1. Capital punishment
Capital punishment was the penalty for murderers and criminals who fled the scene until 1960s when the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck banned it. However, Under the National Security Act of 1992, the death penalty was re-designated for treason.
In 2004, His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck formally decreed the abolition of capital punishment. Today, the constitution prohibits the capital punishment under the fundamental rights.
Economy was based on the payment in kind and in labor before the introduction of money. Slavery was inherited and therefore, was legal until its abolishment in 1958. As a part of the modernization, the Third King not only freed but awarded citizenship and land to former slaves.
3. Hunting and fishing
Hunting and fishing in Bhutan is not allowed. However, fishing in non-restricted areas is allowed with a special permit.
In addition, import and sale of meat and fish is not allowed during the holy days and months of the Bhutanese Calendar since early 2000s.
4. Sale of antiques to foreigners
Buying and selling of stolen antiques that belongs to state is illegal in Bhutan. Inherited antiques can be traded within Bhutanese in Bhutan but can neither be taken out of the country nor sold to Non-Bhutanese.
5. Felling Trees
Cutting down of trees is illegal in Bhutan. People in the rural area are eligible for certain numbers to trees for the construction of house. For construction in urban, the owner have to buy logs from sawmill.
6. Import and use of plastic
Bhutan initiated a ban on plastic import in 1999. It garnered global attention and appreciation. However, the ban was a failure since the alternatives for plastic bags were not sought out. The ban was reintroduced in 2005 and 2019.
7. Mountain climbing
Bhutan has around 20 mountain peaks that exceed 7,000 meters elevation. Mountains are considered the abode of gods and deities. Numerous Buddhist masters have visited these mountains for pilgrimage and meditation and therefore, it’s holy and sacred.
Mountaineering was allowed in the 1980s with very special permit, but it has been prohibited to climb peaks over 6,000 meters elevation since 1994. Mountain climbing in Bhutan was banned completely in 2003.
The highest unclimbed mountain peak of the world is located in Bhutan. It’s Gangkar Puensum.
8. Sale of tobacco products
The Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan, 2010, prohibits the cultivation, harvest, production, and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in Bhutan. The act allows individuals to import tobacco and tobacco products for personal consumption according to limits set by the Tobacco Control Board subject to duties and taxes.
Smoking in public places, offices, restaurants and in films is banned as well.
9. Prostitution and pornography
The Penal Code of Bhutan criminalizes prostitution. In 2017, Lhak-Sam, an NGO, proposed to legalize prostitution by the government, but the proposal was turned down.
Likewise, production and distribution of pornography is a crime.
10. Screening foreign films
Bhutan has only 10 cinema halls. Hollywood and Bollywood films were screened for entertainment until screening of foreign films is banned in mid 2000s to give a boost to local films. The ban is also to solve the shortage of screening facilities and locations in the country.
Bhutan produced first feature film ‘Gasa Lami Singye’ in 1988. Today, around 15 films are produced annually.
As a matter of fact, Television and internet ban was lifted only in 1999.
11. Vegetable import from India
Bhutan strictly monitors the imported food items. Chili, beans and cauliflower imported from India were found with high chemical residues and therefore the government imposed a ban of mentioned vegetables since 2016.
12. Import of eggs
Because of the petition submitted by Bhutanese poultry farmers to control the import of poultry products and the avian flu outbreak in India, the government to ban poultry products including eggs in 2012. It is also because a self-sufficiency food policy to shield the food security in the country.
Although the import of eggs remains banned, import of chicken is allowed.