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Constitution of Thailand 1997 | Constitutional Law | Thai laws | Lawyer

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CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF THAILAND 2540 (1997)

Translation

May there be virtue. Today is the tenth day of the waxing moon in the eleventh month of the year of the Ox under the lunar calendar, being Saturday, the eleventh day of October under the solar calendar, in the 2540th year of the Buddhist Era.

 

Phrabat Somdet Phra Paramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkri Narubodin Sayammintharathirat Borommanatthabophit is graciously pleased to proclaim that whereas Constitutions have been promulgated as the principle of the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State in Thailand for more than sixty-five years, and there had been annulment and amendment to the Constitutions on several occasions, it is manifest that the Constitution is changeable depending upon the situation in the country. In addition, the Constitution must clearly lay down fundamental rules as the principle of the administration of the State and the guideline for the preparation of the organic laws and other laws in conformity therewith; and whereas the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2534 as amended by the Constitution Amendment (No. 6), B.E. 2539 established the Constituent Assembly, consisting of ninety-nine members elected by the National Assembly, charged with the duty to prepare a draft of a new Constitution as the fundamental of political reform and His Majesty the King graciously granted an audience to members of the Constituent Assembly for taking His Royal speeches and receiving blessings in carrying out this task, and, thereafter, the Constituent Assembly prepared the draft Constitution with the essential substance lying in additionally promoting and protecting rights and liberties of the people, providing for public participation in the governance and inspecting the exercise of State power as well as improving a political structure to achieve more efficiency and stability,

 

having particular regard to public opinions and observing procedures provided in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2534 as amended by the Constitution Amendment (No. 6), B.E. 2539 (1996) in every respect;

 

Having carefully considered the Draft Constitution prepared by the Constituent Assembly in the light of the situation of the country, the National Assembly passed a resolution approving the presentation of the draft Constitution to the King for His Royal signature to promulgate it as the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand;

 

Having thoroughly examined the draft Constitution, the King deemed it expedient to grant His Royal assent in accordance with the resolution of the National Assembly;

 

Be it, therefore, commanded by the King that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand be promulgated to replace, as from the date of its promulgation, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2534 promulgated on 9th December B.E. 2534.

 

May the Thai people unite in observing, protecting and upholding the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in order to maintain the democratic regime of government and the sovereign power derived from the Thai people, and to bring about happiness, prosperity, and dignity to His Majesty's subjects throughout the Kingdom according to the will of His Majesty in every respect.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

General Provisions

 

Section 1.

Thailand is one and indivisible Kingdom.

Section 2.

Thailand adopts a democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State.

Section 3.

The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as Head of the State shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Section 4.

The human dignity, right and liberty of the people shall be protected.

Section 5.

The Thai people, irrespective of their origins, sexes or religions, shall enjoy equal protection under this Constitution.

Section 6.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the State. The provisions of any law, rule or regulation, which are contrary to or inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be unenforceable.

Section 7.

Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional practice in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State.

 

 

CHAPTER 2

The King

 

Section 8.

The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated.

No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.

Section 9.

The King is a Buddhist and Upholder of religions.

Section 10.

The King holds the position of Head of the Thai Armed Forces.

Section 11.

The King has the prerogative to create titles and confer decorations.

Section 12.

The King selects and appoints qualified persons to be the President of the Privy Council and not more than eighteen Privy Councilors to constitute the Privy Council.

The Privy Council has a duty to render such advice to the King on all matters pertaining to His functions as He may consult, and has other duties as provided in this Constitution.

Section 13.

The selection and appointment or the removal of a Privy Councilor shall depend entirely upon the King's pleasure.

The President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command appointing or removing the President of the Privy Council.

The President of the Privy council shall countersign the Royal Command appointing or removing other Privy Councilors.

Section 14.

A Privy Councilor shall not be a member of the House of Representatives, senator, Election Commissioner, Ombudsman, member of the National Human Rights Commission, judge of the Constitutional Court, judge of an Administrative Court, member of the National Counter Corruption Commission, member of the State Audit Council, Government official holding a permanent position or receiving a salary, official of a State enterprise, other State official or holder of other position of member or official of a political party, and must not manifest loyalty to any political party.

Section 15.

Before taking office, a Privy Councilor shall make a solemn declaration before the King in the following words:

"I, (name of the declarer), do solemnly declare that I will be loyal to His Majesty the King and will faithfully perform my duties in the interests of the country and of the people. I will also uphold and observe the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in every respect."

Section 16.

A Privy Councilor vacates office upon death, resignation or removal by a Royal Command.

Section 17.

The appointment and removal of officials of the Royal Household and of the Royal Chief Aide-de-Camp shall depend entirely upon the King's pleasure.

Section 18.

Whenever the King is absent from the Kingdom or unable to perform His functions for any reason whatsoever, the King will appoint a person Regent, and the President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command therefor.

Section 19.

In the case where the King does not appoint a Regent under Section 18, or the King is unable to appoint a Regent owing to His not being sui juris or any other reason whatsoever, the Privy Council shall submit the name of a person suitable to hold the office of Regent to the National Assembly for approval. Upon approval by the National Assembly, the President of National Assembly shall make an announcement, in the name of the King, to appoint such person as Regent.

During the expiration the term of the House of Representatives or the dissolution thereof, the Senate shall act as the National Assembly in giving an approval under paragraph one.

Section 20.

While there is no Regent under Section 18 or Section 19, the President of the Privy Council shall be Regent pro tempore.

In the case where the Regent appointed under Section 18 or Section 19 is unable to perform his or her duties, the President of the Privy Council shall act as Regent pro tempore.

While being Regent under paragraph one or acting as Regent under paragraph two, the President of the Privy Council shall not perform his or her duties as President of the Privy Council. In such case, the Privy Council shall select a Privy Councilor to act as President of the Privy Council pro tempore.

Section 21.

Before taking office, the Regent appointed under Section 18 or Section 19 shall make a solemn declaration before the National Assembly in the following words:

"I, (name of the declarer), do solemnly declare that I will be loyal to His Majesty the King (name of the King) and will faithfully perform my duties in the interests of the country and of the people. I will also uphold and observe the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in every respect."

During the expiration of the term of the House of Representatives or the dissolution thereof, the Senate shall act as the National Assembly under this Section.

Section 22.

Subject to Section 23, the succession to the Throne shall be in accordance with the Palace Law on Succession, B.E. 2467.

The Amendment of the Palace Law on Succession, B.E. 2467 shall be the prerogative of the King. At the initiative of the King, the Privy Council shall draft the Palace Law Amendment and shall present it to the King for his consideration. When the King has already approved the draft Palace Law Amendment and put His signature thereon, the President of the Privy Council shall notify the President of the National Assembly for informing the National Assembly. The President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command, and the Palace Law Amendment shall have the force of law upon its publication in the Government Gazette.

During the expiration of the term of the House of Representatives or the dissolution thereof, the Senate shall act as the National Assembly in acknowledging the matter under paragraph two.

Section 23.

In the case where the Throne becomes vacant and the King has already appointed His Heir to the Throne under the Palace Law on Succession, B.E. 2467, the Council of Ministers shall notify the President of the National Assembly. The President of the National Assembly shall convoke the National Assembly for the acknowledgement thereof, and the President of the National Assembly shall invite such Heir to ascend the Throne and proclaim such Heir King.

In the case where the Throne becomes vacant and the King has not appointed His Heir under paragraph one, the Privy Council shall submit the name of the Successor to the Throne under Section 22 to the Council of Ministers for further submission to the National Assembly for approval. For this purpose, the name of a Princess may be submitted. Upon the approval of the National Assembly, the President of the National Assembly shall invite such Successor to ascend the Throne and proclaim such Successor King.

During the expiration of the term of the House of Representatives or the dissolution thereof, the Senate shall act as the National Assembly in acknowledging the matter under paragraph one or in giving an approval under paragraph two.

Section 24.

Pending the proclamation of the name of the Heir or the Successor to the Throne under Section 23, the President of the Privy Council shall be Regent pro tempore. In the case where the Throne becomes vacant while the Regent has been appointed under Section 18 or Section 19 or while the President of the Privy Council is acting as Regent under Section 20 paragraph one, such Regent, as the case may be, shall continue to be the Regent until the proclamation of the name of the Heir or the Successor to ascend the Throne as King.

In the case where the Regent who has been appointed and continues to be the Regent under paragraph one is unable to perform his or her duties, the President of the Privy council shall act as Regent pro tempore.

In the case where the President of the Privy Council is the Regent under paragraph one or acts as Regent pro tempore under paragraph two, the provisions of Section 20 paragraph three shall apply.

Section 25.

In the case where the Privy Council will have to perform its duties under Section 19 or Section 23 paragraph two, or the President of the Privy Council will have to perform his or her duties under Section 20 paragraph one or paragraph two or Section 24 paragraph two, and during that time there is no President of the Privy Council or the President of the Privy Council is unable to perform his or her duties, the remaining Privy Councilors shall elect one among themselves to act as President of the Privy Council or to perform the duties under Section 20 paragraph one or paragraph two or Section 24 paragraph three, as the case may be.

 

 

CHAPTER 3

Rights and Liberties of the Thai People

 

Section 26.

In exercising powers of all State authorities, regard shall be had to human dignity, rights and liberties in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Section 27.

Rights and liberties recognized by this Constitution expressly, by implication or by decisions of the Constitutional Court shall be protected and directly binding on the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, Courts and other State organs in enacting, applying and interpreting laws.

Section 28.

A person can invoke human dignity or exercise his or her rights and liberties in so far as it is not in violation of rights and liberties of other persons or contrary to this Constitution or good morals.

A person whose rights and liberties recognized by this Constitution are violated can invoke the provisions of this Constitution to bring a lawsuit or to defend himself or herself in the court.

Section 29.

The restriction of such rights and liberties as recognized by the Constitution shall not be imposed on a person except by virtue of provisions of the law specifically enacted for the purpose determined by this Constitution and only to the extent of necessity and provided that it shall not affect the essential substances of such rights and liberties.

The law under paragraph one shall be of general application and shall not be intended to apply to any particular case or person; provided that the provision of the Constitution authorizing its enactment shall also be mentioned therein.

The provisions of paragraph one and paragraph two shall apply mutatis mutandis to rules or regulations issued by virtue of the provisions of the law.

Section 30.

All persons are equal before the law and shall enjoy equal protection under the law.

Men and women shall enjoy equal rights.

Unjust discrimination against a person on the grounds of the difference in origin, race, language, sex, age, physical or health condition, personal status, economic or social standing, religious belief, education or constitutionally political view, shall not be permitted.

Measures determined by the State in order to eliminate obstacle to or to promote persons' ability to exercise their rights and liberties as other persons shall not be deemed as unjust discrimination under paragraph three.

Section 31.

A person shall enjoy the right and liberty in his or her life and person.

A torture, brutal act, or punishment by a cruel or inhumane means shall not be permitted; provided, however, that punishment by death penalty as provided by law shall not be deemed the punishment by a cruel or inhumane means under this paragraph.

No arrest, detention or search of person or act affecting the right and liberty under paragraph one shall not be made except by virtue of the law.

Section 32.

No person shall be inflicted with a criminal punishment unless he or she has committed an act which the law in force at the time of commission provides to be an offence and imposes a punishment therefor, and the punishment to be inflicted on such person shall not be heavier than that provided by the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.

Section 33.

The suspect or the accused in a criminal case shall be presumed innocent.

Before the passing of a final judgement convicting a person of having committed an offence, such person shall not be treated as a convict.

Section 34.

A person’s family rights, dignity, reputation or the right of privacy shall be protected.

The assertion or circulation of a statement or picture in any manner whatsoever to the public, which violates or affects a person's family rights, dignity, reputation or the right of privacy, shall not be made except for the case which is beneficial to the public.

Section 35.

A person shall enjoy the liberty of dwelling.

A person is protected for his or her peaceful habitation in and for possession of his or her dwelling place. The entry into a dwelling place without consent of its possessor or the search thereof shall not be made except by virtue of the law.

Section 36.

A person shall enjoy the liberty of travelling and the liberty of making the choice of his or her residence within the Kingdom.

The restriction on such liberties under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for maintaining the security of the State, public order, public welfare, town and country planing or welfare of the youth.

No person of Thai nationality shall be deported or prohibited from entering the Kingdom.

Section 37.

A person shall enjoy the liberty of communication by lawful means.

The censorship, detention or disclosure of communication between persons including any other act disclosing a statement in the communication between persons shall not be made except by virtue of the provisions of the law specifically enacted for security of the State or maintaining public order or good morals.

Section 38.

A person shall enjoy full liberty to profess a religion, a religious sect or creed, and observe religious precepts or exercise a form of worship in accordance with his or her belief; provided that it is not contrary to his or her civic duties, public order or good morals.

In exercising the liberty referred to in paragraph one, a person is protected from any act of the State, which is derogatory to his or her rights or detrimental to his or her due benefits on the grounds of professing a religion, a religious sect or creed or observing religious precepts or exercising a form of worship in accordance with his or her different belief from that of others.

Section 39.

A person shall enjoy the liberty to express his or her opinion, make speeches, write, print, publicize, and make expression by other means.

The restriction on liberty under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the provisions of the law specifically enacted for the purpose of maintaining the security of the State, safeguarding the rights, liberties, dignity, reputation, family or privacy rights of other person, maintaining public order or good morals or preventing the deterioration of the mind or health of the public.

The closure of a pressing house or a radio or television station in deprivation of the liberty under this Section shall not be made.

The censorship by a competent official of news or articles before their publication in a newspaper, printed matter or radio or television broadcasting shall not be made except during the time when the country is in a state of war or armed conflict; provided that it must be made by virtue of the law enacted under the provisions of paragraph two.

The owner of a newspaper or other mass media business shall be a Thai national as provided by law.

No grant of money or other properties shall be made by the State as subsidies to private newspapers or other mass media.

Section 40.

Transmission frequencies for radio or television broadcasting and radio telecommunication are national communication resources for public interest.

There shall be an independent regulatory body having the duty to distribute the frequencies under paragraph one and supervise radio or television broadcasting and telecommunication businesses as provided by law.

In carrying out the act under paragraph two, regard shall be had to utmost public benefit at national and local levels in education, culture, State security, and other public interests including fair and free competition.

Section 41.

Officials or employees in a private sector undertaking newspaper or radio or television broadcasting businesses shall enjoy their liberties to present news and express their opinions under the constitutional restrictions without the mandate of any State agency, State enterprise or the owner of such businesses; provided that it is not contrary to their professional ethics.

Government officials, officials or employees of a State agency or State enterprise engaging in the radio or television broadcasting business enjoy the same liberties as those enjoyed by officials or employees under paragraph one.

Section 42.

A person shall enjoy an academic freedom.

Education, training, learning, teaching, researching and disseminating such research according to academic principles shall be protected; provided that it is not contrary to his or her civic duties or good morals.

Section 43.

A person shall enjoy an equal right to receive the fundamental education for the duration of not less than twelve years which shall be provided by the State thoroughly, up to the quality, and without charge.

In providing education by the State, regard shall be had to participation of local government organizations and the private sector as provided by law.

The provision of education by professional organizations and the private sector under the supervision of the State shall be protected as provided by law.

Section 44.

A person shall enjoy the liberty to assemble peacefully and without arms.

The restriction on such liberty under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for the case of public assembling and for securing public convenience in the use of public places or for maintaining public order during the time when the country is in a state of war, or when a state of emergency or martial law is declared.

Section 45.

A person shall enjoy the liberty to unite and form an association, a union, league, co-operative, farmer group, private organization or any other group.

The restriction on such liberty under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for protecting the common interest of the public, maintaining public order or good morals or preventing economic monopoly.

Section 46.

Persons so assembling as to be a traditional community shall have the right to conserve or restore their customs, local knowledge, arts or good culture of their community and of the nation and participate in the management, maintenance, preservation and exploitation of natural resources and the environment in a balanced fashion and persistently as provided by law.

Section 47.

A person shall enjoy the liberty to unite and form a political party for the purpose of making political will of the people and carrying out political activities in fulfillment of such will through the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State as provided in this Constitution.

The internal organization, management and regulations of a political party shall be consistent with fundamental principles of the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State.

Members of the House of Representatives who are members of a political party, members of the Executive Committee of a political party, or members of a political party, of not less than the number prescribed by the organic law on political parties shall, if of the opinion that their political party's resolution or regulation on any matter is contrary to the status and performance of duties of a member of the House of Representatives under this Constitution or contrary to or inconsistent with fundamental principles of the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State, have the right to refer it to the Constitutional Court for decision thereon.

In the case where the Constitutional Court decides that such resolution or regulation is contrary to or inconsistent with fundamental principles of the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State, such resolution or regulation shall lapse.

Section 48.

The property right of a person is protected. The extent and the restriction of such right shall be in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The succession is protected. The right of succession of a person shall be in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Section 49.

The expropriation of immovable property shall not be made except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for the purpose of public utilities, necessary national defense, exploitation of national resources, town and country planning, promotion and preservation of the quality of the environment, agricultural or industrial development, land reform, or other public interests, and fair compensation shall be paid in due time to the owner thereof as well as to all persons having the rights thereto, who suffer loss by such expropriation, as provided by law.

The amount of compensation under paragraph one shall be fairly assessed with due regard to the normal purchase price, mode of acquisition, nature and situation of the immovable property, and loss of the person whose property or right thereto is expropriated.

The law on expropriation of immovable property shall specify the purpose of the expropriation and shall clearly determine the period of time to fulfil that purpose. If the immovable property is not used to fulfil such purpose within such period of time, it shall be returned to the original owner or his or her heir.

The return of immovable property to the original owner or his or her heir under paragraph three and the claim of compensation paid shall be in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Section 50.

A person shall enjoy the liberties to engage in an enterprise or an occupation and to undertake a fair and free competition.

The restriction on such liberties under paragraph one shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for maintaining the security and safety of the State or economy of the country, protecting the public in regard to public utilities, maintaining public order and good morals, regulating the engagement in an occupation, consumer protection, town and country planning, preserving natural resources or the environment, public welfare, preventing monopoly, or eliminating unfair competition.

Section 51.

Forced labor shall not be imposed except by virtue of the law specifically enacted for the purpose of averting imminent public calamity or by virtue of the law which provides for its imposition during the time when the country is in a state of war or armed conflict, or when a state of emergency or martial law is declared.

Section 52.

A person shall enjoy an equal right to receive standard public health service, and the indigent shall have the right to receive free medical treatment from public health centers of the State, as provided by law.

The public health service by the State shall be provided thoroughly and efficiently and, for this purpose, participation by local government organizations and the private sector shall also be promoted insofar as it is possible .

The State shall prevent and eradicate harmful contagious diseases for the public without charge, as provided by law.

Section 53.

Children, youth and family members shall have the right to be protected by the State against violence and unfair treatment.

Children and youth with no guardian shall have the right to receive care and education from the State, as provided by law.

Section 54.

A person who is over sixty years of age and has insufficient income shall have the right to receive aids from the State, as provided by law.

Section 55.

The disabled or handicapped shall have the right to receive public conveniences and other aids from the State, as provided by law.

Section 56.

The right of a person to give to the State and communities participation in the preservation and exploitation of natural resources and biological diversity and in the protection, promotion and preservation of the quality of the environment for usual and consistent survival in the environment which is not hazardous to his or her health and sanitary condition, welfare or quality of life, shall be protected, as provided by law.

Any project or activity which may seriously affect the quality of the environment shall not be permitted, unless its impacts on the quality of the environment have been studied and evaluated and opinions of an independent organisation, consisting of representatives from private environmental organizations and from higher education institutions providing studies in the environmental field, have been obtained prior to the operation of such project or activity, as provided by law.

The right of a person to sue a State agency, State enterprise, local government organization or other State authority to perform the duties as provided by law under paragraph one and paragraph two shall be protected.

Section 57.

The right of a person as a consumer shall be protected as provided by law.

The law under paragraph one shall provide for an independent organization consisting of representatives of consumers for giving opinions on the enactment and issuance of law, rules and regulations and on the determination of various measures for consumer protection.

Section 58.

A person shall have the right to get access to public information in possession of a State agency, State enterprise or local government organization, unless the disclosure of such information shall affect the security of the State, public safety or interests of other persons which shall be protected as provided by law.

Section 59.

A person shall have the right to receive information, explanation and reason from a State agency, State enterprise or local government organization before permission is given for the operation of any project or activity which may affect the quality of the environment, health and sanitary conditions, the quality of life or any other material interest concerning him or her or a local community and shall have the right to express his or her opinions on such matters in accordance with the public hearing procedure, as provided by law.

Section 60.

A person shall have the right to participate in the decision-making process of State officials in the performance of administrative functions which affect or may affect his or her rights and liberties, as provided by law.

Section 61.

A person shall have the right to present a petition and to be informed of the result of its consideration within the appropriate time, as provided by law.

Section 62.

The right of a person to sue a State agency, State enterprise, local government organization or other State authority which is a juristic person to be liable for an act or omission done by its Government official, official or employee shall be protected, as provided by law.

Section 63.

No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

In the case where a person or a political party has committed the act under paragraph one, the person knowing of such act shall have the right to request the Prosecutor General to investigate its facts and submit a motion to the Constitutional Court for ordering cessation of such act without, however, prejudice to the institution of a criminal action against such person.

In the case where the Constitutional Court makes a decision compelling the political party to cease to commit the act under paragraph two, the Constitutional Court may order the dissolution of such political party.

Section 64.

Members of the armed forces or the police force, Government officials, officials or employees of State agencies, State enterprises or local government organisations shall enjoy the same rights and liberties under the Constitution as those enjoyed by other persons, unless such enjoyment is restricted by law, by-law or regulation issued by virtue of the law specifically enacted in regard to politics, efficiency, disciplines or ethics.

Section 65.

A person shall have the right to resist peacefully any act committed for the acquisition of the power to rule the country by a means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

 

 

 

 

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