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कृति ः संविधानसभाः प्रक्रिया र अनुभवहरू
स्रष्टा ः भीमार्जुन आचार्य
प्रकाशक ः राष्ट्रिय शान्ति अभियान
पृष्ठ सङ्ख्या ः १७९
मूल्य ः २०० रुपिया“
नेपालमा २००७ सालदेखि बहस र विवादको विषय बन्दै आएको संविधानसभाको चुनाव ५६ वर्षछि राष्ट्रिय सङ्कल्प भएको छ । देश आगामी जेठ महिनाभित्र संविधानसभाको चुनाव गर्ने, संविधानसभामार्फ नया“ संविधान निर्माण गर्ने र त्यसै संविधानले समावेशी राज्यसंरचना निर्माण गर्ने चरणमा छ । अन्तरमि संविधानले नेपालमा चार सय २५ सदस्यीय संविधानसभाको परकिल्पना गरसिकेको छ । यति ठूलो सभाले कसरी संविधान बनाउ“छ, यसको प्रक्रियाबारे भने शिक्षित वर्ग अझै प्रस्ट छैन । यसलाई प्रस्ट पार्ने प्रयास गरेको छ- संविधानसभा ः प्रक्रिया र अनुभवहरू पुस्तकले ।
संवैधानिक कानूनका अध्येता भीमार्जुन आचार्यको सो पुस्तकमा संविधानसभाका अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय अनुभवहरूलाई समेटिएको छ । नेपालमा के गर्दा उचित हुन्छ भन्नेबारेमा मार्गनिर्देश पनि गरएिको छ । लेखिएको छ, “संविधान निर्माण कार्यभित्र अन्तरनिहित धेरै उद्देश्यमध्ये सबै अवस्थाको साझा उद्देश्य भनेको राज्यमा नया“ थालनी गर्नु हो ।” आचार्यका अनुसार, संविधानसभालाई सहभागितामूलक संविधान निर्माण प्रक्रियाका रूपमा लिइन्छ ।
संविधान निर्माण प्रक्रियामा नागरकिलाई तीन चरणमा समावेश र सहभागी गराइन्छ । पहिलो चरणमा नागरकिहरूले संविधानसभाको गन्तव्य र आधारभूत शर्त निर्धारण गर्दछन् । संविधानसभाको गठन भएपछिको अवधि दोस्रो चरण हो, जसमा जनताले व्यक्त गरेका इच्छा र आकाङ्क्षालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै संविधानको मस् यौदा तयार गरन्िछ । संविधानको मस्यौदा तयार भइसकेपछिको अवधि तेस्रो चरण हो । यस चरणमा आमनागरकिलाई संविधानमाथि उनीहरूको स्वामित्व स्थापित गर्ने अवसर दिइन्छ ।
पुस्तकमा आमनागरकिले जनमतसङ्ग्रहका माध्यमबाट संविधान अनुमोदन गर्ने विश्वको आमप्रचलन रहेको उल्लेख छ । आमनागरकिले निर्धारण गरेका आधारभूत सिद्धान्तका आधारमा संविधान मस् यौदा भई अन्त्यमा उनीहरूकै प्रत्यक्ष जनमतबाट संविधान अनुमोदन भएपछि सहभागितामूलक संविधान निर्माण प्रक्रियाको चक्र समाप्त हुन्छ । नेपालमा जनमतसङ्ग्रह नै संविधानलाई अनुमोदन गर्ने उपयुक्त ढा“चा हुनसक्ने दाबी आचार्यको छ । उनको तर्क छ, “संविधान निर्माण भइसकेपछि त्यसको अनुमोदनका लागि जनतासमक्ष प्रस् तुत गरेपछि त्यसले आफूले स् थापना गरेका सङ्घसंस्थालाई मात्र नभएर जनतालाई समेत आफ्नो परििधभित्र बा“ध्ने काम गर्छ । यस तरकिाद्वारा जनताले संविधानमाथि प्रत्यक्ष स्वामित्व स् थापित गर्न सक्छन् र आफ्ना प्रतिनिधिलाई राष्ट्रको आकाङ् क्षाविपरीत काम गर्नबाट रोक्न सक्छन् ।”
पा“च परच्िछेदमा विभाजित पुस्तकमा संविधानसभा, संविधानसभाबाट बनाउने संविधानका ढा“चा, विदेशका अनुभवहरू र संविधानसभाका प्रक्रियाहरूका बारेमा उल्लेख गरएिको छ । नेपालका लागि आवश्यक सुझाव पनि छुट्टै परच्िछेदमा राखिएको छ । अन्तिम परच्िछेदमा राणा प्रधानमन्त्री पद्मशमशेरले २००४ जेठ ३ गते गरेको भाषणदेखि ०६३ मङ्सिर ५ गते सम्पन्न सरकार-माओवादी शान्ति सम्झौतासम्मका संविधान र संविधानसभास“ग सम्बन्धित २५ वटा महत्त्वपर्ूण्ा घोषणाका दस् तावेजहरू जस्ताको तस्तै राखिएको छ ।
पुस्तकमा रुस, भेनेजुएला, आयरल्याण्ड, भारत, कोलम्बिया, इटाली, दक्षिण अप्रिmका, र्टर्की, लिथवानिया, केन्या, रुवाण्डा, निकारागुवाका संविधान निर्माणसम्बन्धी अनुभवहरूलाई पुस्तकमा विस्तृत रूपमा उल्लेख गरएिको छ । सन् १७८९ मा र्सवप्रथम प|mान्समा संविधानसभा गठन भएदेखि सन् १९९९ मा भेनेजुएलासम्मका कैयौ“ अनुभवहरूको अध्ययनबाट निकालिएको निष्कर्षछ- संविधानसभामार्फ संविधान निर्माण गर्ने प्रयास गरेका धेरै मुलुकहरूमा संविधानसभाका प्रयास असफल भएका छन् ।
नेपालमा संविधानसभा गठन भएको दर्ुइ वर्षभत्र संविधान निर्माण गर्ने लक्ष्य अन्तरमि संविधानमा छ । तर, प|mान्स, लिथवानिया, भारत र दक्षिण अप्रिmकामा तीन वर्षलागेको अनुभव छ भने इटालीमा अढाइ वर्षा नै सम्पन्न भएको छ । पाकिस्तानमा भने संविधान बनाउन सात वर्षलागेको पनि संविधानसभा ः प्रक्रिया र अनुभवहरू मा समेटिएको छ । इटाली, नर्वे, दक्षिण अप्रिmकाका दृष्टान्तहरू नेपाली संविधानसभाका लागि अनुकरणीय हुने पुस् तकमा उल्लेख छ ।
संघीय लोकतान्त्रिक ढांचा
जुन मुलुकमा शासन प्रशासन चलाउन स्वशासित प्रान्त वा राज्यहरु मिलेर केन्द्रमा संयुक्त सरकार चलाउने नीति लिइएका हुन्छन् सो मुलुकलाई संघात्मक राज्य भनिन्छ । राष्ट्र् भित्र विभिन्न संघ वा प्रान्त वा राज्यहरु रहेका हुन्छन् तिनीहरुवाट संयुक्त रुपमा वनाएको सरकारनै संघीय सरकार हो । संघात्मक राज्यलाई स्वेच्छिक संघ पनि भनिन्छ । संघात्मक राज्यमा विभिन्न जाती तथा सांस्कृतिक समुदायहरु बीच शासनको साझेदारी र सन्तुलन हुन्छ । जुन मुलुकमा एउटै मात्र जाती हुन्छन् ,त्यस मुलुकमा एकात्मक र जुन मुलुकमा धेरै जातजाती वा सांस्कृतिक समुदाय हुन्छन् त्यस्ता मुलुकमा संघात्मक राज्य वनाउने चलन लोकतान्त्रिक दलिय राजनीतिको उत्थान सगै शुरु भएको हो । केन्दीय प्रशासन चलेका मुलुकमा स्थानीय स्वायत शासन दिइएको पनि हुन्छ । संघात्मक राज्य अनुसरण गरेका मुलुकमा अकेन्दीकरण -लयल-अभलतचबष्शिबतष्यल को नीति लिइएको हुन्छ ।
राज्य वा प्रान्तिय सरकारले सिद्धान्तत सुरक्षा , कर र राष्टि्यस्तरको योजना वाहेक अन्य अबशिष्ठ अधिकार यसैले प्रयोग गर्छ ।यस्मा शिक्षा ,रोजगार ,कलकारखाना ,इत्यादी को नीति आफै निर्धारण गर्छ । केन्दीय सरकारसंग अनुमति लिइ राख्नु पर्दैन् र्।र्सबसाधारणका काम केन्दीय पहुच भन्दा टाढा रहेर पनि पुरा हुने हुदा ढिलासुस्थि कम हुने हुन्छ । मानौं यस पस्चिमाञ्चल क्षेत्र भित्रका आर्थिक विनियोजन यसै क्षेत्रवाट गरिन्छ । काठमाण्डौ राजधानि सम्म धाउन पर्दैन् ।
संघात्मक राज्य भएका मुलुकमा भौगोलिक रुपमा छुट्टयाउने आधार पनि विभिन्न संख्यामा रहेको पाइयो । भारतमा २८ राज्य ,पाकिस्तानमा ४ राज्य अस्टे्र्लिया ६ राज्य ,,बोस्निया हजगोभिना २ राज्य , जर्मनी १६ ल्याण्ड र बुन्डेसल्याण्डर मलेशिया १३ राज्य , रुसमा सन् १९४०मा १५राज्य थिए ।त्यहां पंुजिवादको पुनःस्थापना संगै संघ राज्य विघटन भयो । स्वीजरल्याण्ड २६ क्यान्टन ३००० कम्यूनहरु ,स्वायत रुपमा क्रियाशिल रहेका छन् ।भेनेजुयला २३ राज्य एउटा केन्दमा निर्भर । क्यानडामा १० प्रान्त छन् । यहां क्यूवेकी हरुले अरु प्रान्तको भन्दा बढि अधिकार प्रयोग गर्दछन् ।स्पेनमा १७ वटा स्वायत प्रान्त हरु मध्ये सवाई र सारावाक दुइटा प्रदेशले धेरै अधिकार पाएका छन् । अमेरिकामा ५० राज्य छन् । यहां सन् १७८७ तिर संघात्मक सरकार हुंदा गरिव प्रान्तका व्यक्तिहरु आर्थिक स्थिति सुधार्न धनि प्रान्तमा बर्साई र्सदथे । हाल त्यस्ता प्रान्तलाई-राज्यलाई) सहयोग गर्ने नीति केन्द्रीय सरकारको भएकोले उक्त समस्या छैन् ।शुरुमा फिलाडेल्पिmयामा भेला भई १३ राज्यले सन्धि मार्फ एकताबद्ध भएका हुन् । यी मुलुकका राज्यहरु एक हुदा आर्थिक सुधार र आन्तरिक वजारको बढोत्तरी ,विनियम आदि हिसावले राम्रो हुने ठानी संघवाद तर्फअघि बढेको देखिन्छ । युरोपियन युनियन यस्को उदाहरण हो ।
चीन, बेलायत, नेपालजस्ता मुलुकहरुमा बहुजातिय, वहुसांस्कृतिक विशेषता भएका भएपनि एकात्मक राज्य शासन चलाएका छन् । जस्तै वेलायतमा वेल्स ,स्कटल्याण्ड र्,नर्डन , आयरल्याण्ड , आदि प्रान्तहरु जातिय आधारमा छन् । चीनमा आधा भाग फैलिएर वसेका कुआन्सी ,चुआङ ,तिब्बत , निङ्गासिया , हुइ समेत ५ वटा स्वायत प्रदेश ,३१ वटा स्वायत प्रिफेक्चर २० वटा स्वायत काउन्टीहरु अरु सियाङहरु छुट्टयाइएका छन् । नेपालमा हालसम्म ५ क्षेत्र ,१४ अञ्चल ,७५ जिल्ला रहेका छन् । नेपालमा विकेन्द्रित शासन व्यवस्था सहित स्थानीय स्वायत शासन चलि आएको हो । संघात्मक सरकार वा राज्य कसरी चल्दछन्- संघात्मक राज्य भएका मुलुकहरु संविधानको मार्ग निर्देशन अनुसार चल्दछ । संविधानमा संघिय सरकार र राज्य सरकारका अधिकार र काम र्,कर्तव्य एवं दायित्वहरुको निर्धारण गरिएको हुन्छ ।
संघमा सामेल राज्यले स्वइच्छाले छुट्टनि पनि पाउने ब्यवस्था संविधानमानै गरेका पनि हुन सक्छन् । तर भारत र पाकिस्तानका प्रान्तहरु -संघात्मक स्वरुप ) छट्टनि पाउदैनन् । यी मुलुकका प्रान्तिय सरकार केन्द्रीय सरकारका प्रतिनिधि राज्यपालको शिफरिसमा भङ्ग हुन्छन् । यहां संघिय सरकारका प्रमुख लोकसभाले मात्र चुनिने ब्यवस्थाले गर्दा र संविधानमा किटान नगरिएका स्रोतहरु माथि केन्द्रीय सरकारको अधिकार स्थापित हुन्छ ।यहां संघात्मक हो वा एकात्मक राज्य द्धविदा देखिन्छ ।
अब नेपाललाई संघिय राज्य वनाउन पर्ने भयो त – मुलुकमा संघात्मक सरकारको अबधारण अगाडि आउनु पर्छ । मुलुकको शासन चलाउन मुलुकको पुनरसंरचना हुनु पर्दछ । मुलुक संघात्मक हुनु पर्छ भन्ने निर्ण्रराजनितिक पार्टिले गरिसकेका छन् ।नेपाली जनताको शान्तिको चाहानालाई दिगो शान्तिमा वदल्न सम्पुर्ण राजनितिक पार्टिले जातजाति ,दलित ,महिला ,मधेश , पहाडलाई सुविधा हुने गरि संघ वा प्रान्तिय सरकारसहित राष्ट्र निर्माण गर्नु परेको छ ।संविधान सभा हुनु नै जनताको पहिलो जित हो ।लोकतान्त्रिक अधिकार सहितको आगामी जेठमा हुने निर्वाचनमा मुलुकभर समानुपातिक प्रतिनिधित्व ,भौगोलिक क्षेत्रको आधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व र जनसंख्याको आधारमा प्रतिनिधित्व हुने जस्ता प्रक्रिया मध्ये कुन रोज्ने,जनतालाई सिरोपर गरी संविधान सभामा जानु पर्दछ ।ती वर्ग र क्षेत्रले आत्म निर्ण्रगर्न पाउनु पर्छ । अहिलेको जनता शासक वर्गको रिजरभेशन प्रति सन्तुष्ट हुन सक्दैन । संम्वन्धित वर्ग र क्षेत्रका जनताको न्यायको माग शान्तिपर्ुण्ा र राष्ट्रिय अखण्डतालाई ख्याल गर्न पर्दछ ।अन्तरिम संविधानमा पुरा नभएका मागलाई संविधान सभा पछि ती सभासदहरुले पुरा गर्नेछन् । संविधानमा आवश्यक संशोधन प्रक्रिया चल्नेनै छ ।
नेपाली जनताले लोकतान्त्रिक शासन चाहेका छन् । जनता भन्दा कोही पनि असमान व्यक्ति हुन सक्दैन् । त्यसैले अब संविधान सभा मार्फ देशलाई २१ औं शताब्दीमा प्रवेश गराउन लागेको छ । हामिले कामना गरौं सबै नेपालीले शासन प्रशासनमा सबैको सहभागिता अनुभव गरुन् । न्यायपर्ुण्ा समतामुलक समाजको निर्माण गर्न सकौं , आजको आवस्यकता यही हो ।
Toward a federal structure
By Dr Khagendra N Sharma
The country is finally moving towards the Constituent Assembly (CA). The CA will be faced with the task of a full restructuring of the state. Nepal has remained a unitary state since its creation almost two and a half centuries ago, but one of the key demands of the present political revolution for restructuring will be to transform it into a federal state of some sort. There have been several claims as basis for the change to a federal structure. But all the claims cannot be accommodated in a single structure. Some claims may even be mutually contradictory. Some claims may lead to the disintegration of the state itself. So, caution has to be a necessary component of change. Nepal does not have to have a unitary structure to be a nation state, but a strong national existence is necessary to have a federal structure. So, keeping a strong and united Nepal should be the foremost principle behind creating the federal structure.
Federations are generally created in two different ways. One way of creating a federal state is by breaking a single, unitary state into several autonomous units differently called as provinces, territories, states or they may be known by other appropriate names. When the British rulers left India, it was not a federation. The independent government used force to bring hundreds of autonomous princely states to make a greater India together with what was called the British India. They created a federation through the drafting of a new constitution. The federation was centrally created and the process of redefining the boundary of the federating states is still continuing.The other way of creating a federation is the amalgamation of independent or autonomous states or territories that come together out of their own volition. A federal state requires a written constitution which divides power among the central government and the state or the autonomous units of federation and guarantees the continuation of the union as an essential condition of nationhood.The United States was made in the second way and in the course of its history, president Abraham Lincoln had to fight against a civil war to protect the supremacy of the union over the states that were trying to secede from the union. But, there has never again been an attempt for secession.In the case of Nepal, however, new units will have to be created as parts of the national state. There were cries of discontent from several sections of people against the central excesses in several respects, but it was the Maoists who had given the first call for the creation of a federal structure. Thereafter, there have been several demands for converting Nepal into a federal state.The main grounds on which the demands vary can be grouped under these heads: geographical; ethnic; linguistic. Each of these criteria is a complex issue and all of them will have to be amicably resolved while drafting the new constitution. So, the CA will be faced with a tremendous exercise to arrive at a national consensus on these issues before drafting the new constitution. Although a comprehensive discussion is not possible in a single article, some aspects of the main criteria are briefly touched hereunder.Geographical aspectsAlthough Nepal is smaller than most of the large Indian states, there are as many geographical variations as there are in India. Most of the high snowy mountains falling in the northern part of Nepal is mostly inaccessible. There is no population or very thin population in most of them. But the terai plains in the south are among the most accessible areas of the world and this region is getting very highly populated. The areas between these two regions have several varieties and attracted the farming communities from times immemorial. These areas used to be inhabited by about half of the national population but the trend in recent years has marked a slow thinning, giving way to the increase in the terai population.
The geographical variation creates different scales of aspirations, attitudes, behaviors, roles, identities and demands among the people living in the different regions. They have very different kinds of problems, resources and potentials. So, small regions of identical aspirations and identities can be formed to address those problems and make maximum use of the human and material resources on a homogenous basis. This is a fundamental basis of forming smaller, autonomous entities that can govern themselves. The local communities will not only develop their respective capabilities, but also share the national problems of governance. These socio-geographical entities can be federated to unite the local strength to form a strong national federation. If these local interests and problems are not addressed, they will create social tension leading to the dissolution of the bonds which unite the nation.
There are geographical demands for the creation of a federal structure which are being very loudly articulated among the local communities. This has been very strongly voiced by the people of the terai. But there are other geographical demands as well, some mixed with ethnicity and some with the linguistic factor. The recent movement in the terai is triggered by the regional emotions of neglect and discrimination.
Ethnicity is a very crucial factor in forming political identities. There are almost a hundred ethnic groups in Nepal. In the recent past, the ethnic identities are making strong inroads into the socio-political structure. The prevalence of a steep vertical caste system had given rise to the accumulation of socio-political power in the hands of the high caste Brahmins and Chhetries, which was not reversed even in the adoption of a multi-party system of democracy.
Despite the use of the tools of democratic election, the other ethnic groups were not able to come up in the political ladder in proportion to their population size in society. The higher caste failed to accommodate the rising trend of political aspirations and continued to monopolize political power.
The growing awareness of this unjust distribution of power was articulated by the elite among the ethnic groups to stand united and make assertive demands for a fairer share. This assertiveness has been the foundation of the demand for the formation of the federal structure on ethnic considerations.
Language is a strong bond of social identity. To a great extent, ethnicity and language go together to form the identity, but they are not necessarily the same in each case. Most communities are identified by their mother tongue and live historically together or in close areas. Nepali has been the official language in Nepal, and it has been given the status of a national language. But many local language groups have now been resenting the fact that the imposition of Nepali as the national language has retarded the growth of their languages and has forced many a non Nepali speaking group to accept Nepali against their wish. Many languages are spoken on a regional basis. The followers of these languages have claimed that those regions be the basis of the creation of the units of state to form the new federal structure.
The ethnic and linguistic identities are almost parallel except that the followers of one language have not been confined within the region claimed to be the linguistic area to be recognized as the linguistic state. As an example, Newari used to be the main language in the Kathmandu valley. But Newars living outside the valley almost outnumber those living within it. Similarly, the present population of the valley includes as great or even greater proportion of non Newari speaking people than the Newari speaking ones. So, language cannot be the basis of regional identification. In the same way, some languages have no specific location. Nepali has no specific location.
Similarly, Hindi has no specific location. Many local variants of Hindi are found in the different locations of the terai region, although Hindi is claimed to be the main terai language. Other language speaking communities also have their different pockets inside the terai region. So, language is a weak basis of political unit of a federal structure.
ARTICLE 2: CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ELECTION IN INDIA
The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and served as its first Parliament as an independent nation.
The Constituent Assembly of India was set up as a result of negotiations between the Indian leaders and members of the British Cabinet Mission. The constituent assembly was elected indirectly by the members of the Provincial legislative assembly.
It first met on December 9, 1946 in Delhi, while India was still under British rule. It originally included the provinces that now compose Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the representation of the princely states of India. In June 1947, the delegations from the provinces of Sindh, East Bengal, Baluchistan, West Punjab and the North West Frontier Province formed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in Karachi.
The final Constituent Assembly had two hundred and seven representatives, including fifteen women. Only 28 members of the Muslim League finally joined the Indian Assembly. Later, 93 members were nominated from the princely states. The Congress thus secured a majority of 82%.
On August 15, 1947, India became an independent nation, and the Constituent Assembly became India’s Parliament.
Dr. Sachidanand Sinha was the first president of the Constituent Assembly when it met on December 9, 1946.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad then became the President of the Constituent Assembly, and would later become the first President of India. The Vice-Pesident of the Constituent Assembly was Professor Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, who was appointed Governor of West Bengal after India became a republic.
The Assembly, much like the modern Parliament system, was divided into committees and sub-committees to deal with specific branches of government. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar served as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, responsible for writing the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly represented a wide spectrum of Indian society. The Congress made a special effort to nominate women and other minorities. Despite, its wide diversity, historians indicate that the proceedings were controlled by a handful of prominent leaders, namely, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana Azad.
Constitution and Elections:The Assembly approved the Constitution on January 26, 1949, making it official. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution took effect — a day now commemorated as Republic Day in India.
At this point, the Constituent Assembly became the Provisional Parliament of India, until the first elections under the new Constitution took place in 1952.
Committees under the Constituent Assembly:
Name of the Committee – Chairman
Committee on the Rules of procedure – Rajendra Prasad
Steering Committee – Rajendra Prasad
Finance and Staff Committee – Rajendra Prasad
Credential Committee – Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer
House Committee – B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Order of Business Committee – K.M. Munshi
Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag – Rajendra Prasad etc.
ARTICLE 1: EVOLUTION OF ISAREAL AND CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ELECTION THERE.A Guide to Legal Research in Israel– By Michal TamirCOUNTRY INFORMATION:
Established on May 14, 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, the State of Israel brought to an end 2,000 years of exile. It was the fulfillment of Zionism – a movement based on the idea of a national state in Eretz-Israel (Palestine). Israel spans 470 kilometers in length and is 135 kilometers at its widest point. Located in the Middle East, Israel is bordered by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It lies at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.
Of the 7 million inhabitants of Israel, most are Jewish with a large Arab minority, Christian and Moslem. The Druze constitutes another, smaller minority. The Jewish population itself is multi-cultural, consisting of immigrants from many parts of the world. One can also distinguish, among the Jews, between secular and various types of religious groups. The official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, with English and other languages functioning in various areas.
Israel’s capital is Jerusalem – a holy city for the three monotheistic religions. The two other main cities are Tel-Aviv and Haifa. Most of the inhabitants live in the cities, but there are also unique cooperative and communal settlements, like the kibbutz and the moshav, as well as villages and rural settlements.
Israel is a parliamentary democracy with legislative, executive and judicial branches. As a welfare state, Israel’s social service system is based on legislation that provides for workers’ protection and other national services. Although influenced by both common law and civil law, the Israeli legal system has its own special characteristics.
There is no separation between state and religion since being Jewish describes both a citizen’s religion and nationality. Nevertheless, the state and its legal system are based on secular foundations. HISTORY:
Three layers of law, reflecting the historical background of Israel, can be identified in various degrees in contemporary law: Ottoman, British Mandatory and Israeli.
Between the years 1517–1917 Palestine was ruled by the Turks as part of the Ottoman Empire. The local law was dominated by codes. The Mejelle, an Ottoman codification of civil law, held a major role. Drafted by Moslem scholars, it was influenced by Napoleon’s Code Civil and published in 1867-1877 by the Ottoman Sultan.
It consisted of legal provisions for obligations, torts, property, commerce, corporation and procedure, and was liberally illustrated by examples. The Mejelle was rescinded in 1984 by a special Israeli law. The Mandate and the subsequent Israeli legislature rescinded most of the Ottoman laws, leaving only a few remainders that still exist today. For example, articles 80-82 of the Ottoman Civil Procedure Law (1879) are a part of Israel’s evidence law.
FORMATION OF ISARAEL:
On November 29, 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel. The birth of the Israeli legal system was on May 14, 1948 when the British relinquished the Mandate over Palestine and the People’s Council (a body representing the Jewish community) proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. The proclamation, known as the Proclamation of Independence, ensured the governing continuum by stating that until the election of the permanent authorities, the People’s Council would act as Provisional Council of State, and the People’s Executive (the executive organ) would constitute the Provisional Government.
The legal continuum was achieved by the first enacted law – the Law of Administrative Ordinance (1948), which provided that the existing law would remain in force subject to the laws which would be enacted and to such modifications as might result from the establishment of the state and its authorities. The Constituent Assembly was elected upon an ordinance that was passed by the Provisional Council.
Its first law to be enacted was the Transition Law (1949), which laid the foundations for the permanent government. This law declared that the Israeli parliament would be named “Knesset” and that the Constituent Assembly would be named “The First Knesset”. The first Knesset enacted one of the most important laws of Israel – the Law of Return (1950), which expresses the historical connection between the Jews and the land, guaranteeing all Jews the automatic right to immigrate to Israel and become citizens.
Hostile relations between Israel and the surrounding Arabs states, military confrontations that took place from the very inception of the state and prevailing security problems have always had a fundamental impact on various aspects of the Israeli psyche.
Thus, in 1948 the Provisional Council exercised the right given by the Administrative Ordinance and immediately declared a state of emergency in Israel, a declaration that still holds and which is periodically prolonged by the Knesset.
The Israeli Supreme Court has been exercising review over the military commanders, stating that they are obligated to operate according to the provisions of Israeli administrative law such as the rules of natural justice. On the basis of the Camp David Accords (1978) and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty (1979), Sinai (which was captured by Israel) was returned to Egypt.
In 1994, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan redefined the permanent boundary between the countries. As part of the peace process with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and according to the Oslo accords signed in 1993 and 1995, the Palestinian Authority gained various degrees of control over some of the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Legal System:
Although the new state, founded in 1948, left part of the existing legal system untouched, it soon began to reconstruct it by making some reforms. This process has not been completed yet, but an impressive legal system has been developed over the 58 years of Israel’s existence.
The footprints of various legal systems can be found in the Israeli system: the codification of private law often relies on European civil law; almost all public law is judicial as in the common law tradition; and the emerging constitution is influenced by American conceptions.
The country has no written constitution in the sense of a single document superior to all other norms.
The Proclamation of Independence established Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, which grants “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”, and “freedom of religion, language, education and culture”.
Nevertheless, bearing no status of a formal constitution, this Proclamation could only inspire the Supreme Court in developing the law, but statutes could not be declared invalid due to incompatibility with the Proclamation.
The Proclamation of Independence also stated that the elected Constituent Assembly should adopt a constitution not later than October 1, 1948.
Indeed, with the foundation of the State of Israel, it was assumed, as stated in the Proclamation of Independence, that the legal source of the rule of law and the state’s commitment to basic rights and freedoms would take the form of a written constitution, as the authority to enact a constitution was given to the first Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), in its capacity as “Constituent Assembly”.
However, because of the debate between supporters and opponents of a formal constitution, a decision was made in 1950 to postpone the adoption of a constitution as one document and instead to prepare a series of individual chapters each in a form of a “Basic Law”.
Thus, to this day there is not a single-document written constitution. To date, eleven Basic Laws dealing mainly with institutional aspects of state and human rights have been enacted. The existing Basic Laws are:
· President of the State· The Knesset (The Parliament)· The Government· The Judicature· The Army· Jerusalem· Israel Lands· The State Comptroller· The State Economy· Human Dignity and Liberty· Freedom of Occupation
Some of the Basic Laws include “formal entrenched clauses” that require a special Knesset majority to be modified. In 1992, the Knesset passed two Basic Laws regarding human rights that constitute a partial Bill of Rights. This development was crowned as “the constitutional revolution.” Given the central role basic rights have always played in judicial decisions in Israel, the revolution was not in the sense of defining protected rights, but in providing substantive restrictions over legislation that would be inconsistent with those rights and, as a by product, supporting the Supreme Court’s willingness to review such legislation.
Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation include a “substantive limitation clause” declaring that infringement of the protected rights can only be done by a statute, or by virtue of a statue, that befits the values of the state of Israel, for a worthy goal and to an extent not exceeding what is necessary (a demand of proportionality).
According to Supreme Court’s ruling, at least the entrenched basic laws (those which contain formal or substantive limitations) have constitutional status, meaning that they enjoy normative preference over other legislation. Thus, a statue can be declared invalid because of its infringement on a basic law’s provision.
The principle of Israel being a “Jewish and democratic State” originated in the Proclamation of Independence and has been incorporated in the two basic laws regarding human rights, whose stated purpose is “to entrench in a basic law the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic State”.
The important implications of this declaration, as well as its vagueness, have led to a wide debate about the interpretation and compatibility of the terms “Jewish state” and “democratic state”. Another question is whether the concepts of freedom of speech and the right to equality, which were developed by the Supreme Court through case law, are implied in the phrase “human dignity”. It is widely agreed that although not mentioned explicitly, these rights are protected by Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
The main source of law is legislation. Three groups of legislation can be identified: primary legislation, secondary legislation and emergency legislation. Primary legislation refers to enactments of the Knesset, which are called “statutes” (enactments inherited from the British Mandatory period are called “ordinances”). The primary legislation covers most of the legal issues. Nevertheless, it usually leaves ample room for details to be stipulated in secondary legislation, enacted by administrative authorities empowered by the Knesset.
Secondary legislation enactments are called “regulations”, “orders” or “by-laws”, all of which can be declared invalid due to want of power or on other grounds of judicial review.
The state of emergency empowers the government to adopt by regulations any measures it deems appropriate for the defense of the state, public security and the maintenance of supplies and essential services. Emergency regulations may alter, suspend or modify laws of the Knesset for a limited period. These regulations provide the executive with wide ranging powers, yet the executive uses this power sparingly.
The historical connection with English law associates the Israeli legal system with the common law. Indeed, another formal and highly important source of law is the precedent. According to Basic Law, The Judicature, a court is bound by a higher court’s decision, whereas the Supreme Court is not bound by its own decisions.
Not only is legislation mediated through judicial interpretation as in the common law tradition (and not by doctrine as in civil law), but some areas of the law are almost totally judge-made. Thus, the decisions of the Supreme Court in its capacity as an administrative tribunal are the main source of Israeli administrative law. For example, the two rules of natural justice that bind all the administrative authorities (the rule against bias and the right to a hearing) have been developed through case law.
Moreover, the absence of a formal written constitution influenced the development of administrative and constitutional law dramatically.
In Israel , administrative law is, in a sense, more than just administrative law. It accounts for many of the norms and values which make Israel a free society governed by the rule of law. In many countries this may be attributed to constitutional law. In Israel, however, in the absence of a written constitution, basic principles such as the rule of law, equality before the law, and fair government originated in administrative law, mainly through judicial review of administrative action.
In other words, constitutional law was developed through principles of administrative law. The main principle governing administrative power is that of administrative legality, which prescribes that an administrative authority possesses only such power as has been vested in it by statute. This principle serves also to safeguard human rights, as the administrative authorities are not allowed to infringe upon freedoms if there is no statute curtailing those freedoms. Although the primary legislation (before the enactment of the basic laws concerning human rights) could contain limitations on human rights, the Supreme Court employed the tool of creative statutory interpretation using the presumption that the Knesset intended to uphold such rights. Thus, the Supreme Court developed extensive case law dealing with tests of balancing basic rights with other rights and interests.
The Political System:The Israeli political system was described by Professor Eli Salzberger as an “intriguing combination of a Westminster and a Continental-European type of parliamentary democracy, with an increasingly effective American flavoring.”The President:
The head of the state is the president, elected by the Knesset in a secret ballot for a seven-year term.
Basic Law: President of the State defines the functions of the president, which are primarily ceremonial and formal, such as signing new laws and accrediting Israeli diplomatic representatives.
In addition, the president exercises the discretional power to pardon prisoners or to commute their sentences. After elections, the President holds consultations with all the parties elected to the Knesset (Parliament), after which he formally designates one Member of Knesset (usually the leader of the largest party) to form a government. Changes in the law since 1996 made it possible for the Prime Minister to dissolve the Knesset; however, to do it he must first obtain the consent of the President.
The Knesset (The Parliament):
The House of Representatives (The Knesset) is a single-chamber legislature consisting of 120 members, elected every four years. According to Basic Law: The Knesset, the elections are general, direct, equal, secret, and proportional countrywide.
The “proportional” system of elections means that any list getting more than 2% of the votes makes it to the Knesset.
The Knesset is a unique parliament because it not only enacts general legislation, but it also serves as a Constituent Assembly, the capacity in which constitutional laws are enacted. Another task is supervision of the Government, which serves by confidence of the Knesset. The Knesset fulfills its functions by plenary, in which all its members sit, and by standing committees. The committees’ duties include inter alia the preparations of bills, which have to undergo three readings in the plenary in order to pass and become laws of the land.
The Government, which heads the executive branch, is the main policy-making body, composed of cabinet ministers and headed by a prime minister. Most of the ministers are responsible for one or more departments of the administration, but ministers can also serve without portfolio. All the ministers are collectively responsible to the Knesset, for the decisions and actions of the government as a whole and for those of each individual minister. The government, like all other authorities, must base its acts on law according to the principle of legality. Beyond the powers specified in various statutes, Basic Law: The Government states that subject to any law, the government is competent to perform any act that is not enjoined by law upon another authority. The extensive functions of the executive branch have tended to result in a growing bureaucracy.
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