SCC president: Court’s status in draft constitution ‘a step backwards’

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court  rejected its status in the first draft of the new constitution issued last week , at a press conference on Tuesday.

Court president Maher al-Beheiry labeled the articles pertaining to the court’s status "a step backwards and a flagrant intervention in the court's affairs," adding that the court will remain in permanent session until amendments are made to the provisions which "endanger the court's independence."

According to Article 184 in the draft, the court can scrutinize proposed bills regulating presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections, but it also stipulates that bills are immune from any judicial scrutiny once approved by the People’s Assembly.

Legal experts believe the provision is at odds with the court’s primary role, which is to decide on the constitutionality of laws after they are issued.

Maher Samy, the court’s vice president, described the articles concerning the constitutional court are “vague.”

The court withdrew its representatives from the Constituent Assembly in June. “We pulled out from both the first and the second assembly after we detected several deficiencies. We sensed an unhealthy atmosphere and preferred to be neutral,” Samy said.

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