December 14, 2017
CONSTITUTION – A GUARANTEE OF DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY IN SOCIETY
It is well known from history that every nation that has gained independence seeks its own path of development and tries to develop its own standard of building a new society. In this sense, the Constitution is the supreme expression of the will of the people, which serves as a strategic program, a “roadmap” which leads to socio-political, socioeconomic, spiritual perfection and development in a nation-state.
It is not an exaggeration to say that our Constitution is an important source of harmonization and consolidation of our people's will. Generally, many constitutions are developed by prominent experts, MPs, and then adopted by parliament. While such documents are highly valued by the experts, they lack nationalism and spirit of the people. Some states even take pride in the fact that their basic laws are adopted by the people in a referendum. Of course, this is the highest level of decision making. However, this process allows to get the answer to only one of the two questions before the people: to approve or deny the text of the Constitution. The peculiarity of the Constitution of Uzbekistan is that it has been enriched with the will of our people for 2 times in the nationwide discussion. During the nationwide discussion, more than 6,000 suggestions and comments on the draft constitution were voiced. More than one thousand letters were sent to the Constitutional Commission. Those suggestions and comments relate to all articles of the draft Constitution and nearly half of the text, i.e. of the 127 articles of the draft corrections and clarifications were made to 60 of them. Four articles were removed from the original version and several new articles were included in the text.
According to the experts, who took part in this process, most of the suggestions and comments have suggested that the majority of the proposals and comments were aimed at strengthening the constitutional foundations of law and order, rights and responsibilities of the citizens, the role and place of religion in society, economic rights, including property rights, market relations and entrepreneurship, departments and divisions.
It should be noted that in the history of independent Uzbekistan there is no law, which was broadly discussed as our Constitution. Our Basic Law was discussed not only in each province and in Tashkent, in the ministries and departments, but also in each district, organization and institution. The outcomes of the nationwide discussions were submitted to the Constitutional Commission in the form of tables with recommendations.
There are some things in the life of the state and society of which there can be only one, like our homeland, flag, coat of arms, anthem, and among them is our constitution. Each of them reflects the paramount goals of our Homeland, its nature, and our people’s noble goals. In this sense, our constitution is as valuable for every citizen as our flag, coat of arms and anthem.
When we look at the goals and objectives of our Constitution, it is noted in the preamble that the Basic Law of our country was adopted in order to ensure worthy life for the citizens of the Republic, create a humane and democratic state governed by law, and ensure civil peace and national accord. In other words, the essence of our Constitution is to create worthy living conditions for the human being and to make him happy. The Constitution provides for the society and its members the goal of building a humane democratic state governed by law. It was emphasized that only in such a state can guarantee the worthy life, rights and freedoms of our people, and ensure the spiritual and moral well-being of humans.
Another proof of democracy is that our Constitution begins with the "People of Uzbekistan." Such sentences do not exist in any other law. And this is a clear sign of the people's power.
Another important feature of our constitution is its recognition of the people's sovereignty. According to Article 7 of our Basic Law, the people are the sole source of state power. In the Constitution of Uzbekistan, the words "democracy" and "democratic" are used 7 times and "people" 24 times.
Our Basic Law pays a great attention to the parliament of Uzbekistan, which represents the people’s power, and its status is of the same level of the legislatures of the most developed countries of the world. In the book by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig “The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey” (2009) published in at Cambridge University 32 subjects of assessing the parliamentary authority are developed. When in accordance with this methodology the parliamentary authorities provided in the constitutions of 190 countries of the world were analyzed by the Western scholars, the authority of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan was given the index of 0.33, which is equal to that of the parliaments of Norway, Switzerland, Hungary and Slovak Republic. This indicator exceeded the indices of authority of the parliaments of The Netherlands and Germany - 0.29, as well as, France, Italy and Greece – 0.24.
The Constitution also serves as a concrete program directed at the development society’s life. Over the last 25 years there have been carried out many strategic reforms in Uzbekistan at the core of which were such fundamental principles of our Constitutions as ensuring a decent standard of living for the citizens, building a democratic state which expresses the will of the people and serve their interests, strengthening the people's power, increasing the direct and indirect influence of citizens in the formation and functioning of the state, enhancing the role of the parliament in the formation of the domestic and foreign policy of the state, ensuring the rule of law and strengthening of the right to a fair trial when protecting the human rights and freedoms.
It is important to underline the “most exquisite gems” of our Constitution that every citizen needs to know of.
First of all, according to the preamble of our Basic Law we have set forth the task of creating a humane and democratic state governed by law. When one considers the term “humane” dictionaries provide its meaning as love, attention, care and respect for human beings. Thus, the state, its bodies, and officials must act bearing in mind the constitutional objective of humanism when interacting with citizens.
The Constitution defines that the priority objective of the state is to serve the human interests and protecting his rights. According to the basic principles of our Basic Law, human, his life, freedom, honor, dignity and other inalienable rights are the highest values. The government carries out its activities for the well-being of the people and society. Great thinker Cicero once said, “Salus populi - suprema lex”, which means “the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law”.
The state expresses the will of the people and serves its interests. State bodies and officials are accountable before the society and citizens, that is, the priority of citizens’ interests is legally secured and guaranteed. Civil servants should base their work on the idea of “I am a public servant”.
The state, its bodies, officials, public associations and citizens act in accordance with the Constitution and the laws. Laws are not adopted by one person or body, but are adopted by the representatives of the people in parliament or by referendum. It is a very logical, straightforward and just decision that everyone should act in accordance with law which prevents the possibility of altering the law suitable to the interests of only separate groups of society and state. This rule is an invaluable treasure of the world of legal statehood and is a fundamental principle of many constitutions. Ancient Roman lawyers noted, "Nulla potentia supra leges debet esse," that is, no power above the law. According to our Constitution, no law or other normative-legal act may contravene the constitutional norms and rules.
All citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan have equal rights and freedoms, and are equal before law without discrimination by sex, race, nationality, language, religion, social origin, convictions, individual and social status.
Citizens and state are bound by mutual rights and obligations. Ancient Roman lawmakers said, “Obligatio est iuris vinculum”, that is obligation is a crucial part of the law. Ensuring the rights of a citizen is the state's obligation. At the same time, it is within the competence of a state body to require a citizen to fulfill his or her obligations under the Constitution and laws.
Citizens’ rights and freedoms, established by the Constitution and laws, are inalienable. No one has the right to deprive or limit them without a court decision. Everyone is entitled to legally defend his rights and freedoms, and have the right to appeal any unlawful action of state bodies, officials and public associations. These principles also serve as the most important guarantees of human rights and freedoms, and they are the priceless pearls of world constitutions. The ancient Roman lawyers said, “Justitia nemine neganda est” that is, no one should be denied the right to a fair trial, and “Ab omni iudicio provocari licet”, which means any judgment or decision can be challenged.
Everyone has the right to freedom and inviolability of the person. Ancient Roman lawyers have said “Libertas est potestas faciendi id, quod iure licet”, that is, “Liberty consists in the power of doing that which is permitted by the law”.
No one may be arrested or taken into custody except on lawful ground. Everyone, accused to perform a crime, is considered not guilty, so long as his guilt is not established by legal order, public legal proceeding when all possibilities, to protect him, are secured. These rules also constitute the invaluable treasures of the world constitutionalism. Ancient Roman lawyers said, “Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege”, that is, one cannot be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law. “Nihil fit sine ratione sufficienti”, that is, no action should be taken without sufficient ground. There must be sufficient grounds for exercising each right.
No one may be subject to torture, violence, other cruel or humiliating human dignity treatment.
The Republic of Uzbekistan guarantees legal defense and protection to all its citizens both on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan and abroad. The state safeguards the rights and freedoms of citizens proclaimed by the Constitution and laws.
In today’s enlightened world, especially in developed democratic states, all of the abovementioned principles serve as the basis and protective shield for the citizens in their interaction with state bodies.
It is important to note that the development and adoption of the Constitution that can compete with the constitutions of the most developed countries of the world is one aspect of the matter. Another important aspect of the matter is that we need to effectively apply the adopted document to our lives and follow it. This is the most important precondition of our constitution. Sometimes we hear complaints from some citizens.
If we do not use the rights and guarantees provided in the Constitution and the laws of our country, and if we do not integrate them into our lives, then no one will do it for us. Thus, from the earliest times in the law states that “Lex vigilantibus, non dormientibus (subvenit)”, which means “the law aids the vigilant and not the sleepy. Equity aids only the vigilant, not the indolent. As a result, equity will not encourage a person who sleeps on his/her rights.”
In short, the Constitution is an important source that consolidated the will of our people into one document, which serves as the basis of our national legislation. It is also a specific strategic program, a “roadmap” of our development.