Parliament passed on April 19 with its second and third readings a bill shortening deadline for the Constitutional Court to deliver a verdict into those applications, which cause suspension of validity of a disputed legislative act pending court’s final decision.
Some lawmakers from the Georgian Dream indicated that one of the reasons behind the proposal was to prevent possible dragging out of enforcement of reform of High Council of Justice.
The proposal to cut deadlines for consideration of lawsuits by the Constitutional Court was initiated by MP Vakhtang Khmaladze, who chairs the parliamentary committee for legal affairs; seeking speedy passage of the bill, GD has granted the proposal special status allowing the bill to be confirmed through faster procedures.
The bill was passed with its first reading on April 17; it was opposed by the UNM lawmakers, who were absent during the discussion of the bill on April 19 because of their participation on the outdoor rally in Tbilisi center.
According to the existing rules, consideration of a lawsuit by the Constitutional Court may take maximum 11 months and according to current regulations, enforcement of a disputed legislative act may also be suspended for that period before the court delivers its final verdict. But there are also exemptions; for example if an issue related to presidential election is taken to the Constitutional Court, the latter has maximum 12 days to take decision.
According to the GD-proposed legislative amendment, if the Constitutional Court decides as an interim measure to suspend enforcement of a disputed legislative act, the court will have 30 days for consideration and delivering its final verdict; in “special cases” Constitutional Court chairman will have the right to extend the deadline for 15 more days, so maximum timeframe for consideration of such applications will be 45 days if the proposed bill goes into force.
A group of six non-governmental organizations said in a joint statement on April 19 that although shortening of deadlines was not unacceptable in itself, setting of 30-day timeframe was overly short period for proper consideration. The statement was joined by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Transparency International Georgia; International Society for Fair Elections; Article 42 of Constitution; Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center; Georgian Democracy Initiative.