Lecturer challenges Indonesian Constitutional Court law


  • Indonesia
  • Thursday, 15 Oct 2020

The Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta. - JP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): A university lecturer has challenged the revised Constitutional Court Law that increases the maximum term and minimum age for the court’s justices, arguing that the provisions as well as the deliberation process of the law violate the 1945 Constitution.

The plaintiff, Allan Fatchan Gani, a lecturer at Indonesia Islamic University's (UII) Law School, filed the judicial review petition at the court on Tuesday (Oct 13), challenging both the legislation process and the revised content of the law.

In his petition, Allan argued that the deliberation for the revision violated lawmaking procedures stipulated in Article 22A of the1945 Constitution because of a lack of transparency and little public participation.

"The academic script of the revision lacks fundamental reasons. That is apparent from the errors in the research methodology, which is not supported by accurate data, ” the plaintiff wrote in the petition.

He further challenged Article 15 of the revised law that increases the minimum age for justices to 55 years, arguing that the court's own ruling made under Constitutional Court No. 7/2013 stipulated a minimum age of 47 years for justices in the nine-head panel.

This provision is also deemed to close the opportunity for those who are not yet 55 years old to become judges.

Allan demanded that the court repeal the provisions that increase the judicial term to 15 years and allow justices to serve in office until the age of 70, noting that a longer judicial term opened the potential of abuse of power.

Based on the previous version of the law, justices could only serve for five years, after which they could be reelected for a second five-year term.

"The removal of this provision has eliminated the monitoring and evaluation function for the justices, because we no longer have fit and proper test procedures when they are to be reelected for a second term," the plaintiff said.

The House of Representatives passed the revision to the 2003 Constitutional Court law on Sept 1, following only eight days of deliberation that started on Aug 24, making the revision one of the fastest ever in the House's history.

Legal experts have criticized the revision, particularly questioning the absence of urgency for amending the law as well as the lack of transparency and public involvement in the process.

Some civil rights groups have also raised fears that the revision would undermine the court's impartiality and that it was a "political swap" to influence the court's future decisions on petitions challenging numerous controversial bills and laws, including the contentious Job Creation Law.

The Constitutional Court in 2017 rejected a petition for judicial review of the Constitutional Court Law to challenge a plan to introduce a lifetime tenure for the court's justices, citing the lack of a legal basis. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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