Top State Council authority rejects amendments to Judicial Authority Law

Egypt's Special Council, the top authority of State Council, rejected the new Judicial Authority draft law on Saturday, which includes amendments to some articles regulating the State Council, the State Lawsuits Authority (SLA) and the Administrative Prosecution Authority (SIS).

The Special Council sent a memo with the reasons for its rejection to the House of Representatives, following a notice from the Parliament for the council's opinion on the draft law, pursuant to the text of Article 185 of the Constitution, which stipulates that judicial bodies be consulted in the draft laws governing its affairs.

MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim, a member of the Legislative Committee of the House of Representatives, said in a statement to al-Masry al-Youm that sending the bill to the judicial bodies is an attempt by the Parliament to correct what he called a "Constitutional Defect" by passing the bill without consulting the judicial bodies.

The Parliament approved amendments to the Judicial Authority Law on March 27 — the same it was put up for discussion; some MPs complained they hadn't had enough time to read it.

The Legislation Department of the State Council had sent the Parliament earlier this month its feedback on the bill which included a blatant rejection of the proposed amendments.

At the forefront of the remarks is that the bill contradicts Article 185 of the Constitution, which states: "each judicial body or organization shall be consulted with regards to the bills regulating its affairs."

The new draft law reportedly stipulates that the President would appoint the heads of the judiciary authorities, chosing from among the three vice-chairmen of each judicial body, nominated by the supreme council of that body from among the seven oldest deputies.

The new method is contrary to the old system, whereby the head of an authority would be appointed by who has the absolute seniority — a concept considered by Egypt's Judges Club as "one of the established principles and legal constants and one of the guarantees of the independence of the judiciary", to ensure that no official interferes in the selection of the president of the Court of Cassation.

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