A major debate has arisen recently regarding the jurisdiction of the legislative department at the State Council to review the draft laws set to be issued by the parliament, including the parliamentary bylaw which will be issued soon.
Supporters of this opinion invoke Article No. 190 in the amended constitution issued in 2014, which regulates the jurisdiction of the State Council, including its jurisdiction over reviewing draft laws and legislative tools.
Some believe that the jurisdiction of the legislative department to review draft laws includes the bylaws of the parliament, which the amended constitution stipulates must be issued according to a law from the parliament, based on Article 108 of the constitution.
Before the rebuttal and refutation of these allegations, which are inconsistent with the provisions adopted by State Council Law No. 47/1972 and the articles of the constitution amended in 2014, we must first review some of the legal texts. They include the following:
Firstly, Articles 63 and 64 in the State Council Law No. 47/1972:
Article 63: Before the issuance of any law or decree by the president, any ministries or authorities, of a legislative nature, it must be proposed to the legislative department to review its drafting.
Article 64: A committee, formed by the legislative department, can review the drafting of legislations that is deemed urgent by the prime minister or one of the ministers or the president of the State Council.
Secondly, some articles of the 2014 constitution:
Article 118: The House of Representatives shall set its own internal regulations for its work and the manner of exercising its authorities and maintaining order therein.
Article 190: The State Council is an autonomous judicial body, and it shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to settle administrative disputes and disputes relevant to the execution of all its rulings. It shall have jurisdiction over disciplinary suits and appeals, and the exclusive jurisdiction to provide advice regarding legal issues to the administrative bodies determined by the law. It shall also review and draft bills and decrees of legislative nature, and shall review draft contracts to which the state or any other public authority is a party. The law shall determine its other jurisdictions.
Article 224: All the provisions stipulated by laws and regulations prior to the promulgation of this constitution shall remain in force, and they may neither be amended nor repealed, except in accordance with the regulations and procedures prescribed herein.
The state shall be obliged to issue laws executing the provisions of this constitution.
We should agree on an important legal concept: the origin is that ‘the constitution is not self-enforcing’, but requires legislation or legislative amendments to be applied. In addition, articles 63 and 64 of the State Council Laws and their historical inception assert that the State Council’s jurisdiction subsumes draft laws and decisions that are legislative in nature and drafted by the executive authority before they are submitted to parliament. This is also out of respect for the concept of the separation of powers, of which the current constitution affirmed for the first time in Article 5.
Moreover, we should know that the parliament’s internal regulations are one of the core jobs of the parliament, and certainly one of the tasks that are related to its sovereignty. As such, the State Council, in all cases, must not review them, out of respect for the concept of separation of powers.
Suppose the validity of the claim of those who adhere to that the legislative department of the Council of State has the right to review the drafts of the laws the parliament will issue, we say to them that the State Council Law 47/1972 has not yet been amended, such as the hundreds of laws that have not been amended in spite of the fact that some of their articles contradict with the provisions of the amended constitution.
Nevertheless, they are still valid and applied as they are in accordance with the provisions of Article 224 of the amended constitution. Consequently, the State Council does not have the right to review the drafts of the laws that the parliament will issue, especially the internal regulations, except after amending the State Council Law 47/1972, and determining what laws will be presented to the Legislative Department and at which stage, out of respect for the constitution.
It is clear that the lack of some parliament members’ knowledge about the provisions of the new constitution and their hesitation contributed to giving more influence to the Legislative Department of the State Council.
Gentlemen, do not make the process of issuing laws slower by adding a new phase and increasing the burdens on the venerable counsellors at the Legislative Department of the State Council. This is an inherent right of the parliament and its legislative and constitutional committee, even if some of them are unaware of this.