In a landmark move in Qatar’s judicial history, a Constitutional Court has been set up which will basically make sure that existing legislations in the country comply with the provisions of the Constitution.
The Court became functional yesterday. It was to originally begin operating from October 1 last year but its installation was delayed due to administrative reasons.
Also, court verdicts which either the defence or prosecution feels have not been issued in keeping with the law, can be challenged in this apex court.
Or, if it is felt by either party to a legal dispute that law has been misinterpreted in issuing a court verdict, it (the party) will have the right to move the Constitutional Court for a review.
Court decisions can be taken to the Constitutional Court for a revision within 60 days after they are issued. The new Court also has the authority to decide the jurisdiction of lower courts and can name a court which has to actually hear a particular case.
Citing a good example of Constitutional issues, lawyer Mohsin Thiyab Al Suwaidi said if a non-Muslim kills someone in a road accident, he is tried under the traffic law, while Shariah law is applied in case the defendant is a Muslim. The issue can be taken to the Constitutional Court for a review because the Constitution says that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, said Al Suwaidi.
According to him, if a lawyer feels that certain laws or clauses do not comply with the fundamental principles of the Constitution, he has the right to move the
Giving another example, he said that the constitution also confers the right to travel, so any kind of restrictions imposed on citizens in this matter can be referred to the Constitutional Court.
The new court will also come in handy if there is confusion about the interpretation of the provisions of a law. The matter can be taken to this court. These and other such issues which cannot be currently taken to any court fall within the purview of the newly-installed court, Al Suwaidi said in remarks to this newspaper yesterday. Hailing the setting up of the Court, he said Qatar passed a law (No. 12) last year paving the way for its installation.
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