More tribunalations

The New Light of Myanmar has yet another article about the debate in the Hluttaw over the Constitutional Tribunal. Two things stand out. First, the Hluttaw Speaker, Khin Aung Myint, seems to be arguing that the tribunal is less a court and more like a legislature, meaning that tribunal review over draft laws would be appropriate. Second, he seems to be retreating a bit and suggesting that only questionable laws be submitted. The full article is below:

Fourth day Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Session held Bill amending Political Parties Registration Law approved by both Hluttaws put on record by Pyidaungsu Hluttaw

NAY PYI TAW, 18 Nov-The fourth day session of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw continued at Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Hall in Hluttaw Building here today, attended by Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U Khin Aung Myint, Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and 584 Pyidaungsu Hluttaw representatives.

At the session, one bill was approved; Hluttaw representatives were informed to register for discussion; jointcommittee members were co-opted; and one bill was recorded.

First, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker explained measures of Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw with regard to decision of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw that bills approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw or deemed to be approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, if suspected to be not in line with the constitution , are to be sent to the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union to undergo a scrutiny before sending to the President for his approval.

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker continued that the Pyithu Hluttaw proposed to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 2 November to let Pyithu Hluttaw reject the decision made at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 28 October that “bills approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw or deemed to be approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, if suspected to be not in line with the constitution, are to be sent to the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union to undergo a scrutiny before sending to the President for his approval” is neither in accordance with the constitution nor Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Rules and By-laws and asked to cancel the decision.

It is enacted in laws that bills approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw are to be sent to the President for his approval and promulgation of the laws.

That bills suspected of violation of the constitution are to be sent to the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union before sending to the President is not a case which is not allowed by law. As only the constitutional tribunal can define and make comment to the bill, it does so with genuine goodwill to ensure there is no mistake. If the constitutional tribunal remarks that a particular fact is not in conformity with the constitution, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw can reconsider the fact and make the final decision.

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker in his explanation of the legal outlook on the constitutional tribunal can scrutinize the enacted laws only said that responsibilities of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union is stated in Article 322 (a) of the constitution as interpreting the provisions under the Constitution; Articles 325 and 326 of the constitution state describe persons who have the right to summit matters directly to obtain the interpretation, resolution and opinion of the Constitutional Tribunal and they can ask the remark from the Constitutional Tribunal with regard to the proposed bill; like the president who can ask the remark of the Constitutional Tribunal concerning particular bill before he signs, the Hluttaw speaker can also do so for suspicious facts. So, the responsibility of the tribunal is not only scrutinizing the existing laws but defining the bill and making remarks upon requests.

According to Article 326 of the constitution, representatives that represent at least 10 per cent of all Pyithu Hluttaw representatives or Amyotha Hluttaw representatives can ask the Constitutional Tribunal to define a particular bill. As the main responsibility of the representatives is to legislate, they can ask the opinion of the constitutional tribunal in analyzing the bills whether or not they are in line with the constitution.

The provision concerning the Constitutional Tribunal is included under the Chapter VI Legislation of the constitution, but the constitutional tribunal is not the court.

In addition, it is only to seek the remarks of the constitutional tribunal in case the bills are suspected of violating the constitution and not to send every bill to the constitutional tribunal, thus it cannot be translated that the decision of the constitutional tribunal is a must-to-do step in legislative process, but it is just to control the reckless actions.

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