We, members of the Bhutanese Hindu community, taking due cognizance of the tremendous contributions made by the pioneers of this community, hereby pledge to diligently serve our Tsa-Wa-Sum and to uphold and protect, in spirit and in deed, our glorious Vedic Sanatan Hindu Dharma and this new Article of Association that has been drawn up to mark the tenth year of the HDSB’s existence.
Article I: NAME
The official name of the Organisation is the “Shree Vedic Sanatan Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan”, hereby also referred to as the “Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan” or “Samudaya” or “HDSB”, established in accordance with the Religious Organisations Act of Bhutan 2007.
Article II: ADDRESS
The Head Office shall be located in Thimphu and it shall have authority to open its branch office all over the country.
Article III: VISION, MISSION, VALUES
Section 1: VISION
Section 1.1: Inspired and guided by the time-tested philosophy of Sanatan Hindu Dharma, the HDSB shall devote itself towards enhancing spiritual fulfilment, religious integrity and happiness among the Bhutanese people.
Section 1.2: The HDSB shall promote peaceful coexistence, compassion and reverence for all sentient beings in all segments of the Bhutanese society. As a corollary, the HDSB shall also promote the spiritual practices and traditions of Sanatan Dharma in harmony with the national ethos so as to foster and strengthen human values.
Section 2: MISSION: In pursuit of this vision, the HDSB will:
Section 2.1: Ensure that it will effectively address the religious, social, cultural, spiritual, and religious educational needs of the Hindu Community of Bhutan
Section 2.2: Further the community’s positive image of being a good citizen
Section 2.3: Improve the spiritual quality of life of the Hindu community
Section 3: VALUES: Within the context of its vision, the HDSB shall be guided by the principles and practices of the Sanatan Dharma, which is in harmony with the Buddhist philosophy and which forms the essence of the spiritual heritage of Bhutan:
Section 3.1: It shall promote peaceful co-existence and harmony with the Buddha Dharma.
Section 3.2: Sanatan Dharma is a Sanskrit word meaning “Eternal Teachings/Tradition/Religion. Sanatana Dharma is the recognition of the spiritual essence of life and its infinite religious expressions. The eternal tradition is also about many common universal principles and practices that make up the spiritual/religious lifestyle of the Hindus.
Article IV: AIMS & OBJECTIVES
Section 1: To represent, promote and protect the cultural, religious, social, spiritual needs and aspirations of the Hindu community of Bhutan
Section 2: To propagate the Hindu religion and promote Hindu culture in all its diversity
Section 3: To provide spiritual education to the youth and adults in the Sanskrit language, religion, dance, arts & culture
Section 4: To affiliate with local, regional, and national bodies that shares the aims and objectives of the HDSB
Section 5: To purchase, lease or exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any immovable property, to construct, maintain, alter any premises necessary or convenient for the purpose of the HDSB; to sell, lease, mortgage, dispose or otherwise deal with all or any part of the property of the HDSB
Section 6: To strive at all times to engage in activities that help unite, forge and encourage a common sense of identity as Bhutanese in particular and Hindu in general
Section 7: To uphold and encourage the values, beliefs and tenets as espoused in the various Hindu religious texts
Section 8: To raise funds for the achievements of the aims and objectives of the HDSB
Section 9: To form committees as and when deemed necessary to meet the aims and objectives of the HDSB
Section 10: To plan and encourage the observation of Hindu festivals
Section 11: To undertake charitable activities to assist the less fortunate and needy
Section 12: To accept the affiliation of other Hindu cultural and religious groups residing in Bhutan.
Article V: STATUS
Section 1: The HDSB shall be a legal entity with the power to acquire, hold, and alienate property of any kind and to acquire rights, incur obligations and having perpetual succession.
Section 2: It shall function as a non-profit, non-political and non-governmental foundation within the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Section 3: Any actions, suits, proceedings or arbitrations shall be brought by or against HDSB in its own name.
Section 4: The HDSB shall be an apex religious body. It shall also be the highest authority and, apart from criminal matters, an arbitrator in all issues related to Hinduism within Bhutan as recognised by the Chhoedey Lhentshog and the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Article VI: DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The HDSB shall:
Section 1: Function as an apex body for Sanatan Dharma and its religious institutions, mandirs, religious sites, and its affiliates
Section 2: Serve as the focal point or bridge between the Bhutanese Hindu community on the one hand, and Chhoedey Lhentshog and the Royal Government on the other
Section 3: Develop general guidelines on Hindu religious practices in harmony with national ethos
Section 4: Take measures to unite and integrate all segments of the Hindu Dharma followers without any discrimination on the basis of social or sectarian status and shall abide by Article7(15) of the Constitution of Bhutan
Section 5: Promote religious harmony and strive to strengthen socio-cultural development and unity in Bhutan
Section 6: Take or recommend firm action, as appropriate, against persons, organisations or institutions seeking to weaken the foundation of HDSB
Section 7: Coordinate and conduct prayers, religious discourses, meditation and Yoga classes, as well as organise and celebrate national cultural and religious programmes, festivals and events for peace and well-being of the King, Country and the People of Bhutan
Section 8: Conduct research and studies in Sanatan Dharma and on themes common to Sanatan Dharma and Buddhism, and organise workshops and seminars on matters of religious interest and importance so as to enrich people’s understanding of the teachings and virtues of the Sanatan Dharma
Section 9: Promote Sanskrit Pathsalas, where needed, to meet the needs of the community for Pundits and Purohits (Lams and Chhoeps) in performing religious rites and Pujas, and facilitate higher studies on philosophical aspects of Sanatan Dharma and Buddhism
Section 10: Assist in preservation, renovation, rehabilitation and construction of Patsalas, Mandirs, and other institutions of religious, educational, and cultural significance
Section 11: Register and record all public religious institutions and sites of religious significance and monitor their operations
Section 12: Extend assistance to disadvantaged groups, where needed and justified
Section 13: Build linkages with and participate in activities of similar religious institutions at regional and international levels.
Article VII: Plans and Policies
The HDSB shall, through the Board of Directors, develop and implement appropriate strategies and programme of activities in pursuance of its vision, mission, aims and objectives. To this end, priorities shall be accorded to the following:
Section 1: Organise, and encourage organising, periodic panel discussions, and Pravachans (discourses) in different parts of the country by engaging suitable scholars
Section 2: Take suitable measures to foster greater unity and sense of belonging, cooperation among all segments of the Hindu community in particular and the Bhutanese society in general
Section 3: Without eroding the core principles and values of Sanatan Dharma, strive towards bringing gradual changes and reforms in traditional Hindu society with the hope of meeting the needs and expectations of changing times
Section 4: Raise financial resources for implementing HDSB programmes and activities and making it financially sound and sustainable
Section 5: Strengthen the HDSB apparatus to enable it to function truly as an effective, dynamic and central Hindu organisation
Section 6: Ensure HDSB’s presence in strategic Dzongkhags and locations with a view of reaching the people at the grassroots level.
Article VIII: MEMBERSHIP
There shall be four categories of Membership:
- Individual/Annual membership
- Affiliate Organisation Membership
- Life Member
- Patron Member (including Grand Patron Member, and Benefactor Member)
Section 1: Individual Membership of the HDSB, with full voting rights, is automatically and de facto bestowed to:
- All Bhutanese over the age of 18; that
- Reside within or outside Bhutan;
- Follow the Hindu faith; and
- Have paid annual membership fee.
Section 2: Affiliate Organisation Membership: Affiliate organisation membership is open to any Hindu organisation or spiritual mission whose written application for membership has been approved by the Board of Director and ratified by the Chhoedey Lhentshog. It is also open to corporations, trusts, professional associations or any other organization by paying a minimum of Nu 100,000 (One one hundred thousand) annual membership fee.
- All applicants will be required to abide by the letter and spirit of this constitution
- An Affiliate Organisation Members will have no vote in the elections of HDSB
- Affiliate Organisation Membership cannot be changed or upgraded to any other category of membership.
Section 3: Life Member:
Any person or couple (wife & husband) who pays Nu 500,000 (five hundred thousand) towards Life membership may become a Life Member of HDSB
A Life Member shall have two votes. In case of death of a spouse the surviving spouse shall retain one vote. In case of separation or divorce between the couple, each of the individual shall retain one separate vote.
Section 4: Patron Member:
Any person or couple (wife & husband) who pays Nu 1,000,000 (One million) towards Patron membership may become a Patron Member of HDSB. A Patron Member shall have two votes. In case of death of a spouse, the surviving spouse shall retain one vote. In case of separation or divorce between the couple, each of the individuals shall retain one separate vote
Any person or couple (wife & husband) who pays Nu 1,500,000 (one million five hundred thousand) towards Grand Patron membership may become a Grand Patron Member of HDSB. A Grand Patron Member shall have two votes. In case of death of a spouse, the surviving spouse shall retain one vote. In case of separation or divorce between the couple, each of the individuals shall retain one separate vote.
Any person or couple (wife & husband) who pays Nu 2,000,000 (two million) towards Benefactor membership may become a Benefactor Member of HDSB. A Benefactor Member shall have two votes. In case of death of a spouse, the surviving spouse shall retain one vote. In case of separation or divorce between the couple, each of the individuals shall retain one separate vote.
Section 3: General Provisions
- Any person irrespective of caste, colour, religious pursuits who is genuinely interested in furthering his/her knowledge and understanding of Sanatan Dharma can become a member.
- Application for membership shall be made in the prescribed Form
- A member shall be required to pay a membership fee annually as determined by the Board of Directors.
- Each member shall accept and conform to the principles and objectives of the Articles of Association of HDSB.
- Each member shall safeguard the interests of HDSB
- A member may resign from membership by giving the Executive Director one month’s advance notice in writing
- A person shall be disqualified from membership if he/she violates the principles of HDSB and relevant provisions of ROA or AoA of HDSB.
Article IX: STRUCTURE OF HDSB
Section 1: Advisory Council: There shall be an Advisory Council to ensure that HDSB’s policy initiatives are grounded in intellectual, historical, and evidence-based approaches.
Section 1.1: Advisory Council shall function under a framework. The Council shall be made up of five eminent members consisting of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and an Honorary Secretary.
Section 1.2: All members of the Council are appointed by the Chairperson of HDSB in consultation with the Board.
Section 1.3: Members shall serve for a period of three years when appointed.
Section 1.4 The Council shall have interdisciplinary backgrounds to help broaden HDSB’s scope in preservation and promotion of Hindu Dharma in Bhutan, ensuring that the expanse of Hinduism, including, philosophical, theological, anthropological, and lay perspectives, is represented.
Section 1.5: The council’s approach shall includes efforts to bridge the scholarly gaps between practices in Bhutan and other Hindu Countries, helping to provide Dharmic understandings and approaches to key social issues such as democratic reform, religious equality, marriage equality, and articulating the relevance of Hinduism to solving contemporary problems.
Section 1.6: The council as a body supports HDSB’s initiatives, but members shall bring a variety of unique perspectives that ensures a rich discussion on a range of issues.
Section 2: Board of Directors: There shall be a Board of Directors, three (3) elected from among the members in an Annual General Meeting, three (3) selected and nominated by Pundit Committee and three (3) nominated by the body of Portfolio Committee from among its executive members. The Board of Directors shall consist of nine (9) members, namely:
- The Chairperson of the Board
- Vice chairman of the Board
- Treasurer of the Board
- Board member: Asset Management
- Board member: Mandir Management and Funeral Services
- Board member: Fund Raising and Management
- Board member: Social Service
- Board member: Culture and Education
- Board member: Youth, Women and Health
- The Executive Director of HDSB will serve in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity as member secretary of the board.
Section 3: Council of Portfolio Committees: There shall be a body of Portfolio Committees comprising of members from HDSB approved Committees, Chhoetshogs/Regional Tshogpas, and Religious Affiliates chaired by a President.
The Portfolio Committees shall consist of:
- The President
- The Vice President
- Portfolio Heads
- The Executive Director of HDSB will serve in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity as member secretary of the board.
Section 3.1: The Portfolio Committees represents the key focus areas, consisting of, but not limited to, President: Social Service Committee, President: Durga Puja Committee, Presidents of affiliated Hindu religious groups, Presidents of registered regional Chhoetshogs (Local Chapters), Head: Youth Committee, Head: Special Project Committee, Head: Facilities Management and Funeral Services, Head: Health Welfare and Gender, and other such committees.
Section 4: HSDB Secretariat: There shall be a small Secretariat of staff to run the daily activities of the organisation. The Secretariat shall be headed by Executive Director recruited through selection process, with support of a financial official, and other support staff.
Section 5: Council of Pandits: There shall be a Council of Pandits, Vidwat Parishad, to promote the Sanatan religion and advancement in education for Hindus in Bhutan. The Council shall strive to provide accurate knowledge and understanding of Sanatan Dharma to younger Sanatan priests, youths and society. The council shall provide information and guidance about the Sanatan Religion, important celebration of religious festival and preparation of Sanatan calendars (Panchangs). The objectives of the council shall be, but not limited to:
- To set database of resources such as temples and/or priests in Bhutan
- To provide listing of festivals and events
- To provide forum for discussing religious and spiritual issues and much more
- To promote or carry out research, provide advice, support and practical assistance, and publish or distribute information
- To cooperate and collaborate with other bodies including liaising with Hindu temples in Bhutan
- To raise funds
- To set aside funds for special purposes or as reserves against future expenditure
- To do anything else within the law of the Kingdom that promotes or helps to promote the objectives of HDSB.
Section 6: Ad hoc Committees
The Board may, from time to time, by resolution adopted by a majority of the Board members designate one or more committees (in addition to the committees required by these Article of Association), each such committee to consist of members and non-members, as the Board may designate. Any such committee, to the extent provided in the resolution creating it, shall present recommendations to the Board. Any committee shall be at all times subject to the supervision of the Board.
Article X: POWER & DUTIES
The power and duties of the various structures and office-bearers of the HDSB are as follows:
Section 1: Board of Directors
Section 1.1: To oversee the efficient and effective functioning and governance structure of the HDSB and its various structures
Section 1.2: To ensure that the financial discipline of the HDSB is strictly in accordance with the “Financial Management and Administration Manual”. Such manual should at all times be in accordance with the provisions of the article of association.
Section 1.3: To give final approval for all decisions / recommendations made by the Portfolio Committees to purchase, lease, alienate and mortgage or encumber HDSB properties and assets
Section 1.4: To meet at least once every two months to receive reports from the Portfolio Committee and the Secretariat
Section 1.5: To assume custody of movable and immovable property and assets of the HDSB
Section 1.6: To receive and approve annually the consolidated budgeted Income & Expenditure statement of the HDSB Secretariat
Section 1.7: To oversee the safe custody of all important documents belonging to the HDSB
Section 1.8: To conduct disciplinary hearings and to mediate in the event of a grievance or dispute referred to it by the Portfolio Committee
Section 1.9: To take disciplinary action against any member of the Portfolio Committee in case of a complaint related to behaviour that constitutes misconduct
Section 1.10: To assume control of the HDSB in the event that the Secretariat becomes dysfunctional
Section 1.11: To call up a Special General Meeting of the HDSB in the event of serious breaches in governance or mismanagement of the affairs of the HDSB
Section 1.12: To communicate to members of the community any pertinent matters which impact on the public and/or are of public interest
Section 1.13: To receive and approve within four (4) months after the financial year end of the HDSB, the Annual Audited Financial Statements as prepared and approved by the Secretariat
Section 1.14: In the event of a vacancy arising due to whatever reason, the Board should, if they deem it necessary, co-opt a member until the next election. However, should the number of elected board i.e. excluding ex-officio, fall below five (5) members, then a special general meeting to elect new Board should be held within one month of such an event
Section 1.15: To consider and approve applications for affiliate membership received
Section 2: Portfolio Committee
Section 2.1: To pursue and help realise the stated goals and objectives of the HDSB
Section 2.2: To form special discipline and grievance committees to resolve any disputes and grievances of the public
Section 2.3: To attend to all matters of an urgent nature
Section 2.4: To consider and decide on programmes and activities of the particular committee
Section 2.5: To receive, consider and approve the monthly committee reports and recommendations
Section 2.6: To ensure all approved minutes of Portfolio Committee meetings are circulated by whatever means practical to as many members of the committee as possible
Section 2.7: The Portfolio Committee shall endeavour to meet monthly but not less than 10 times per annum to consider, discuss and deal with all essential matters pertaining to the HDSB and to receive and adopt the financial reports of each portfolio head
Section 2.9: To take disciplinary action against any member of the Portfolio Committee in case of a complaint related to behaviour that constitutes misconduct
Section 2.10: The President may call a meeting at short notice when deemed necessary
Section 2.9: The agenda of Portfolio Committee meetings must include, but is not limited to, the following: (a) Prayer & Welcome; (b) Attendance and Apologies; (c) Approval of Minutes; (d) Matters arising from previous minutes; (e) Portfolio Reports; (f) Financial Report; (g) General; (h) Prayer & Closure.
Section 3: Portfolio Sub-Committee
Section 3.1: The Portfolio Committee may, at its discretion, have as many Portfolio Sub-Committees as it deems necessary, each chaired by a sub-portfolio head
Section 3.2: All Portfolio Sub-Committees have the right to co-opt any community member to serve on their committee, subject to the Board’s approval
Section 3.3: At the commencement of a new financial year the Portfolio Sub-Committee shall submit to the Board for approval a plan of action which shall include but shall not be limited to the following:
1. Aims and objectives
2. Financial Plan – Budget
3. Organizational Structure
4. Control procedures.
Section 3.4: Once approved the head of the Portfolio Sub-Committee shall be responsible for the execution of the plan submitted. Progress report on the activities of the Portfolio Sub-Committee shall be submitted monthly to the Portfolio Committee.
Section 3.5: Subject to the approval of the Board, all Portfolio Sub-Committees will have the power to frame their own operational guidelines and rules. In the event of any rule conflicting with a provision of this constitution, then the HDSB constitution takes precedence.
Section 3.6: The Portfolio Sub-Committees are required to keep proper records of their activities and present semi-annual written reports to the Portfolio Committee that covers at least the following:
1. Progress against Year Plan
2. Deviation from Approved Budget
3. Matters requiring decision of Board
4. Feedback on matters raised by Portfolio Committee
Section 3.7: Each Portfolio Sub-Committee will prepare a Monthly Schedule of Receipts, Deposits & Payments, on a standardized form provided for by the HDSB, and submit this to the Portfolio Committee together with all the original documents.
Section 4: The Chairperson
The Chairperson shall preside over all meetings of the HDSB and shall see that all decisions and resolutions of the meetings are carried into effect. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall chair a meeting. The Chairperson shall represent HDSB at Chhoedey Lhentshog.
Section 5: The Vice Chairperson
The roles and responsibilities of the Vice Chairperson of HDSB shall be:
- To coordinate, organise, arrange and attend all sessions and meetings of the Board of HDSB
- To record the minutes of all sessions and meetings of the HDSB and accordingly distribute the minutes to the members for information and implementation
- To keep a record of all appointments of the members to the Board
- To follow up on the implementation of the resolutions passed during any sessions or meetings
- To perform similar duties as that of the Board members, when required
- To give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings of the HDSB
Section 6: The Treasurer
The roles and responsibilities of the Treasurer of the HDSB shall be:
- To have the custody of all funds, and keep full and accurate records of receipts and disbursements, of the Association
- To deposit all moneys and other valuable effects of the HDSB in such depositories as may be designated by the Board
- To render an account of all the transactions and the financial condition of the HDSB to the Chairperson and the Board of Director at the regular meetings of the Board, or whenever they may require it
- To ensure that all monies due to the HDSB are collected and received, and that all payments authorised by the HDSB are made
- To ensure that correct books and accounts are kept showing the financial affairs of the HDSB including full details of all receipts and expenditure connected with the activities of the HDSB.
Section 7: The Executive Director
The roles and responsibilities of the Executive Director of the HDSB shall be, but not limited:
- To provide strategic and visionary leadership to the organization
- To manage all operational aspects of the organization and to ensure that sound governance prevails
- To foster a sense of cooperation and work tirelessly towards a unity of purpose
- Together with the Board and Portfolio Committee, is responsible for representing the organisation in all forums and to project a positive image of HDSB
- To be guided by this Article of Association and to uphold at all times the spirit and letter of this constitution
- To keep and maintain proper records of the HDSB meetings, correspondences, membership records and activities
- To call up all meetings, in consultation with the Chairperson
- To assist the Vice Chairperson make press releases and generally communicate to the outside world, in consultation with and approval of the Chairperson
- To ensure minutes are written and circulated within two (2) weeks of meetings
- To compile and maintain a complete register of members, their last known postal addresses, email addresses and telephone contacts. This shall be the register to determine voting rights at General Meetings
- Any other duties that may be assigned and prescribed by the Board from time to time.
Section 8: Financial Officer, Treasurer, and the Treasurers of Portfolios
- To properly administer the finances of the HDSB including those of the various portfolios, by ensuring adequate internal control systems and audit trails are in place for the intact banking of all funds received and payments made; and to record, safeguard, control and accurately report all transactions timely.
- Maintain proper books of accounts in accordance with the Financial & Administrative Manual and in terms of the generally accepted accounting standards, at all times in order to ensure transparency and accountability of the HDSB.
- To ensure that the financial statements are audited by an independent auditor registered with the Royal Audit Authority. Such audited financial statements must be finalised within four (4) months after the financial year end of the HDSB for approval by the Board of Directors and for presentation at the Annual General Meeting.
- HDSB accounts shall be jointly operated by the Executive Director and the Financial Officer.
Section 9: Tenure of Board Members
Section 9.1: The tenure of membership in the Board shall be for three years. In the event that no confidence motion is tabled and supported by a simple majority of the members present and voting in an AGM, such members shall be replaced by fresh elections.
- Any member may resign by giving a written notice to the Chairperson of the Board
- All members can contest for re-election for another term.
Section 9.2: Any member who does not attend Board meetings consecutively for three times, without giving prior notice, his/her membership in the Board shall be considered withdrawn. While such a vacancy shall be filled up through election in the next AGM, the Board can make interim arrangements to meet the quorum and report the action to the AGM.
Article 12: CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS FOR BOARD MEMBERS
Code of Conduct is a set of written and unwritten rules describing the appropriate behaviour and conduct necessary for the members of the Board and Portfolio Committee of HDSB. The Secretariat may, from time to time, make rules and guidelines to regulate the conduct of a member. A member of the board and portfolio committee is expected to:
- Place the highest importance to serving the Tsa-Wa-Sum with utmost loyalty and dedication, and fulfill his/her responsibilities by following the highest moral principles
- Not indulge in any activity that adversely affects the Hindu Dharma, national sovereignty and integrity of Bhutan
- Always uphold first and foremost the national interest in discharging his/her duties and functions
- Refrain from casting his/her vote on any issue where he/she has a conflict of interest
- Conduct themselves within the relevant provisions of the Article of Association of HDSB and the Religious Society Act of Kingdom of Bhutan
- Maintain dignity of the position, operational transparency, highest principles and moral values and be unbiased in discharging their functions and responsibilities
- Not engage in any unlawful or corrupt practices
- Work in the interest of the HDSB and the Bhutanese society at large
- Ensure that his personal conduct is consistent with the dignity, reputation and integrity of the HDSB
- A member must at all times conduct himself / herself in a courteous and respectful manner and respect the authority of the Chairperson. In particular, he/she must not speak or leave the meeting when the Chairperson is speaking and speak standing at his/her place while addressing the Chairperson
- A member must not conduct himself/herself in a manner that would constitute a criminal offence or contempt of the HDSB
- A member must not display any disorderly conduct including usage of foul language
- A member must not unduly influence the Government officials, Ministers or member of parliament in a case in which he/she is financially or personally interested nor elicit information from the Government in an unauthorized manner
- A member must not impose threat, intimidation or use individual influence to encourage another member to make any remarks in the HDSB Board meeting
- During religious delegations to foreign countries, a member must not give press statements regarding the visit. Such briefings of the press will be done by the leader of the delegation.
Article XIII: FINANCIAL MATTERS
- The financial year shall commence on 1st July and end on 30th
- The accounts shall be audited by the Royal Audit Authority.
Article IV: COMMUNICATION
In order to ensure that every community member is fully informed of the workings of the HDSB the Board shall ensure that all minutes of Board and Committee meetings are circulated within two (2) weeks of the meetings:
- Use all forms of communication, such as press releases, newsletters, SMS and other electronic means, should also be utilised, whenever possible
- Any communications received by the HDSB will be dealt with in the following manner: The HDSB Secretariat is required to acknowledge receipt in writing, within two weeks of any written correspondence and to respond thereto within thirty (30) days
- Any complaint received must be submitted to the HDSB Secretariat in writing clearly setting out the nature of the complaint. Such complaint will be dealt with in an open, constructive and procedurally fair manner and in accordance with the complaints Resolution Policy, Procedure & Guidelines
- Any anonymous written correspondence, complaints or grievances will not be dealt with
- Any correspondence, complaint or grievance not relating to HDSB affairs will not be dealt with. All members of the community must be informed of all AGM and other meetings, including AGM’s and special meetings by means of newsletters, e-mails, notice board, the local newspaper or by any other means possible
- Within two weeks after the AGM, the Portfolio Committee shall provide the community with the names and contact details of all newly elected members of the Board Members and Portfolio Committees
- All formal communication to the community and media by any official or staff member must be sanctioned by the Chairperson.
Article XV: ELECTION OF OFFICE BEARERS
The Board of Directors and Portfolio Committee members shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Elections of office bearers shall be by secret ballot unless otherwise spelt in this constitution. The following electoral process is to be followed:
- Nominations for all positions will be open 3 weeks prior to elections
- Nominations may be posted to the Executive Director or sent by electronic mail. Motivations in support of the nomination may be included
- All nominees must give prior consent for their nominations. Self-nomination is also acceptable Individuals may only accept nomination for one position
- Cut-off date for nominations will be one (1) week prior the AGM
- At the AGM, ballot papers containing the names of those nominated for the various positions will be circulated to each attendee
- An independent electoral officer, who has not been nominated for any position, will be appointed by public acclaim
- Proxy votes will not be allowed
- Nominees for the various positions will be allowed a maximum time, as set down by the electoral officer, to make a speech in support of his/her nomination
IX.The following persons shall be disqualified from acting as office bearers:
- A person who is of unsound mind or has been declared incapable of managing his/her affairs
A person who has been convicted of any crime involving dishonesty and is sentenced thereof to serve a term of imprisonment without the option of a fine
- Any person found guilty of misconduct by the disciplinary committee of the HDSB or by a majority vote at a general meeting/special general meeting
- A nominated person must be present at the AGM to be considered for election to a position on the Board of Director or Portfolio Committee, save when the candidate has submitted in writing his willingness to serve, provided sound and valid reasons for non-attendance and such non-attendance is approved by the Chairman of the Board
- An employee of the HDSB is ineligible to stand concurrently for election as Board member or Portfolio Committee member.
Article VII: MEETINGS
Section 1: Annual General Meetings (AGM)
AGM meetings will be held not later than five (5) months after the official financial year to consider the following matters:
- Minutes of the Previous AGM
- Matters Arising from Minutes
- Chairperson Report
- Secretarial Report
- Audited Financial Report
- Amendments to the Constitution (due notice of which has been given)
- Appointment of an auditor
General Community members who wish to raise specific issues at the AGM must give due notice of such an intention at least one week before the advertised date.
Section 2: QUORUM FOR MEETINGS
The quorum for meetings shall be as follows:
- Annual General Meetings: 200 members
- Board of Director Meetings: 4 members
- Portfolio Committee Meetings: 51 percent of the members
- Special General Meetings : 150 members
Should a quorum not be formed within 30 minutes of the meeting notice, the meeting has to be adjourned for a period of at least one week and re-advertised. Should a quorum still not be achieved at the subsequent meeting, the members present shall constitute a quorum and all decisions taken would be binding.
Section 3: NOTICE OF MEETINGS
The Executive Director shall give notice of meetings as follows:
- Annual General Meetings: 21 days
- Board of Directors: 7 days
- Portfolio Committee : 7 days
- Special General Meeting: 14 days
- Portfolio Sub-Committee Meetings: 2 days
- Special Board Meeting: One day or shorter notice
Article XVII: TERM OF OFFICE
Section 1: The Chairperson of the Board and President of the Portfolio Committee and the Board Members may serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms (6 years).
Section 2: He/she may, however, make him/her self available for re-election as the member of the Board after at least three (3) years have elapsed.
Article XVIII: SUSPENSION / TERMINATION OF OFFICE BEARERS
Section 1: Suspension of Office Bearers
- An office bearer may be suspended from the Board of Director, Portfolio Committee or Portfolio Sub-Committee by the Chairman of the Board and/or President (whichever is applicable) if such member is alleged to have contravened the Constitution or the HDSB Code of Conduct or behaved in a manner that constitutes misconduct
- During the period of suspension, the office bearer may no longer exercise his/her duties as an official until the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing.
Section 2: Disqualification/Termination of Office Bearers
An official is disqualified from acting as office bearer, if he/she is found guilty of the following:
- Failure to attend two (2) consecutive meetings without apologies
- Failure to attend three (3) consecutive meetings, with or without apologies
- Renunciation of the Hindu faith
- Misappropriation of HDSB funds.
Article XIX: DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
In the event a member of the Board of Directors, Portfolio Committee or Sub-Portfolio Committee is alleged to have breached the code of conduct and/or constitution of the HDSB or behaved in a manner that constituted misconduct, the following procedure shall be followed:
- The office bearer may, at the discretion of the Chairperson of the Board, be given a verbal or written warning and/or be suspended;
- Should the Chairman of the Board, at their discretion, decide(s) to conduct a hearing, the following procedure shall be followed:
- In the case of a portfolio sub-committee member, an Executive Disciplinary Committee (EDC) made up of representatives of the Portfolio Committee, which is acceptable to all parties and numbering not more than five (5) will be formed to hear the complaint and pass judgment.
- A complaint against any Portfolio Committee member must be referred to the Board Disciplinary Committee (BDC).
- The President or Chairperson of the Board will chair the respective committees, unless circumstances dictate otherwise
- The decision of the EDC or BDC will be regarded as final if it is ratified by the majority of Executive Committee members or Board respectively
- Should it be deemed necessary and desirable an independent chairperson may be appointed
- All disciplinary enquiries shall be resolved within 60 days from the date of referral or such extended time that the relevant HDSB authority might grant
- At least seven (7) days written notice must be given to the concerned official/member to attend a disciplinary hearing, which notice must contain inter alia the date, time and venue of the Hearing, including details of all the charges
- In the event of a complaint against a staff member of the HDSB, irrespective of whether the complaint emanates from the officials, Board or community at large, the complaint will be dealt with in terms of the provisions of the HDSB Service Rules and Code of Conduct (as amended) from time to time.
Article XX: GRIEVANCES/COMPLAINTS POLICY
In the event a grievance or complaint by a member of the public is brought to the attention of any member of the Board, or Portfolio Committee, the complainant must be advised to lodge their complaint in writing with the HDSB Executive Director. The ED will inform the complainant that the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions provided for in the HDSB Complaints Resolution Policy, Procedure & Guidelines.
Article XXI: INDEMNITY
- Every member or employee of the HDSB is hereby indemnified in their personal capacities against any action taken against the Shree Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan.
- The Shree Sanatan Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan also agrees to absolve and hold harmless any officer or employee against any loss suffered by the HDSB as a consequence of their actions arising from them performing their lawful duties, unless such acts are the result of wilful or malicious misconduct.
Article XXII: AMENDMENTS TO THE ARTICLE OF ASSOCIATION
This Article of Association may only be amended with the approval of two-thirds of the members present at an AGM or at a special general meeting called for this purpose.
- Notice to change the constitution must be circulated at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of meeting.
- The applicable clauses to be changed must accompany such notice.
- All modifications and objections to the amendments must be directed to the secretary at least three (3) days before the meeting for consideration at the meeting.
- The Board of Directors shall formally engage the community in a constitutional review process every 5 years to ensure that any revealed weaknesses are addressed and new insights incorporated.
Article XXIII: REIMBURSEMENT FOR LEGITIMATE EXPENSE
- No reimbursement may be given to officials for attending regular HDSB meetings held in Bhutan.
- Officials authorised by the Chairperson to attend forums or meetings on behalf of the HDSB outside of Bhutan because they are deemed to be important vehicles or opportunities for the Hindu voice to be heard, then such officials may claim a refund for legitimate expenses incurred, as follows:
- Car travel: prevailing government mileage rates for medium-size car
- Air travel: economy-class rates only; Accommodation: not exceeding 3-star rate; Meals: as per meal voucher presented.
Article XXIV: USE OF MANDIR
- It is a fundamental principle that the mandir is open, free of charge to all spiritual organisations, bhajan groups or mandals for the purpose of conducting prayers and the observance of religious ceremonies
- Any photos or murthis brought into the mandir for this purpose must be removed after the function
- The day to day governance of the mandir, operational guidelines, and the celebration of events will be set and reviewed by the Religion & Culture Committee, in consultation with the resident priest
- Any revenue generated or donations received within the mandir e.g. aarti money, are to be collected and accounted for by the Religious & Culture Committee and banked into the HDSB account
- No item donated by any person for placement in the mandir may have a name inscribed on it and no donated item may be hung on Mandir walls
Article XXV: PROVISION OF RELIGIOUS SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITY
The Secretariat in consultation with the Board shall be responsible for drawing up the conditions of employment for the resident priest as well as a guideline setting out the minimum “Daxina” (tariff) that the community can give the priest when engaging his services for the performance of the various ceremonies. These “Daxina” guidelines shall be reviewed at least once every year.
Article XXVI: OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
Upon being elected at an AGM, all elected officials will be required to publicly swear an oath to serve the HDSB to the best of their ability and to abide by this constitution. The presiding officer at the elections will preside over this ceremony.
Article XXVII: HDSB Fund
- The HDSB shall maintain and operate a fund to finance its activities
- It shall mobilise financial resources through membership fees, returns on its investments, voluntary contributions, donations, grants, subsidies, financial assistance and bequests received from the Royal Government of Bhutan, individuals and organizations in accordance with the relevant provisions of RoA 2007
- The annual budget shall be approved by the AGM
- Expenditures shall be made only on activities authorized by the AGM or Board of Directors.
The HDSB fund shall not be used by any member for personal purposes.
Article XXVIII: DISSOLUTION
Section 1: Decision to Dissolve
The HDSB may be dissolved if at least two-thirds of the members present at a special general meeting of the Samudaya convened for the purpose of considering such a step vote in favour of dissolution. Not less than 21 days notice shall be given for such a meeting. If there is no quorum for such a meeting, the meeting shall be postponed for not less than one week in which case the members then present shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2: Assets
If upon dissolution, there remain any assets whatsoever after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities, such assets shall be distributed to any registered Non Profit Organisation(s) with similar aims and objectives.
Article XXIX: INTERPRETATION
In the event of any interpretation or confusion on the provisions of this document or on administrative matters which might not have been explicitly covered, the Board of Directors shall have the power to use its discretion and report it to the AGM for guidance and confirmation.
Article XXX: HONORIFIC TITLES
Since the Hindu tradition is highly decentralised, Hindu Honorific is not necessarily certified by any central authority. The religious occupation and the capabilities required for the various roles are verified and affirmed in the context of the community where the Hindu priests of various ranks traditionally receives training, engages in the occupation and is recognised as competent based on the quality of his work. If, however, a Hindu temple or organisation in Bhutan is affiliated with a particular tradition lineage (sampradaya), it may have additional requirements for such posts, such as having to be well versed in the specific lineage, scripture and worship services of the tradition lineage and certified by an authority recognised by the sampradaya and approved by the HDSB and Chhoedey Lhentshog.
Abhyasi: An Abhyasi is a spiritual seeker in the esoteric Eastern mystical traditions. The word Abhyasi means “one who practises” in Sanskrit.
Acharya is a preceptor or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men. Acharya is sometimes used to address a teacher or a scholar in any discipline, example Bhaskaracharya, the mathematician.
Guru: A guru is a teacher more directly than a pandit is. A guru is the guide to spiritual practice. Ideally he is an enlightened person who knows the path and so is able to guide others on it.
Jagadguru: Literally meaning the Guru of the universe is a title used in Sanātana Dharma. Traditionally, it has been bestowed upon or used for Ācāryas belonging to the Vedānta school who have written Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthānatrayī.
Mahamandaleshwar (or Maha Mandaleshwar): A title used by Hindu monks of the Dashanami order of renunciates (“swamis”) founded by Shankaracharya. A person called Mahamandaleshwar has been elevated by his peers to the highest level of traditional, Hindu spiritual guardianship.
Mahant: A Mahant is a religious superior, in particular the chief priest of a temple or the head of a monastery.
Maharshi: A member of the high class of ancient Indian scientists popularly known in India as Rishis, or seers, especially those who do research to understand Nature and its governing laws.
Pandit: One who has learned proper Sanskrit chanting, particularly of the Vedas. They are called scholars and teachers, intellectuals, and learned people. Pandits are also the people serving as priests at Hindu temples or a teacher of any field of knowledge in Hinduism, particularly the Vedic scriptures, dharma, Hindu philosophy, or secular subjects such as music. He may be a Guru in a Gurukul.
Purohit: The term Purohit refers to a house priest.
Paramahamsa: Paramahamsa also spelled paramahansa or paramhansa, is a Sanskrit religio-theological title of honour applied to Hindu spiritual teachers who are regarded as having attained enlightenment. The title literally means “supreme swan,” and symbolizes spiritual discrimination.
Parampara: Parampara denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Vedic culture and religions. The Sanskrit word literally means an uninterrupted row or series, order, succession, continuation, mediation, tradition.
Rajarishi: Rajarishi, from Sanskrit “Rajan” a “King” + “Rishi” a “Saint”, in Hinduism and Hindu mythology, is a Royal Saint.
Rishi: Rishi is a Vedic term that denotes an inspired poet of hymns from the Vedas. Post-Vedic tradition of Hinduism regards the rishis as “seers”, “great sadhus” or “sages” who after intense meditation (tapas) realized the supreme truth and eternal knowledge, which they composed into hymns.
Sādhaka: A sādhaka or sādhak is someone who follows a particular sādhanā, or a way of life designed to realize the goal of one’s ultimate ideal, whether it is merging with one’s eternal Source, brahman, or realization of one’s personal deity. In medieval times it was more narrowly used as a technical term for one who had gone through a specific initiation.
Sadhu: A sadhu (male), sādhvī (female), is a religious ascetic, mendicant (monk) or any holy person in Hinduism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as sannyasi or vairagi.
Sannyasa: Sannyasa is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages known as ashramas, with the first three being Brahmacharya (bachelor student), Grihastha (householder) and Vanaprastha (forest dweller, retired. Sannyasa is traditionally conceptualised for men or women in late years of their life, but young brahmacharis have had the choice to skip the householder and retirement stages, renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits.
Shankaracharya is a commonly used title of heads of monasteries called mathas in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. The title derives from Adi Shankara, an 9th Csentury reformer of Hinduism.
Sant: In Hinduism, a Sant is a human being revered for his or her knowledge of “self, truth, reality” and as a “truth-exemplar”.
Satguru: Satguru means the true guru. However the term is distinguished from other forms of gurus, such as musical instructors, scriptural teachers, parents, and so on. The satguru is a title given specifically only to an enlightened rishi or saint whose life’s purpose is to guide the initiated shishya on the spiritual path, the summation of which is the realization of the Self through realization of God, who is omnipresent.
Shaunaka: Shaunaka is the name applied to teachers, and to a Shakha of the Atharvaveda. It is especially the name of a celebrated Sanskrit grammarian, author of the Ṛgveda-Prātiśākhya, the Bṛhaddevatā, the Caraṇa-vyūha and six Anukramaṇīs (indices) to the Rigveda.
Swami: A swami is an ascetic or yogi who has been initiated into the religious monastic order, founded by some religious teacher. It is believed to be originally used for the ones who were initiated into the Advaita Vedanta movement, started by Adi Shankara. Mostly Vedanta Scholars use swami. The meaning of the Sanskrit root of the word “swami” is “one who is one with his Self”. The usage of this word is not just for a yogi but also used for a religious guru, with or without disciples.
Yogi: A yogi (sometimes spelled jogi) is a practitioner of yoga. In Vedic Sanskrit, yoga means “to add”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach” in its most common literal sense, where in recent days, especially in the West, yoga often refers to physical exercises only.