum may be submitted has expired without any such action.
- If the National Assembly rejects a bill drawn up in due form and accompanied if necessary by proposals for providing the necessary funds and which has been submitted to it through the procedure of the popular initiative (Article 64), the said bill shall be submitted to a referendum. The acceptance of the bill by the citizens entitled to vote shall then have the same force as a resolution of the National Assembly otherwise necessary for the adoption of a law.
- Further detailed regulations regarding the referendum shall be issued in the form of a law.
- Any resolution of the National Assembly concerning assent to a treaty (Article 8) must be submitted to a referendum if the National Assembly so decides or if not less than 1,500 citizens with the right to vote or not less than four communes submit a petition to that effect, according to the procedure prescribed in Article 64, within 30 days of the official publication of the resolution of the National Assembly.
- In the referendum, the acceptance or rejection of the resolution by the National Assembly shall be decided by an absolute majority of the valid votes recorded in the whole of the country.
- Every law passed by the National Assembly which it does not declare to be urgent or any financial resolution which it does not declare urgent, if it involves a new non-recurrent expenditure of not less than 300,000??? francs or a new annual expenditure of 150,000 francs, shall be submitted to a referendum if the National Assembly so decides or if not less than 1,000 citizens with the right to vote or not less than three communes submit a petition to that effect, according to the procedure prescribed in Article 64, within 30 days of the official publication of the resolution of the National Assembly.
- Further detailed regulations regarding the referendum shall be issued in the form of a law.
Article 9 – Passing of Laws
- Unless it contains any other stipulation, a law shall come into force on the expiry of eight days after the date of its publication in the National Legal Gazette.
- The manner and extent of the publication of laws, finance resolutions, treaties, regulations, resolutions of international organizations and of the law applicable by reason of international treaties shall be regulated by law. For the law applicable in the Kingdom of Sikkim by reason of international treaties, a publication may be arranged in a simplified form, in particular as a reference publication to foreign codes.
Article 10 - Taxes
- Without the approval of the National Assembly, no direct or indirect taxes or any other public dues or general levies, under any designation whatsoever, may be imposed or collected. The fact that this approval has been given must be expressly mentioned in the tax demand notice.
- The system by which all public taxes and dues are to be apportioned, their incidence on persons and objects, and the manner in which they are to be collected shall also require the approval of the National Assembly.
- Taxes and dues shall normally be authorized for the period of one administrative year.
Article 11 – The Royal Government
- Subject to the following provisions of this Article, the whole of the national administration shall be conducted by the Collegial Royal Government responsible to the Chogyal and the National Assembly in conformity with the provisions of the present Constitution and the other laws.
- To be dealt with independently, specific functions may be transferred by law or by legally binding authorizations to certain officials, Royal Government offices or special commissions, subject to recourse to the Collegial Royal Government.
- Special commissions for dealing with complaints may be set up by law to act on behalf of the Collegial Royal Government.
- For the performance of economic, social and cultural obligations, special corporations, institutions and foundations of public law may be established by legislation and placed under the supervision of the Royal Government.
- The Collegial Royal Government shall consist of the Head of the Royal Government and four Royal Government Councillors
- The Head of the Royal Government and the Royal Government Councillors shall be appointed by the Chogyal with the concurrence of the National Assembly and on the proposal of the latter. A substitute shall be appointed in like manner for the Head of the Royal Government and for each Royal Government Councillor to represent the member of the Royal Government in question who may be prevented from attending the meetings of the Collegial Royal Government.
- On the proposal of the National Assembly, one of the Royal Government Councillors shall be appointed by the Chogyal as the Deputy Head of the Royal Government.
- The members of the Royal Government must be citizens of Sikkim and eligible for the National Assembly.
- When the Collegial Royal Government is appointed, care must be taken that no two Councillors are chosen from the same dsongkhag. Their substitutes must be chosen from the same region.
- The period of office of the Collegial Royal Government shall be four years. Until a new Royal Government is appointed, the previous members shall be responsible for carrying on Royal Government business unless Article 80 is applied.
- If the Royal Government loses the confidence of the Chogyal or of the National Assembly, it shall lose its power to exercise its functions. For the period until the new Royal Government takes office, the Chogyal shall appoint an interim Royal Government to carry out the administration of the state. After four months at the latest, the interim Royal Government shall submit to a vote of confidence in the National Assembly unless the Chogyal has previously appointed a new Royal Government on the National Assembly's recommendation.
- If a member of the Royal Government should lose the confidence of the Chogyal or the National Assembly, the decision on whether to allow him or her to continue in office shall be taken by the Chogyal in agreement with the National Assembly. Until the new member is appointed, his official duties shall be performed by his deputy.
- For a decision of the Collegial Royal Government to be valid, at least four members must be present and a majority of those members present must vote in favour. In the event of a tie, the chairman has the casting vote. Voting is compulsory.
- The grounds on which a member of the Royal Government may be debarred from the performance of an official act or invited to abstain therefrom shall be laid down in law.
- Royal Government business shall be dealt with partly on a collegial basis and partly on a departmental basis.
- The Collegial Royal Government shall issue its rules of procedure in the form of a Royal Government regulation.
- The Head of the Royal Government shall preside at meetings of the Royal Government, deal with business directly entrusted to him by the Chogyal, and countersign the laws and any decrees or ordinances issued by the Chogyal or a Regent. At public ceremonies he shall be accorded the honours prescribed by the regulations for the Representative of the Chogyal.
- The Head of the Royal Government shall submit reports by word of mouth or in writing to the Chogyal with regard to matters placed under the authority of the Sovereign.
- The texts of the decisions adopted by the Chogyal on his proposal shall be signed by the Chogyal with his own hand and shall also be countersigned by the Head of the Royal Government.
- The Head of the Royal Government shall take his oath of office before the Chogyal or the Regent; the other members of the Royal Government and the State officials shall be sworn in by the Head of the Royal Government.
- If the Head of the Royal Government should be prevented from attending to his duties, the Deputy Head of the Royal Government shall take over those functions which, according to the Constitution, expressly appertain to the Head of the Royal Government. If the Deputy Head of the Royal Government should also be prevented, the eldest Royal Government Councillor shall take his place.
- The Head of the Royal Government shall sign the decrees and orders issued by the Royal Government in pursuance of its decisions taken in council. He shall further exercise direct supervision over the conduct of business in the Royal Government.
- All important matters assigned to the Royal Government, especially the settlement of administrative disputes, shall be discussed and decided by the Royal Government in council. Certain less important matters may be assigned by law to the appropriate members of the Royal Government in accordance with the distribution of Royal Government business to be dealt with independently.
- Minutes shall be taken at Royal Government meetings by the Royal Government Secretary, or, if he should be prevented, by a substitute to be appointed by the Collegial Royal Government.
- The Head of the Royal Government is responsible for executing the decisions of the Collegial Royal Government. Only if he is of the opinion that a decision is contrary to existing laws or regulations may he delay its execution. He must, however, immediately notify the Administrative Court of the matter which, without prejudice to the right of appeal of a party involved, shall determine whether the decision shall be implemented or not.
- At the beginning of each period of office, the Collegial Royal Government shall distribute its business between the Head of the Royal Government and the Royal Government Councillors to prepare the matters to be determined in council and to deal with that business which by law may be treated independently. A system of mutual deputizing shall be arranged for cases of indisposition.
- The Royal Government shall be responsible for the execution of all laws and of all such tasks as may be lawfully entrusted to it by the Chogyal or the National Assembly. #To give effect to the laws and directly applicable treaties, it shall issue the necessary implementation regulations which must, however, remain within the limits of the said laws and directly applicable treaties.
- To meet other treaty obligations, the Royal Government may issue the necessary decrees provided that no new laws are required.
- All organs of the national administration may only act within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and the provisions of the treaties. Even in matters where the law allows the administrative authorities freedom of judgement, the limits imposed thereon by the law must be scrupulously observed.
- The following matters in particular shall fall within the sphere of action of the Royal Government:
- surveillance over all authorities and officials placed under the Royal Government, and the exercise of disciplinary powers in respect of officials;
- the allotment of the staff required for the Royal Government and the other authorities;
- supervision of the prisons and of the treatment of persons detained in custody and of convicts;
- the administration of buildings belonging to the State;
- supervision of the despatch of business by the Chogyally Court to ensure that it is conducted lawfully and diligently and the notification to the High Court of Appeal of any irregularities observed;
- the preparation of the report on its official activities to be submitted annually to the National Assembly;
- the preparation of Royal Government bills for submission to the National Assembly and the expression of its opinion on proposals submitted to it for that purpose by the National Assembly;
- the deciding of urgent expenditure not provided for in the estimates.
- With regard to the State administration, the Royal Government shall submit to the National Assembly for examination and approval preliminary estimates of all expenditures and revenues for the coming administrative year, accompanied by proposals for the taxation which is to be levied.
- In the first half of each administrative year, the Royal Government shall submit to the National Assembly an exact statement relating to the preceding administrative year, showing the manner in which revenues approved and collected were applied to the purposes set forth in the preliminary estimates, with the provision, however, that if the latter have been exceeded on justifiable grounds the National Assembly must give its approval, and that in the absence of justification the Royal Government shall be answerable.
- Royal Government shall be entitled, subject to the same conditions as above, to incur expenditure of an urgent character not provided for in the estimates.
- Economies effected in the case of individual items of the estimates may not be applied to cover excess expenditure for other items.
- The Royal Government shall administer the financial assets of the State in accordance with principles which it shall lay down in agreement with the National Assembly. It shall submit a report to the National Assembly together with the annual accounts.
- The organization of the administration shall be established by law.
Article 12 - The Courts
- The whole administration of justice shall be carried out in the name of the Chogyal and the People by responsible judges appointed by the Chogyal (Article 11). The decisions of the judges in the form of judgments shall be delivered and drawn up "in the name of the Chogyal and the People".
- The judges, within the lawful limits of their powers and when engaged in judicial proceedings, shall, in the exercise of their judicial office, be independent. Their decisions and judgements shall be accompanied by the grounds for such. The influence of non-judicial bodies on these decisions and judgements is only permissible to the extent expressly provided for by the Constitution (Article 12).
- Judges within the intendment of this Article are the judges at all ordinary courts (Article 97 to 101), the Administrative Court (Article 102 and 103) and the State Court (Article 104 and 105).
- For the selection of judges, the Chogyal and the National Assembly shall refer to a joint commission chaired by the Chogyal, who shall have a casting vote. He may appoint as many members to this body as the National Assembly delegates representatives. The National Assembly shall appoint one member for each electoral group represented in it. The Royal Government shall appoint the member of the Royal Government responsible for supervising the administration of justice. The commission's deliberations shall be confidental. The commission may only recommend candidates to the National Assembly with the Chogyal's assent. If the National Assembly chooses the recommended candidate, he or she shall be appointed a judge by the Chogyal.
- If the National Assembly rejects a candidate recommended by the commission and no agreement on a new candidate can be reached within four weeks, the National Assembly shall propose its own candidate and set a date for a referendum. In the event of a referendum, the citizens entitled to vote shall have the right to nominate candidates under the conditions of an initiative (Article 64). If the vote concerns more than two candidates, a second ballot must be held pursuant to Article 113 Para. 2. The candidate who receives the absolute majority of votes cast shall be appointed a judge by the Chogyal.
- A judge appointed for a fixed period shall remain in office until his successor is sworn in.
- Jurisdiction on ordinary civil and criminal matters shall be exercised in first instance by the Royal Court at Gangtok, in second instance by the High Court of Appeal at Gangtok, and in third instance by the Supreme Court.
- The organization of the ordinary courts, the procedure and the scale of fees shall be laid down by law.
- The execution of individual, precisely specified kinds of business of the judicial authority of the first instance may be assigned under the law to specially trained, non-judicial officials of the Royal Court who are bound by instructions.
- The revenue authorities and the officials of the Crown lands shall appear before the ordinary courts as plaintiffs and defendants.
- The procedure in civil disputes shall conform to the principles of oral proceedings, direct hearing and free evaluation of facts and evidence. In penal cases the principle of arraignment shall also be observed.
- Ordinary civil cases, in first instance, shall be heard by one or more judges, acting individually.
- The High Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court are collegial judicial bodies.
- In criminal cases, justice shall be administered in first instance in the Royal Court or, if need be by the magistrates court, by the Criminal Court or by the Juvenile Court.
- One of the judges of the Royal Court shall be appointed the President in charge of that court (Article 96) and shall exercise, in first instance, disciplinary authority over the non-judicial officials of the said court.
- The High Court of Appeal shall supervise the administration of justice and shall exercise disciplinary authority over the judicial officials of the Royal Court; it shall also exercise disciplinary authority in second instance over the non-judicial officials of the Royal Court.
- The Supreme Court shall exercise disciplinary powers over the members of the High Court of Appeal and shall also act as a court of appeal in disciplinary questions for the judicial officials of the Chogyally Court.
- The Administrative Court shall consist of five judges and five substitutes appointed by the Chogyal (Article 96). The majority of the judges must possess Sikkim citizenship and have legal training.
- The term of office of the judges and substitutes of the Administrative Court shall be five years. It shall be organised in such a way that one judge or substitute retires every year. In the case of the first appointments, the duration of the term of office of the judges and substitutes shall be determined by drawing lots. If a judge or substitute retires early, a successor shall be appointed for the remaining period of his term of office.
- The five judges shall hold an annual election in their own ranks to choose a President and a Deputy President. A judge is eligible for re-election.
- If a judge is unable to attend court, a substitute shall deputize for him or her. In such cases a rota system should be used.
- Unless otherwise provided for by law, all decisions or orders made of the Royal Government and of the special commissions appointed instead of the Collegial Royal Government (Article 78 Para. 3) shall be subject to an appeal to the Administrative Court.
- Detailed instructions regarding procedure, abstention, allowances to be paid to the members, and fees to be paid by the parties involved shall be laid down in a separate law.
- A State Court shall be established by a special law as a court of public law to protect rights accorded by the Constitution, to decide in conflicts of jurisdiction between the law courts and the administrative authorities and to act as a disciplinary court for members of the Royal Government.
- The said court shall also have jurisdiction to determine whether laws and treaties are in conformity with the Constitution and whether Royal Government regulations are in conformity with the laws; in such eases it may declare their annulment. Finally, it shall also act as an electoral tribunal.
- The State Court shall consist of five judges and substitutes appointed by the Chogyal (Article 96). The President of the State Court and the majority of the judges must possess Sikkim citizenship. Furthermore, the provisions of Article 102 apply mutatis mutandis.
Article 13 - Administrative Bodies and Civil Servants
- New permanent civil service posts may only be created with the assent of the National Assembly. Candidates for permanent employment in the Sikkim civil service must possess civic rights in the Kingdom, without prejudice to any further conditions required by the present Constitution and treaty obligations. No exception to this rule may be made without the assent of the National Assembly.
- The same shall apply to new permanent appointments to the judiciary.
- The organization of the authorities shall be determined by legislation. Subject to treaty obligations, all authorities must have their seat within the territory of the State; collegial authorities must include at least a majority of Sikkim citizens.
- Members of the Royal Government, State officials, and all mayors, their deputies and the treasurers of the communes shall take the following oath on appointment: "I swear that I will be loyal to the Chogyal, that I will obey the laws and that I will strictly observe the Constitution."
- The State, the communes and other corporations, establishments and foundations of public law are liable for damage caused to third persons by individuals acting as their bodies who in their official capacity act illegally. In the case of wilful damage or gross negligence, restitution by the responsible persons is reserved.
- Individuals acting as bodies are answerable to the State, the commune, or other corporation, establishment or foundation of public law which they serve for any damage directly caused to such bodies through the wilful or grossly negligent breach of their official duties.
- Further provisions, especially those relating to competence, shall be laid down in a separate law.
Article 15 – Local Communities
- Provisions concerning the number, organization and duties of the communes in their own sphere of action and in that assigned to them shall be laid down in the laws.
- The laws concerning the communes shall establish the following principles:
- free election of the mayor and of the other officials of the commune by the communal assembly;
- autonomous management of the communal property and administration of the local police under the supervision of the Royal Government;
- maintenance of a well-ordered poor-relief system under the supervision of the Royal Government;
- the right of the commune to grant citizenship and the freedom of citizens of the Kingdom to reside in any commune.
Article 16 - Amendments
- The present Constitution shall be universally binding after its promulgation as a fundamental law of the country.
- Any amendments to or universally binding interpretations of this fundamental law may be proposed either by the Royal Government or by the National Assembly or through the initiative procedure. These shall require the approval of the National Assembly, either by the unanimous vote of the members present or by a majority of three-quarters of the members present at two successive sittings of the National Assembly, where appropriate a referendum and in any event the subsequent assent of the Chogyal, with the exception of the procedure to abolish the Monarchy.
Article 17 – Abolishing the Monarchy
- Not less than 1,500 citizens as a minimum requirement have the right to introduce an initiative to abolish the Monarchy. In the event of this proposal being accepted by the People, the National Assembly shall draw up a new, republican Constitution and submit it to a referendum after one year at the earliest and two years at the latest. The Chogyal has the right to submit a new Constitution for the same referendum.
- If only one draft has been submitted, an absolute majority is sufficient for its adoption. If two drafts have been submitted, the citizens entitled to vote may choose between them and the existing Constitution. In this case, the citizens have two votes in the first ballot and shall award them to the two alternative Constitutions that they wish to go through to the second ballot. The two alternatives with the most first and second votes shall go through to the second ballot. In the second ballot, which must be held 14 days after the first, the citizens shall each have one vote. The Constitution that obtains an absolute majority is then adopted.
Article 18 – Emergency Decrees
- Emergency decrees may not set aside the Constitution as a whole or individual provisions of it but may only limit the applicability of individual provisions. Emergency decrees can neither limit every person's right to life, the prohibition of torture, any inhuman treatment or the prohibition of slavery and forced labor nor place any restriction on the "no punishment without law" rule. Emergency decrees shall cease to apply six months after they have been issued.
Article 19 – Sessions of the National Assembly
- The regular convocation of the National Assembly shall be issued at the beginning of every year in the form of a Royal edict, indicating the place, day and hour of the assembly.
- The sessions of the National Assembly during the course of the year shall be decreed by its Chairman.
- The National Assembly shall be opened with due solemnity by the Chogyal, in person or by his proxy. All the new members shall swear the following oath to the Chogyal or his proxy: "I hereby swear to observe the Constitution of the Kingdom of Sikkim and the existing laws and to promote in the National Assembly the welfare of the country, without any ulterior motives, to the best of my ability and conscience."
- Subsequent members of the National Assembly shall take this oath before the Chairman.
- At its first regularly convened sitting, the National Assembly shall proceed, under the chairmanship of its oldest member, to the election of a Chairman and a Vice-chairman from among its members to direct its business for the current year.
- When a period of prorogation has expired, a fresh summons convening the National Assembly shall be issued within one month in the form of a Royal edict.
- The Representatives shall be bound to attend in person at the seat of the Royal Government in compliance with the notice of convocation. If a Representative is impeded from attending, he must, on receiving the first notice of convocation, promptly notify the Royal Government and subsequently the Chairman, stating the reasons preventing his attendance. If the impediment is of a permanent nature, a by-election shall be held, if the Representative cannot be replaced by the substitution system.
- In the case of an accession to the Throne, the National Assembly shall be convened to an extraordinary session within 30 days for the purpose of receiving the declaration of the Chogyal as provided for in Article 13 and of taking the oath of allegiance.
- If the National Assembly has already been dissolved, the new elections shall be expedited so that it may be convened at the latest on the fortieth day after the accession of the new sovereign.
- The National Assembly shall be closed by the Chogyal, in person or by his proxy.
Article 20 – National Assembly Procedures
- The National Assembly shall adopt its rules of procedure by a resolution and with due regard to the provisions of the present Constitution.
- The members of the National Assembly shall vote solely according to their oath and their convictions. They shall never be made to answer for their votes; for their utterances at sittings of the National Assembly or its committees, they shall be responsible to the National Assembly alone and can never be sued before a court of justice in respect thereof.
- The exercise of disciplinary powers shall be regulated by rules of procedure to be issued hereafter.
- For a decision of the National Assembly to be valid, at least two-thirds of the statutory number of Representatives must be present and it must be adopted by an absolute majority of the members present, except as may otherwise be provided in the present Constitution or in the rules of procedure. The same rules shall apply to elections which the National Assembly has to undertake.
- In the event of an equal division of votes, the Chairman shall have the casting vote, for an election, after the third round of voting and in all other cases after the first round.
Article 21 – Dissolution of the National Assembly
- Should the National Assembly be dissolved, new elections must take place within six weeks. The newly elected Representatives shall then be summoned to meet within fourteen days.
Article 22 – Detention of Representatives
- No Representative may be arrested while the National Assembly is in session without the assent of that body unless he is apprehended in flagrante delicto.
- In the latter case, the arrest and the grounds therefore must be notified forthwith to the National Assembly, which shall decide whether the arrest is to be sustained. All papers relating to the case must be placed immediately at the disposal of the National Assembly if it so requests.
- If a Representative is arrested at a time when the National Assembly is not in session, the National Committee must be notified forthwith, and informed at the same time of the grounds for the arrest.
Article 23 – Election Complaints
- Complaints relating to elections shall be referred to the State Court.
- The National Assembly shall adjudicate on the validity of the election of its members and of the election as such on the basis of the election records and, if applicable, of the decision of the State Court.
Article 24 – Final Provisions
- All laws, regulations and statutory provisions which contradict any express provision of the present Constitution are hereby revoked and declared invalid; legal provisions which are inconsistent with the spirit of this fundamental law shall be revised to conform with the Constitution.
- The Royal Government shall be entrusted with the execution of the present Constitution.
- The Royal Government shall prepare the laws provided for in the present Constitution with all possible despatch, and shall proceed with them as laid down in the Constitution.
- Treaties by which national territory is ceded, national property alienated, rights of sovereignty or State prerogatives disposed of, any new burden for the Kingdom or its citizens imposed or any obligation to the detriment of the rights of the People of the Kingdom contracted shall not be valid unless they have received the assent of the National Assembly.