We, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar,
Fulfilling our goals to lay down the basis of democratic rule by ratifying a permanent constitution that establishes the fundamental foundations of community, and accomplishes the people's participation in decision-making and guarantees their rights and freedoms;
Recognizing the importance of our Arab and Islamic affiliation, of which we are so proud,
Noting with satisfaction the results of the Referendum on the Permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar, on 29th April 2003, and its approval by an overwhelming majority of citizens,
Taking into account Article 141 of the Permanent Constitution,
Have decreed the following Constitution which shall be published in the Official Gazette one year after it is issued, during which time constitutional institutions shall be completed, and necessary measures thereto be undertaken by Law.
The State and the Basis of its Rule
Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and the Shari'a Law shall be the principal source of its legislation. Its political system is democratic. The Arabic Language shall be its official language. The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation.
The capital of the State is Doha City; the capital may be transferred to any other location by law. The State shall exercise sovereignty on its own territory, and may neither relinquish this sovereignty nor cede any part of its territory.
The Law shall specify the flag, emblem, decorations and badges of the State, and the National Anthem.
The Law shall determine the financial and banking systems of the State and specify its official currency.
The State shall preserve its independence, sovereignty, territorial safety and integrity, security and stability, and shall defend itself against aggression.
The State shall respect international charters and conventions and shall strive to implement all international agreements, charters and conventions to which it is party.
The foreign policy of the State is based on the principles of strengthening international peace and security by means of encouraging peaceful resolution of international disputes, supporting the right of peoples to self-determination, not interfering in the domestic affairs of other states, and cooperating with all peace-loving nations.
The rule of the State is hereditary in the family of Al-Thani and in the line of the male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Jassim.
The rule shall be inherited by the son appointed as Crown Prince by the Emir. In the event that there is no such heir, the prerogatives of rule shall pass to the member of the family named by the Emir as Crown Prince, and his male descendants shall inherit such rule.
The provisions regarding the rule of the State and the accession shall be determined by legislation that shall be issued within a year from the date that this Constitution shall come into force. The present Law shall have the power of the Constitution.
The Emir shall, by an Emiri Order, appoint a Crown Prince after consultation with members of the Ruling Family and wise people (Ahal Alhal wal agd) in the State. The Crown Prince must be a Muslim born to a Qatari Muslim mother.
I, ¦, do solemnly swear by Almighty Allah to respect the Shari'a Law, the Constitution and the Laws thereof, maintain the independence of the State and safeguard its territorial integrity, defend the freedom and interests of its people, and be loyal to the State and the Emir.
The Crown Prince shall assume the powers and discharge the functions of the Emir on his behalf during the Emir's absence from the country, or in the event of temporary unavoidable circumstances.
The Emir may, by an Emiri Order, delegate to the Crown Prince the exercise of some of his powers and the discharge of such aspects of his functions as are deemed necessary. In this event, the Crown Prince shall preside over the sessions of the Council of Ministers whenever he is in attendance.
Subject to the provisions of the two preceding Articles, and when it is not possible to delegate powers to the Crown Prince, the Emir may, by an Emiri Order, designate a deputy from the Ruling Family to discharge such other of his powers and functions as the Emir so determines. Where the person who has been so designated holds a post or performs a function in any institution, the same person shall cease to discharge the duties of that post or function during his deputation for the Emir. The Deputy Emir shall, as soon as he is so designated, take before the Emir the same oath as is taken by the Crown Prince.
There shall be established by Emiri Resolution a council named the Council of the Ruling Family (CRF). The Emir shall appoint the members of the CRF from among the members of the Ruling Family.
The CRF shall appoint the successor who should fill the vacancy of the position of Emir in the event of his demise or should he become totally incapacitated and unable to discharge his duties. Following an in camera joint session, the Council of Ministers and the Shura Council shall announce the vacancy and appoint the Crown Prince the Emir of the State.
Where the Crown Prince, at the time he is named Emir of the State, is younger than 18 years of age according to the Gregorian calendar, the responsibility of government shall be conferred upon a Regency Council to be appointed by the CRF.
The Regency Council shall be composed of a chairman and not fewer than three nor more than five members. The chairman and the majority of members shall be from the Ruling Family.
The financial emoluments of the Emir, as well as funds allocated for gifts and assistance shall be determined by a resolution issued annually by the Emir.
Guiding Principles of the Society
Justice, benevolence, freedom, equality and high moral standards are core values of the Qatari society.
The State shall safeguard the foundations of the society and ensure security, stability and equal opportunities for all citizens.
The State shall strive to reinforce the spirit of national unity, solidarity, and fraternity among all citizens.
The family is the basis of society. A Qatari family is founded on religion, ethics and patriotism. The Law shall regulate as necessary to protect the family, support its structure, strengthen its ties and protect mothers, children and the elderly.
The State shall provide care for the young and protect them from corruption, exploitation, and the evils of physical, mental and spiritual neglect. The State shall also create circumstances conducive to the development of their abilities in all fields based on a sound education.
The State shall foster public health, provide the means of prevention of disease and epidemics, and promote their cure in accordance with the Law.
The State shall foster, preserve and help disseminate the sciences, arts and national cultural heritage, and shall encourage scientific research.
Education is one of the basic pillars of social progress. The State shall ensure, foster and promote education.
Ownership, capital and employment constitute the foundation of the social structure of the State; the same are individual rights with a social function and they shall be regulated by the Law.
Private property is inviolable; no citizen shall be deprived of his/her property except where deemed necessary in the public interest and in the cases prescribed by the Law and in the manner stated therein, provided that the person concerned is fairly compensated.
The State shall guarantee freedom of economic enterprise on the basis of social justice and balanced cooperation between private and public activity in order to achieve socio-economic development, increase production, ensure public welfare, raise the standard of living and provide job opportunities in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
Natural wealth and its resources are the property of the State, which shall preserve and exploit them in the best way possible in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
The employee employer relationship shall be based on the ideals of social justice and shall be regulated by the Law.
The State shall encourage investment and shall provide the necessary regulatory framework to create a stable economic environment.
The Law shall regulate State loans.
The State shall conserve the environment and the natural balance thereof in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development for all generations.
Public Rights and Duties
Citizens shall be equal in terms of public rights and duties.
All persons are equal before the Law and there shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of gender, race, language or religion.
Personal freedom shall be guaranteed and no person may be arrested, detained or searched, neither may his freedom of residence and mobility be restricted, save under the provisions of the Law. No person may be subjected to torture or any degrading treatment, and torture shall be deemed a crime punishable by Law
The sanctity of the individual's privacy shall be inviolable, and therefore interference in a person's privacy, family affairs, home or correspondence, or any other act of interference that may demean or defame a person, shall not be allowed, save as permitted by the provisions stipulated in the Law
No citizen shall be exiled from or denied re-entry to the country.
An accused person is presumed innocent until convicted before a court of law, wherein the necessary guarantees of the right of self-defence are secured.
No crime and no punishment shall apply, save as prescribed by the Law, and the criminal laws shall have no retrospective effect (Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali). Punishment is personal to the offender such that sentences are non-transferrable and inalienable.
No provisions of the criminal Code shall have retrospective effect. However, it may be stipulated otherwise by a majority of two-thirds of the Shura Council in the case of non-criminal provisions.
Qatari nationality and the rules governing it shall be prescribed by law, and the same shall have a similar power to that of the Constitution.
The State shall ensure the right of citizens to vote and to be elected in accordance with the Law.
The taxation system shall be founded on the principles of social justice and taxes may not henceforth be levied save as prescribed by law.
The right of citizens to assemble in public is guaranteed in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
The right of citizens to establish associations is guaranteed under the conditions and circumstances set out in the Law.
Individuals have the right to communicate with public authorities.
Freedom of expression of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed under the conditions and circumstances set forth in the Law.
Freedom of the press and media, shall be guaranteed in accordance with the Law.
All citizens have the right to education, and the State shall endeavour to make general education compulsory and free of charge in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations of the State.
Freedom to practice religious rites shall be guaranteed to all persons in accordance with the Law and the requirements of the maintenance of public order and morality.
The right of inheritance shall be maintained and governed by Shari'a Law.
Every person who is a legal resident of the State of Qatar shall enjoy the protection of his person and property in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
Defending the country is the duty of every citizen.
A public post is a national service. Those persons who perform public roles/duties shall at all times act in the public interest.
Public funds are inviolable and their protection shall be the duty of everyone in accordance with the Law.
Public confiscation of property is prohibited. Private property confiscation is only by the courts and in cases specified by the Law.
Respect for the Constitution, compliance with the laws issued by the Public Authorities, abiding by the requirements of public order and public decorum, and observing national traditions and deep-rooted customs are duties of all who reside in the State of Qatar or enter its territory.
The extradition of political refugees is prohibited, and the Law shall determine the conditions for the granting of political asylum..
Organization of Powers
The people are the source of power, and they shall exercise the same in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The system of government is based on the separation of powers and their collaboration in the manner specified in this Constitution.
Legislative authority shall be vested in the Shura Council as prescribed in this Constitution.
Executive authority shall be vested in the Emir, and he shall be assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified in this Constitution.
Judicial Authority shall be vested in the courts of law as prescribed in this Constitution; and judgments of the court shall be pronounced in the name of the Emir.
The Emir is the head of state. His person shall be inviolable and he must be respected by all.
The Emir is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He shall supervise the same with the assistance of the Defence Council under his direct authority. The said Council shall be constituted by an Emiri Resolution, which will also determine the functions thereof.
The Emir shall represent the State internally and externally, and in all international relations.
The Emir shall discharge the following functions:-
The Emir shall conclude treaties and agreements by decree and refer them to the Shura Council, accompanied by appropriate explanatory memos. The treaty or agreement shall have the power of law after ratification and publication in the Official Gazette. However, reconciliation treaties and those that pertain to the territory of the State, relate to the right of sovereignty or to the public or private rights of the citizen, or involve an amendment to the laws of the State, shall come into force when the same are issued as a law.
All treaty terms shall be expressed on their face and no terms shall be implied.
The Emir may issue a decree declaring martial law in the country in exceptional cases specified by the Law, and in such cases the Emir may take all urgent requisite measures to counter any threat that undermines the safety of the State, the integrity of its territories or the security of its people and interests, or that prevents the organs of the State from performing their duties. However, the decree must specify the nature of such exceptional cases where martial law can be declared and specify measures which should be taken to return to the Rule of Law. The Shura Council shall be notified of this decree within the fifteen days following its issue, and in the event that the Council is not in session for any reason whatsoever, the Council shall be notified of the decree at its first meeting. Martial law shall be declared for a limited period and the same shall not be extended unless approved by the Shura Council.
In cases of extreme urgency, or force majeure that require measures of utmost urgency by issuing special decree-laws, and in such cases when the Shura Council is not in session, the Emir may issue pertinent decrees that have the power of law. Such decree-laws shall be submitted to the Shura Council at its first meeting, and the Council may, within a maximum of forty days from the date of submission and with a two-thirds majority of its members, reject any of these decree-laws, or request amendment thereof to be effected within a specified period of time. Such decree-laws shall cease to have the power of law from the date of their rejection by the Council or when the period for effecting the amendments has expired
Defensive war shall be declared by an Emiri Decree and aggressive war is prohibited.
The Emir shall appoint the Prime Minister, accept his resignation and remove the Prime Minister from office by an Emiri Order, and the resignation of the Prime Minister or his removal from office shall include all other ministers. In the event of acceptance of resignation or removal from office, the outgoing Council shall continue to conduct urgent business on a temporary emergency basis until such time as a new Council is appointed.
The Emir shall appoint ministers by an Emiri Order on nomination by the Prime Minister, and he shall accept resignations of ministers and relieve them from office in the same way. Where the resignation of a minister has been accepted, the minister may be entrusted to continue the conduct of urgent business in his role as former minister until his successor is appointed.
The Emir shall, in a special session convened by the Shura Council prior to the discharge of his functions, take the following solemn oath: â€œI, â€¦, do solemnly swear by Almighty Allah to respect Shari'a Law, the Constitution and the Law, protect the independence of the State, safeguard its territorial integrity, and defend the freedom and interests of its people.
The Emir shall seek public opinion on important issues pertaining to the interests of the State in a referendum. The question to be decided by such a referendum shall be deemed to be accepted if approved by the majority of voters, and the result of the referendum shall be binding and effective from the date of its announcement. The results shall be published in the Official Gazette.
The Shura Council shall assume legislative authority, approve the general policy of the government and the budget, and shall exercise control over the executive authority as specified in this Constitution.
The Shura Council shall consist of forty-five members, thirty of whom shall be elected by direct, general secret ballot, and the Emir shall appoint the remaining fifteen members from amongst the ministers or any other persons.
The term of office of the appointed members of the Shura Council shall expire when these members resign their seats or are relieved of their posts.
The election system shall be determined by legislation in which the conditions and procedures of nomination and election are specified.
The electoral constituencies into which the State is divided shall be determined by a decree.
The members of the Advisory Council (Shura) must fulfill the following conditions
The term of office of the Shura Council shall be four calendar years commencing from the date of the first meeting, and the election of a new Council shall be conducted during the last ninety days of the aforementioned term. Any member whose term of office expires may be re-elected, and where the election is not held at the expiry of the Councilâ€™s term of office or is delayed for any reason whatsoever, the term of office shall continue until a new Council is elected. The legislative term shall not be extended save by necessity and by decree provided that the said extension shall not exceed the period of one legislative term.
The competent Judicial Authority to decide on the validity of members' election to the Shura Council shall be determined by the Law.
Where for any reason the seat of one of the elected members of the Shura Council falls vacant at least six months before expiry of the Council's term of office, a successor shall be elected within two months from the date of notification of such vacancy. Where, on the other hand, the seat of an appointed member falls vacant, a new member shall be appointed to fill the vacancy. In both cases, the new member shall complete the term of his predecessor.
The annual term of session of the Council shall be at least eight months, and the Council may not adjourn the session until the budget of the State is approved.
The Shura Council shall commence its annual ordinary session upon convocation by the Emir in the month of October every year.
Notwithstanding the preceding two Articles, the Emir shall summon the Council within one month of the conclusion of a general election for its first meeting following the election.
Where the convening of the Council is delayed during this term from the date prescribed by the preceding Article, the duration of the term of the Council shall be reduced by the length of time of that delay.
The Emir or his nominated representative shall open the annual term of the session of the Shura Council and give a comprehensive speech in which he addresses the affairs of the State.
In case of necessity, the Emir, by a decree or at the request of a majority of the members of the Council, shall call an extraordinary meeting of the Shura Council. In the case of an extraordinary session, the Council shall not look into any matters other than those for which it has been convened.
Summoning and adjourning ordinary and extraordinary sessions of the Council shall be by decree.
The Emir may, by a decree, postpone a meeting of the Shura Council for a period not exceeding one month, but the postponement of such meeting shall not be repeated during any one term, save with the approval of the Council and for a single period of one month, and such a period shall not be deemed part of the term of the session.
The Council shall hold its meetings at its official seat in Doha City. However, the Emir may convene the Council in any other place.
In an open session and prior to the discharge of their duties with the Shura Council, the members shall take the following solemn oath, do solemnly swear by the Almighty Allah to be loyal to the country and to the Emir, respect Shari'a Law, the Constitution and the Law, safeguard the interests of the people and perform my duties with honesty and integrity.
The Council at its first meeting shall elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker from among the members for the duration of its term of office. In the event of either position becoming vacant, the Council shall elect a replacement to serve for the remainder of the Councilâ€™s term. The election shall be by secret ballot and by absolute majority of the votes of attending members; should such majority not be obtained on the first vote, a second vote shall be held between the two members with the highest numbers of votes. Where there is a tie between the second of the two who obtained the most votes and another candidate, this third candidate shall run in the second vote and in such an eventuality the election shall be determined by relative majority. In the event that more than one candidate obtains equal votes, the choice will be made by allotment. The session shall be chaired by the most senior member until the Speaker is elected.
Within two weeks of the commencement of its annual session, the Council shall form such committees from among the members as may be necessary for the performance of its functions. Such committees may discharge their functions during the recess of the Council in preparation for submission to the Council, at the beginning of the following session, of the results of their work.
The Council shall have a bureau consisting of the Speaker, his deputy and chairs of committees and it shall have a general secretariat to assist the Council in the discharge of its functions.
Maintaining order in the Council shall be the function of the Speaker.
The Shura Council shall make regulations governing its internal order and conduct of business, the work of committees, the organization of sessions, procedural and voting rules and all functions stipulated in this Constitution. The regulations shall determine disciplinary penalties for any members violating orders, or failing to attend sessions of the Council or committees without acceptable reason; and the aforementioned regulations shall be issued by law.
Sittings of the Council shall be public, but they may also be held in camera at the request of one-third of the members of the Council or at the request of the Council of Ministers.
For the sessions of the Council to be a quorum, the majority of the members must be present and the Speaker or his Deputy must also be present. In the event that a quorum is not attained, the session shall be adjourned to the next sitting.
The resolutions of the Council shall be passed by absolute majority of the attending members save in cases that require a special majority, and in the event that the votes are equal, the Speaker shall have the casting vote.
Membership of the Council ceases by reason of:
The resignation of a member shall be made in writing to the Speaker. The Speaker shall submit the resignation to the Council to determine its acceptance or refusal. The rules pertaining to this matter shall be specified by internal regulations.
No member may be removed from the Council unless he loses its confidence and esteem, or becomes disqualified through lack of one of the conditions of membership on the basis of which he was elected, or unless he is in breach of the duties of membership. A resolution for removal from the Council shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council.
The Emir may dissolve the Council by a decree in which the reasons for the dissolution shall be stated. However, the Council shall not be dissolved twice for the same reason. Where the Council is dissolved, the election of a new Council shall take place within a period not exceeding six months from the date of dissolution. Until a new Council is elected, the Emir, with the assistance of the Council of Ministers, shall assume the power of legislation.
The general draft budget shall be submitted to the Shura Council at least two months from the start of the fiscal year, and the draft budget shall not come into force except by Council approval.
The Shura Council may, with the approval of the government, make amendments to the draft budget, and in the event that the draft budget is not passed before the start of the fiscal year, the previous budget continues to be effective until the new budget is passed.
The Law shall define the method of preparing the budget and shall specify the fiscal year.
The Shura Council shall have the right to forward proposals relative to public matters to the government. If the government is unable to comply with such aspirations, it must give its reasons to the Council. The Council may comment only once on the government's statement.
Every member of the Shura Council may address a point of clarification to the Prime Minister and to any of the ministers pertaining to matters within their jurisdiction; only the person who raised the question has the right to comment once on the response.
Every member of the Shura Council may address an interpellation to ministers on matters within their jurisdiction. An interpellation may not be made unless it is agreed on by one-third of the members of the Council. Such an interpellation may not be discussed until at least ten days from the date of submission, save in urgent circumstances and provided the minister agrees to the reduction of this period.
Every minister is responsible to the Shura Council for the performance of his ministry, and a minister may not be subjected to a vote of confidence save after an interpellation addressed to him. The vote of confidence shall be discussed if the minister so desires, or upon a request signed by fifteen members. The Council may not issue a resolution in this respect until at least ten days from the date of the submission of the request or expression of desire and a motion of no confidence in the minister shall be passed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council. The minister shall be deemed to have relinquished his office as of the date of the no-confidence resolution.
A Minister of the Council shall in no circumstances be held blamable for opinions or statements he makes in respect of matters within the jurisdiction of the Council.
Members of the Council shall not be permitted to assume roles within public office save in exceptional cases where permissible under the Constitution.
The members of the Shura Council shall aim to conduct themselves in such a way as to serve the interests of the country and shall not in any way use their official positions to further their own interests or those of their acquaintances. The Law shall determine any proscribed activities for members of the Shura Council.
The Speaker of the Council, his Deputy and the members shall be remunerated as determined by law. Such remuneration shall be due as of the date of taking the oath before the Council.
No one save a person of original Qatari nationality shall assume a ministerial post.
The formation of the Council of Ministers shall be by Emiri Order at the proposal of the Prime Minister. The Emir may entrust the Prime Minister or any other minister with responsibility for one or more ministries, and the Law shall specify the powers of ministers.
Prior to assuming office, the Prime Minister and the ministers shall take the following oath before the Emir:-
I, do solemnly swear by Almighty Allah to be loyal to the country and to the Emir , respect Shari'a Law, the Constitution and the Law, fully safeguard the interests of the people, perform my duties faithfully, conscientiously, and with honour, and fully safeguard the territorial integrity and safety of the State.
The Council of Ministers shall assist the Emir in discharging his functions and exercising his powers in accordance with this Constitution and the provisions of the Law..
As determined in this Constitution and in the provisions of the Law, the Council of Ministers, in its capacity as the highest executive organ, shall administer all the internal and external affairs falling within its jurisdiction. The Council of Ministers shall specifically perform the following functions:
The ministers shall implement general government policy, each within the limits of their own jurisdiction.
The Emir may request the Prime Minister and the ministers to submit reports on any State matter that falls within their remit.
The Prime Minister and the ministers are collectively responsible to the Emir for the implementation of general government policy, and each one of them is individually responsible to the Emir for the manner in which he carries out his duties and exercises his functions.
The Law shall determine the remuneration of the Prime Minister and the ministers, and all provisions pertaining to ministers shall apply to the Prime Minister unless otherwise stipulated.
The Prime Minister shall preside over the sessions of the Council of Ministers, organize its proceedings and supervise coordination of work among the various ministries in order to achieve unity and harmony among the governmental organs of the State. The Prime Minister shall sign, in the name and on behalf of the Council of Ministers, decisions made by the Council. He shall also submit to the Emir the decisions of the Council on matters requiring an Emiri Resolution for approval and promulgation in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The meetings of the Council of Ministers shall be quorum if a majority of its members are present, provided that the Prime Minister or his deputy is present. The discussions of the Council shall be in camera, and its decisions shall be made by a majority of the members present. In cases where votes are equal, the Prime Minister shall have the casting vote. The minority shall abide by the opinion of the majority.
The Council of Ministers shall establish its own internal regulations and it shall have a general secretariat to assist in the discharge of its functions.
On taking up their positions, ministers shall aim to serve the interests of the country and shall not in any way misuse their official positions to further their own interests or those of their acquaintances. The Law shall determine activities that are restricted for ministers and actions committed during their term of office for which they are accountable, and the said Law shall specify the manner of accountability.
The supremacy of the Law is the foundation of governance in the State. The honour of the judiciary, its integrity and the impartiality of judges safeguard the rights and liberties of the people.
The judiciary shall be independent and it shall be vested in courts of different jurisdictions. The courts shall pass their judgments according to the Law.
The independence of the Judiciary shall be safeguarded and no interference whatsoever shall be permitted with court proceedings and the course of justice..
The Law shall regulate the levels and divisions of courts and define their jurisdiction and powers. The jurisdiction of military tribunals is restricted, except when martial law is in force, to military crimes committed by staff of the armed and the security forces within the limitations specified by the Law.
Court sessions shall be public except when a court decides, in the interests of public order or morality, to hold them in camera. In all cases, judgments shall be pronounced in an open session..
Judges cannot be removed from office save in cases specified by the Law. The said Law shall also specify the rules and disciplinary procedures applicable to judges.
Access to justice shall be guaranteed to all people. The Law shall specify the procedures and manner of exercising this right.
The Public prosecutor shall conduct public prosecutions in the name of the people, supervise law enforcement, and ensure the application of criminal laws. The law shall regulate the functions of this body and shall set out details pertaining to the tenure/conditions of employment/functions/roles/responsibilities of staff in the office of the Public Prosecutor.
The judiciary shall have a Supreme Council to supervise the proper functioning of courts of law and their auxiliary organs. The Law shall determine the composition, powers and functions of the said Council.
The Law shall determine the competent body entrusted with the settlement of administrative disputes and define its structure and manner of discharging its functions.
The Law shall regulate the method of settling conflicts of jurisdiction or judgment among the judicial bodies.
The Law shall specify the competent judicial body for the settling of disputes pertaining to the constitutionality of laws and regulations and shall define its powers, appeals systems and the procedures to be followed before the said body. It shall also specify the consequences of a judgment.
The Emir shall promulgate this Constitution and it shall come into force the day immediately following the date of its publication in the Official Gazette
Laws shall be published in the official Gazette after ratification and promulgation within two weeks of their issue, and unless otherwise stated in the laws, such laws shall come into force a month after the date of their publication.
All provisions embodied in laws and regulations in force at the time this Constitution takes effect shall continue to be valid and effective unless where amended thereby. The enforcement of this Constitution shall not affect the provisions of the treaties and international agreements to which the State of Qatar is a party.
The Emir, or one-third of the members of the Shura Council, shall each have the prerogative to apply for the amendment of one or more of the Articles of this Constitution. If the majority of members of the Council accept the amendment in principle, the Council shall proceed to scrutinize it Article by Article. The amendment shall be passed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council. The said amendment shall not come into force without the approval of the Emir and its publication in the official Gazette. On the other hand, should the amendment proposal be rejected in principle or in substance, it may not be re-introduced within one year of the date of its rejection.
Provisions pertaining to the rule of the State and the rule of succession thereto may not be subject to application for amendment.
Provisions pertaining to rights and public liberties may not be subject to amendment except for the purpose of granting more rights and guarantees in the interest of the citizen.
The functions of the Emir set out in this Constitution may not be subject to an application for amendment during any period when someone is deputizing for him.
No Article of this Constitution may be proposed for amendment within a period of ten years from the date of its coming into force.
No provision of this Constitution may be suspended, except when martial law is in force and within the limits specified by the Law. However, the convening of a session of the Shura Council may not be suspended, nor may the immunity of its members be violated during this period.
The Amended Provisional Constitution issued on 19th April 1972, which is in force in the State, shall be repealed. The provisions pertaining to the current Shura Council shall remain in force until a new Council is elected.
Explanatory Memorandum to the Permanent Constitution
The basis of the Constitution:-
The Amended Provisional Constitution of 1972 specified the regime in the State of Qatar and organized its powers, laying down the fundamental basis for its policy. Since then, more than thirty years have passed, during which time the parameters and objectives of the State’s policies and the Gulf, Arab and Islamic affiliations have been determined, while its authorities and bodies have derived expertise from actual practice, both internally and externally. Qatar has always been a partner in the issues of an Arab and Islamic nations, and has never been immune from global events and developments.
In continuation of our Islamic heritage in building the society and establishing the rules of governance, and in the consecration of the Shura and popular participation in decision-making, we have moved forward. On the basis of the importance of establishing a permanent constitution for the country that takes account of the development experienced by the State in various fields in recent years, public experience was developed, and the capacity of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities of the State to perform their functions efficiently and effectively were strengthened.
His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, wishes to complete the construction of the modern State and to promote the role of the Shura and supported democracy, with the participation of citizens in decision-making and determination of the direction and policies of their homeland. He therefore issued an Emiri Decision on the formation of a committee of intellectuals, with the benefit of whose opinion and experience to develop a constitution for the country, to be the milestones on the road to these objectives. This included ways to build the regime, lay down the authorities and powers of the State, defining their relationship to each other and their relationship with citizens. Thus it explains the principles of the Islamic religion and Arab traditions, and its loyalty to the Gulf, Arab and Muslim world, characterized by persistence and stability, and fulfills the hopes and aspirations of all citizens.
The committee developed different perceptions of the provisions of the Constitution, holding free, transparent, objective and careful discussions to choose that suits the religious, historical, cultural and economic customs and traditions, as well as the authentic circumstances of Qatari society, resulting in a constitution of the State based on several founding principles.
First: Islam is the State’s religion and faith and the essential ingredient of its civilization, being the fertile and inexhaustible source, throughout the ages, of its legislation and laws.
Second: The State of Qatar is an independent Arab state. It is an integral part of the Arab nation and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the Arab Gulf States, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the United Nations.
Third: The characteristics of Qatari society that are recognized across generations and passed from one generation to another, and which have most importantly characterized the State of Qatar through the ages, stem from the regime of the family and create the stability of this nation. They have also resulted in the strong social fabric that has been a crucial factor strengthening the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. Hence, the text of the Constitution provides that the rule of the State is hereditary in the family of Al-Thani and in male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Abdul-Allah. Since the framework of the State is a cornerstone of the Qatari constitutional system, the Constitution maintains the Emir as the head of state and the father of the people of this nation, a judge between the various authorities and a source of stability and consistency; he must therefore be inviolable and respected.
Fourth: Strengthening the basic pillars and components of which Qatari society is built, such as justice, charity, freedom, equality and good morals, the Constitution gives the State responsibility for maintaining these pillars and ensuring security and stability, and equal opportunities among citizens, working to strengthen the spirit of national unity, solidarity and fraternity among them. The Constitution guarantees the protection of private property, capital and work, and makes them a key feature of the structure of social and economic development. The Constitution highlights the role of the family as the foundation of society based on religion, morality and patriotism, and determines the State's duty towards it; the Constitution takes care of the younger generation and provides for its protection against corruption, abuse and exploitation as well as from physical, mental and emotional negligence, providing suitable conditions for them to grow to their full potential guided by sound Islamic upbringing.
In defining the basic components of the State, the Constitution has been guided by Islamic heritage which has called for social integration for more than fourteen centuries and which has cared for the family and maintained its structure and existence within the framework of the Shari'a,
Fifth: Ensuring the public rights and freedoms of the citizen, including political rights to election and being elected (Article 42), as well as personal freedoms, whether those inherent in the individual or others such as freedom of the press, printing and publication (Article 48) or freedom of association (Article 45). The Constitution is also concerned to protect public funds and maintain the right of inheritance governed by Islamic Law (Article 51), and to make citizens equal in terms of their public rights and duties (Article 34). In light of the enjoyment of those rights, democratic culture and awareness are increasing in society and the citizen has accordingly become aware of his status within society. The Constitution does not restrict or compromise these rights under the pretext of organizing or modifying them. Article 146 stipulates, however, that it may not amend the provisions on rights and public freedoms save for the purpose of granting more guarantees for the benefit of the citizen. The Constitution may bind some of these rights to obligations: just as the citizen has rights, he also has duties.
Sixth: The Emiri democratic regime is an essential means of governance together with all the consequences of the people's participation in and contribution to decision-making in public life through their representatives in the Shura Council, so the Constitution states that the people are the source of the authorities, which are exercised as stipulated and set out in all the Articles of the Constitution. The Constitution also lays down the principle of having three balanced and independent authorities cooperating on an equal basis and exercising control in the best interests of the public. Whilst the Constitution has, for example, given the fundamental right to legislation to the Shura Council representing the people and the right to question ministers as indicated, the Constitution was keen to have the stability of the Executive authority as the backbone of the modern State. Therefore, the Constitution does not take account of the joint liability of the ministry before the Shura Council and restricts the individual responsibility of ministers with a number of controls so as not to prejudice the principle of ministerial responsibility as a whole, and at the same time not to provide the Shura Council with an easy weapon to undermine ministerial stability whenever it pleases.
Seventh: Interest in maintaining the stability of the judiciary, as justice is the basis of governance and does not expose the judges to the authority of anyone but the Law. The Constitution relies on the honour and impartiality of judges to ensure the people's rights and freedoms.
The Constitution has also adopted the idea of control of the constitutionality of laws and has left regulation of such control to the Law, which is the approach taken by most modern constitutions.
The idea of judicial control over the constitutionality of laws and over the legislative process so as not to contravene the provisions of the Constitution is one of the most important principles of the balance between the authorities.
In light of these principles on which the Constitution is based, and through the views and discussions conducted during the development of the Articles of the Constitution, a number of its provisions are interpreted as follows.
The interpretation of a number of the Articles of the Constitution
This Article emphasizes the Arab identity of the State of Qatar and, importantly, asserts the independence of the State of Qatar and its enjoyment of full sovereignty over its territory.
The statement that “its religion is Islam” is not just a theoretical one but has the practical and fundamental result that Islamic Shari’a Law is a major source of legislation and laws and regulations. There was a serious objective discussion at the time of drafting this paragraph of Article I, and there were two schools of thought, the first that the Shari’a is the main source of legislation, and the second that the Islamic Shari’a is a main source of legislation. But everyone agrees that it is not permissible to issue any legislation in Qatar that violates the principles of peremptory texts well established by Islamic Law. The Constitution intends by this Article to hold the Shura Council responsible for honouring the provisions of Islamic Law, so that the Article is not to be understood to be a call to abandon the provisions and principles of Islamic Shari’a.
The text of the Constitution provides that the State of Qatar is committed to international charters and conventions and strives to implement all international agreements, charters and conventions to which it is party , in compliance with the verse: “And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant will be examined”.
The text of this Article of the Constitution makes clear that the regime in the State of Qatar is hereditary with regard to the head of state, and it is hereditary in the family of Al-Thani and in a specific branch of this family which is a branch of the male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Jassim, the father of the Constitution and the founder of the modern state.
The current Emir shall have the right to designate the Crown Prince, in the sense that the Emir shall not be obliged to name the eldest son, but he may choose any of his male children and name him the Crown Prince. If the current Emir does not have a son, he shall choose the Crown Prince from the males subject to the provisions referred to in the foregoing.
The Constitution sets out in this Article the basic principles governing heredity but leaves the detailed provisions of the regime and hereditary principles to be specified in a special law, provided that such law shall be issued within a year from the date the Constitution comes into force. Such law shall have constitutional status, i.e. the law’s provisions shall be preserved as Articles of the Constitution.
This Article of the Constitution - Article 8 - is one of the Articles which may not be amended at all under the Constitution.
The normal assumption is that if the Emir is absent from the country, the Crown Prince shall act on his behalf. But it may happen that the Crown Prince is a minor or is absent from the country for any reason and cannot act on behalf of the Emir, in which case the Emir may appoint by an Emiri Order a deputy who may exercise some of his powers and functions as specified by the Emir in the said Order. The Deputy Emir, who shall be a member of the Ruling Family, may only use the specified powers and authorities. The Constitution decides that the person chosen by the Emir as his deputy may be someone who holds public office or has a job either inside or outside the State. The Constitution stipulates that in such case that person should cease to perform the duties of his work so as to devote himself to carrying out the functions and powers deputized by the Emir.
Once the Emiri Order has been issued appointing such a person as Deputy Emir with the powers and terms of reference set by the Emiri Order, he shall recite the constitutional oath in front of the Emir in the same formulation as the Crown Prince.
Life is in God's hands, continued health is not guaranteed, and the Emir is susceptible to any calamity like all people. If – God forbid – the Emir died or fell ill with an incurable disease causing total disability, the affairs of the country should not be left unattended, and we must face this fact no matter how painful it is.
The Constitution deals with this matter in two stages. The first stage is the decision of the Ruling Family Council – a council appointed by the Emir from among the members of his family – to announce the vacancy of the Emir position due to the death of its holder or his total disability without any hope of a cure. The second stage is the formal procedure of a secret joint session of the Council of Ministers and the Shura Council to announce the vacancy and call for the Crown Prince to be the Emir of the country. Thus, both executive and legislative authorities are involved in addressing the emergency vacancy of the Emir and the declaration of the Crown Prince as his successor.
This Article deals with the vacancy of the position of Emir in the event of his death or total disability at a time when the Crown Prince is not yet eighteen years of age. The Constitution entrusts to the Council of the Ruling Family the choice of a Regency Council in which the president and a majority of its members are of the Ruling Family; and this Regency Council should consist of not less than three or more than five members.
It is natural for the Regency Council, besides governing the country in accordance with the Constitution, to assist in preparing the Crown Prince to take on future responsibilities, and to prepare him for the exercise of his constitutional powers, in accordance with the special Law referred to in Article 8 of the Constitution.
The Article shows that a principle of the Constitution is to maintain children within the family, supported by religion and community; illegitimate children are not excluded from the protection provided for in this Article as they are victims of a crime that is not sanctioned by religion and morality, and furthermore, regarding them as the victims of this crime makes them in need of more care to ensure their integration into society. As for elderly people, the Constitution stresses the importance of maintaining them in their natural place in the family as religion and community acknowledge. As a verse of the Quran says: “And that you be dutiful to your parents”. The State in this context provides the necessary care as much as its capabilities allow.
The State is concerned with public health issues, and seeks, according to available means, to provide treatment and prevention of disease free of charge to all citizens, whether through health insurance or directly, and the Law regulates matters relating thereto.
As the natural resources granted by God to the State are the backbone of development and prosperity, the Constitution affirms that all of these resources are in the public ownership of the State. The State with all its organs is responsible for their preservation and proper exploitation for the present and future. Since this public ownership is considered a public asset, it enjoys the same legal protection as public money. The exploitation of those natural resources owned by the State shall be according to the Law. This does not mean the issue of a special law for each individual project with regard to the exploitation of those natural resources, but it is intended that the applicable provisions of the laws be taken into account in these projects.
Given the importance of the environment in people's lives and the natural balance of resource conservation, the Article provides for the need of the State and the community to protect the environment from anything that might damage it, to preserve the natural balance and to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development to the benefit of future generations
There are public rights and duties shared by all Qataris and non-Qataris, and here the Constitution uses the generalized and non-specific terms ‘persons’, ‘people’ etc. Citizens have equal rights and duties under Article 34, while persons, i.e. all residents in the territory of the State, are equal before the Law, without discrimination on grounds of sex, origin, language, or religion under Article 35. This Article equates all people. Therefore, the Constitution prohibits discrimination between people because of their racial origins. This was adopted by other provisions of this chapter of the Constitution which give to all people equally personal freedom and human dignity, freedom from being arrested, imprisoned, searched, or subject to other constraints except in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
The Article stipulates that freedom of association is in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Law. The text of the Article does not include the freedom to form trade unions, and the Article does not provide for the freedom of forming bodies of association such as political parties.
This Article of the Constitution shows that education is the right of every citizen and that the State should support this right and disseminates it as one of the main pillars of society's progress and advancement. The State shall, within its available resources, provide compulsory education free of charge, and the Constitution explains this in the context of organizing rights and duties.
The Constitution advocates freedom of worship provided that it should not be used to hurt the feelings of others or cause aggression against them. Thus, the Constitution provides that this freedom shall be practised in accordance with the requirements of public order and morality; this shall not be an unlimited right.
This Article establishes general provisions that should be observed even without their being written in the text. But the Constitution, in order to clarify the importance of these provisions and duties, covers them in a special constitutional text explaining how vital and important they are. The text starts by acknowledging respect for the Constitution, and this respect is a duty imposed on public authorities, all citizens and residents in Qatar, and anyone who enters its territory. The Constitution is the foundation of the State, and the result of its social and legal philosophy. Therefore, it is not possible to leave its provisions to different interpretations and variations. Respect for the Constitution and its enforcement is mandated by the Constitution itself and necessitated by the very existence of the State.
The same applies to the laws, provisions and orders which have been developed to be honoured and obeyed by people. If they do not do this voluntarily, they will be forced to do so by the power of the State. If this is the case of the Constitution and the Laws, then public order and public morals and established customs and traditions are part of the national and social fabric, and they form a system which must be taken account of and preserved by every Qatari citizen, and everyone who lives in Qatar, even those who are not its citizens. Even incidental passers are also committed to all of the above.
The life of a country does not pass without difficulty. It is not always generous, prosperous and secure. But sometimes a country may face turmoil which threatens its security and exposes it to many risks. Legal rules may not be sufficient to address these dangers and calamities. Therefore, the constitutions of different countries, no matter how democratic they are, have envisaged that these conditions and calamities sometimes require deviation from the ordinary principles of legality to a special and exceptional kind of legitimacy. Constitutions that are based on the principle that necessity knows no law may thus permit the executive power to resort to exceptional legal action to address extraordinary risk. This Article of the Constitution stipulates that in such a decided case of necessity the Emir may declare martial law in the country. Upon the declaration of martial law, in such exceptional circumstances, the Emir may take all rapid action necessary to meet the risks that threaten the safety of the State, its territorial integrity or the safety of its people, or hinder institutions of the State from the performance of their functions. These examples given by the Constitution reveal the extent of the risk and the need for exceptional procedures.
An Emiri decree that declares martial law must be temporary and limited to a specific period, must be in response to exceptional circumstances, and must include a statement of the action taken to address them. The Constitution provides that the Emir must notify the Shura Council of the decree declaring martial law within fifteen days of its issue. In addition the Constitution provides that an extension of a period of martial law shall be with the approval of the Shura Council. It is understood in the constitutional provision that the Law should specify the conditions under which martial law may apply and the powers that will be granted by these provisions to the relevant authority.
This Article identifies the powers of the Shura Council in the development of legislation, the adoption of the general budget, and the exercise of control over the executive branch, by the means prescribed by the Constitution. Control of the executive branch is the control exercised by the Council over the country's ministries and agencies and does not extend to the bodies and special services formed by the Emir to provide him with assistance, opinion and advice on the direction of the high politics of the State in certain areas under paragraph 9 of Article 67, such as the Supreme Defence Council, the National Security Council and the Supreme Council for the Investment of State Reserves, and other similar agencies and bodies.
This Article explains the formation and composition of the Shura Council, which numbers forty-five members.
The Constitution does not stipulate two chambers, one elected and one appointed, but rather the formation of one Council which includes both elected and appointed members, provided that those elected shall have a clear majority, and those appointed shall be one-third of the Council members, i.e. fifteen members. The remaining thirty members shall be elected by direct secret general ballot. There should be a law regulating general elections. A decree that defines the constituencies must also be issued. The second paragraph of the Article deals with how to end the membership of appointed members of the Shura Council, and gives two reasons for termination of membership. The first reason is resignation and the second is exemption. This means that a Shura Council appointed member may be relieved from membership at any time during the duration of the Council.
In its last paragraph this Article stipulates that the legislative term of the Shura Council may be extended only by necessity and by a decree, provided that such extension shall not exceed one legislative term. The legislative term is four calendar years, as stated in the Article, and necessity here is as determined by the Emir.
This Article deals with a situation which occurs often in parliamentary life, that is, the vacancy of a seat at the Shura Council resulting from the death, resignation or removal from office for any other reason of a member.
In this respect, the Constitution differentiates between elected and appointed members. If the vacancy announced is the seat of an elected member, the Council shall announce the vacancy of the seat and elections shall be held to choose a successor within two months of the announcement of the vacancy, provided that the vacancy occurs not less than six months before the end of the term of the Council.
If the seat of an elected member becomes vacant within less than six months of the end of the term of the Council, the Constitution stipulates that there is no need to hold an election for such a short term and that it is appropriate to wait for the general elections when the Council is to be totally renewed. If the vacant seat was that of an appointed member, the Constitution provides that since the matter does not require an election but is instead limited to a decision to appoint a successor, the Constitution is not limited by the six- month period or any other term. In either case, a new member, whether elected or appointed, shall serve for the remainder of the Council’s term.
The last paragraph of this Article provides that the first session of the Shura Council shall be presided over by the most senior member until the election of a Speaker. If the senior member of the Council is not in attendance at the first session, then the most seior member present shall preside the session.
A public session is intended to ensure the right of citizens and the media to attend and follow up; it does not include, unless approved by two-thirds of Council members, live broadcasts of meetings because the public’s best interest may conflict with said broadcast given the importance and seriousness of the issues that are discussed in the Council.
A parliamentary system is based on a balance between the legislative and executive branches. Notwithstanding that the legislative authority has the ability to hold the executive power accountable and control it as outlined by the Constitution; the executive branch represented by the Emir has the right to dissolve the Shura Council. This Article stipulates that this right gives the Emir the power to decree the dissolution of the Shura Council, and the Constitution asserts the need for the decree to include the grounds for dissolving the Council so as not to repeat the dissolution for the same reasons. The Constitution provides that in the case of dissolution of the Shura Council then elections must take place for a new Council no later than six months from the date of dissolution. The Constitution provides that for any period in which the Shura Council has been dissolved, then the Emir, assisted by the Council of Ministers, is empowered to issue laws and legislation; this is one of the cases when the function of the legislature is transferred to the executive branch.
This Article describes the normal legislative process; laws are proposed by government and by members of the Shura Council. Then the proposals go through the channels specified by the Constitution and the Regulations of the Council and when the Shura Council adopts the legislation, it is submitted to the Emir for ratification.
The principle is that the Emir ratifies legislation adopted by a Council majority, as stipulated by the Constitution. But the Emir may for certain reasons of public interest decide not to ratify legislation adopted by Shura Council. In such case, within three months of the date of submission to the Emir, the Law shall be returned to the Council accompanied by a statement of the reasons for the refusal to ratify.
But if the draft law is returned to the Shura Council within three months with the reasons for not ratifying, then the Shura Council may adopt one of two positions:
a) to accept the reasons for rejection; or
b) to adhere to its opinion, in which case a two-thirds majority of Council members must be available. In this case, the representatives of the people will have affirmed their viewpoint and the Emir shall ratify and issue the draft law to become a law. But the Emir may in dire necessity suspend the implementation of such Law for the period that he deems appropriate in the best interest of the country.
If the draft law, after being returned by his highness the Emir, does not achieve the required two-thirds majority of the Council, it may not be reconsidered during the same session. The draft law may be discussed anew by the government or the members in a subsequent session.
Each member of the Shura Council may address questions to the Prime Minister or a minister to clarify a matter related to the actions of the government or operational matters within the jurisdiction of the ministries. The question establishes a limited dialogue between the questioner and the respondent in the sense that the question does not entail a general discussion in the Council; furthermore the questioner may only comment on the answer once and other members of the Council may not participate in the discussion unless the questioner agrees to this.
These Articles start with the interpellation provided for in Article 110, and end with the vote of confidence provided for in Article 111. As the vote of confidence is not envisaged except after questioning, the process is as follows:
Interpellation implies confrontation and opposition, and may even mean an accusation. Therefore, the Constitution gives each member of the Shura Council the right to direct the questioning. But the Constitution is keen to achieve ministerial stability and limits the direction of questioning to the minister in the sense that the said member may not direct an interpellation to the Prime Minister. The Constitution’s approach in this regard is logical because interpellation may result at a later stage in a vote of confidence in those who face interpellation. Since the Constitution does not adopt the principle of joint responsibility of ministers before the Council, it is deemed appropriate that questioning is directed to ministers alone and may not be directed at the Prime Minister which may have led to a vote of confidence in him.
As the Constitution only permits the direction of interpellation to ministers, it limits this right with certain safeguards and procedures to protect against misuse.
The first of these safeguards is that interpellation may not be directed to ministers without the consent of a third of the members, i.e. at least fifteen members. This means that the interpellator shall gather the signatures of one-third of the Council agreeing to the direction of such interpellation. The Constitution recognizes that interpellation may occur in a moment of anger or temper. Thus, the Constitution deems it appropriate not to discuss the interpellation until ten days after its submission.
However, the Constitution authorizes an interpellation within a period of ten days in circumstances of urgency. It is left to the discretion of the Council to decide whether the matter is urgent or not and the Council decides by a normal majority; however, the agreement of the minister to be questioned to a shorter period is also needed. Interpellation is held in an open forum. Council Regulations state the rules to be followed when conducting the interpellation. But it is the custom in most parliaments of the world that the interpellator explains the interpellation first. Then the minister has to respond to the questions immediately or after a period to be determined by the Council.
After discussion of the interpellation there are two possibilities:
Thus it is clear that interpellation is a necessary introduction to vote of confidence in a minister. Votes of confidence may not be considered except after the submission of the interpellation and a discussion as above indicated.
Votes of confidence shall be made after discussing the interpellation in one of two ways:
As the two forms of confidence vote follow a discussion on the interpellation, the Council is required to decide whether to have confidence in the minister or not. The Council may not take a decision in this regard until ten days from the submission of an application to withdraw confidence submitted by at least fifteen members.
The Council’s decision to withdraw confidence from a minister shall be by a two-thirds majority of the members constituting the Council; the minister shall be considered removed from the ministry on the date of withdrawal of confidence as aforesaid. Thus, a minister who loses the confidence of the parliament shall be removed from his post immediately.
This Article provides that a member of the Shura Council is not blamable for his opinions or ideas expressed in the Council or its committees but in any case his opinion should not prejudice the foundations of unity of the country or due respect to the Emir.
This Article deals with procedural immunity. The Constitution stipulates that in cases of in flagrante delicto, as defined by the substantive and procedural criminal laws, members shall not have any immunity and shall be treated like any other citizen. If the act is not in flagrante delicto, the Constitution stipulates that a member of the Shura Council may be arrested, searched, detained and interrogated only after the Council has given permission for the instigation of criminal proceedings against the member. This permission shall be issued by the President of the Shura Council Parliament when the Council is not in session. However, if the Council were to delay the granting of permission for too long, evidence of the crime in question might be lost. Thus, the Constitution provides that if the Council does not issue its decision on the matter within a month of the application, this shall be deemed permission. The Public Prosecutor and the competent authorities may then instigate the proceedings required, such as arrest, search, detention, and so on.
This is the procedural immunity provided for by the Constitution in cases other than in flagrante delicto, but even in cases of in flagrante delicto, the Council has the right to know what action has been taken with respect to any of its members. Therefore the Constitution requires that in cases of in flagrante delicto, which allow all criminal proceedings to take place, the Council must be notified of the measures taken against the member who committed the offence. Should the Council not be in session, it must be notified at the first subsequent session.
To be on the safe side, it may be necessary to notify the President of the Council, or the Office of Council, of the measures taken against the member until resumption of sessions. Then all actions taken against the member shall be formally notified to the Council.
This Article concerns the Constitution which can only be amended by strict and rigid procedures. Thus it is considered static in this regard. Procedures for the amendment start at the request of the Emir, or of a third of the members of the Shura Council who may propose amendment of one or more Articles of the Constitution, other than those that are restricted permanently or temporarily, such Articles to be modified until the expiration of a given period. Should the Emir, or a third of the members of the Council, submit a motion to amend one or more Articles, the matter is presented to the Shura Council to approve or reject the principle of the amendment. This may be passed by a majority of the members of the Shura Council, (a half plus one), and if the majority of the members of the Council agree on the principle of the amendment, the Council begins to discuss the Articles to be amended, one by one. For the amendment of any Article in the Constitution, the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Council is required. For the amendment to become effective it must be accompanied by the ratification of the Emir.
Thus, the request for amendment shall be submitted by the Emir, or one-third of the members of the Council, independently, but the approval of the amendment requires the approval of both the Emir and a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council. The amendment then applies after publication in the official Gazette.
The Constitution allows, under Article 144, the modification of some of its Articles, but Article 145 imposes an enduring prohibition on the amendment of certain Articles of the Constitution, namely those related to the rule of the State and the system of hereditary succession among the male descendants of Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Jassim.
The Rule and succession shall be determined as stated in this Constitution, and may not be subject to change, and neither may the text of this Article 145 of the Constitution be subject to change.
In this Article, immutable prohibition applies to provisions pertaining to general rights and liberties because of their importance in the life of the citizen. Therefore, they may not be in any way subject to modification, unless such an amendment is designed to give more guarantees for the benefit of the citizen. Thus, the enduring prohibition in this Article prevents amendment by deletion, but it allows some modification, should this addition be in the interest of the citizen.
The Constitution of the State of Qatar is thus interpreted according to the explanatory principles and provisions of a number of the Articles mentioned above.
Allah is the arbiter of success.