In a landmark judgment rendered on the case concerning the constitutional validity of the tax revision by the government, the Thimphu High Court repealed the government’s tax revision on the grounds that it was “un-constitutional”. The government is left with two choices - to accept the judgment or appeal to the Supreme Court. The other factor that comes into play is the resignation of the Finance Minister, as demanded by the Opposition, on moral and ethical grounds.
But perhaps, what is paramount in the judgment rendered yesterday afternoon by the High Court is the undeniable fact that the Constitution was upheld. And in passing this momentous verdict, the process of and the rule of the law, as enshrined in the Constitution, has prevailed. This is unquestionably encouraging news for every Bhutanese, because everything else must come second to the primary importance of preserving and going by the letter of the law. In three words, democracy has won.
Because if this sacrosanct sacrament had been manipulated, maneuvered, cajoled, bypassed or even plain ignored, the result would have been catastrophic, to say the least. There is already a sentiment that borders on the long-term implications and consequences - emanating from this case and judgment. We can only pray that this will perhaps be, a one-time experience that will never be repeated.
The other obvious and glaring point that comes to bear is the question “Why did they push an agenda that was, and which they knew, with all the knowledge and wisdom at their disposal, an unconstitutional act indeed?” For if the very torch bearers of the land who have been entrusted with keeping and upholding the laws of the land not just intact but sacred succumb to such an agenda, no matter how noble the intention, then the inalienable fact remains that a document that was nursed with so much guidance and which states the strengthening of the sovereignty of the country, securing the blessings of liberty and ensuring justice and tranquility, to enhance unity, happiness and the well being of the people for all time, does take a beat.
The question now is what will the government do, or not do?