Constitution of Oman
- Adopted by: Royal Decree No. 101/96, issued on 6 Nov 1996 by Qaboos Bin Said, Sultan of Oman
Official Title: "The White Book. The Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman"
On the Issue of the Basic Law of the State
We, Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman, In confirmation of the principles which have guided State policy in various fields during the past period, and in asserting our determination to continue efforts to create a better future characterised by further achievements which will bring benefits to the Country and its Citizens.
And in our determination to strengthen Oman's international position and its role in establishing the foundations of peace, security, justice and co-operation between different States and Peoples.
And in accordance with the exigencies of the public interest, have decreed the following:
The issue of the Basic Law of the State in accordance with the attached form of words.
This Decree shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into force with effect from its date of issue.
Part One The State and the System of Government
Article 1 [w:Sovereignty|Sovereignty]
The Sultanate of Oman is an independent, Arab, Islamic, fully sovereign state with Muscat as its capital.
Article 2 [Religion]
The religion of the State is Islam and the Islamic Shariah is the basis of legislation.
Article 3 [Language]
Arabic is the official language of the State.
Article 4 [Symbols]
The law shall determine the State's Flag, its Emblem, its decorations and medals and its National Anthem.
Article 5 [w:Form of Government|Form of Government]
The system of government is an hereditary Sultanate in which succession passes to a male descendant of Sayyid Turki bin Said bin Sultan. It is a condition that the male who is chosen to rule should be an adult Muslim of sound mind and a legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents.
Article 6 [Succession]
(1) Within three days of the position of Sultan becoming vacant, the Ruling Family Council shall determine upon who will succeed to the Throne.
(2) If the Ruling Family Council does not agree upon a successor, the Defence Council shall confirm the appointment of the person designated by the Sultan in his letter to the Family Council.
(replaced on October 20, 2011 with a new article by Royal Decree No. 99/2011):
The Ruling Family Council shall within three days of the throne falling vacant determine the successor to the throne. If the Ruling Family Council does not agree on the choice of the successor to the throne, the Defence Council together with chairmen of State Council, Shura Council, Supreme Court and two of its oldest deputies, shall confirm the appointment of the person designated by His Majesty in his letter to the Ruling Family Council.
Article 7 [Oath of the Sultan]
Before exercising his powers the Sultan shall swear the following oath at a joint session of the Oman and Defence Councils:
"I swear by Almighty God to respect the Basic Law of the State and the Laws, to fully protect the interests and freedoms of the citizens, and to preserve the independence of the country and its territorial integrity."
Article 8 [Continuous Government]
The Government shall continue to conduct its business as usual until the Sultan is chosen and begins to exercise his powers.
Article 9 [Substantive State Principles]
Rule in the Sultanate shall be based on justice, Shura Consultation, and equality. Citizens shall have the right to take part in public affairs - in accordance with this Basic Law and the conditions and circumstances defined in the Law.
Part Two Principles Guiding State Policy
Article 10 [Political Principles]
The political principles are:
- Preserving the State's independence and sovereignty, protecting its security and stability, and defending it against all forms of aggression.
- Reinforcing co-operation and reaffirming ties of friendship with all States and peoples on a basis of mutual respect, common interest, non-interference in internal affairs, compliance with international and regional charters and treaties, and the generally recognised principles of international law, in a manner conducive to the promotion of peace and security between States and Peoples.
- Laying suitable foundations for the establishment of the pillars of genuine Shura Consultation, based on the national heritage, its values and its Islamic Shariah, and on pride in its history, while incorporating such contemporary manifestations as are appropriate.
- Establishing a sound administrative system that guarantees justice, tranquillity and equality for citizens, ensures respect for public order and safeguards the higher interests of the country.
Article 11 [Economic Principles]
(1) The economic principles are:
- The basis of the national economy is justice and the principles of a free economy. Its chief pillar is constructive, fruitful co-
operation between public and private activity. Its aim is to achieve economic and social development that will lead to increased production and a higher standard of living for citizens, in accordance with the State's general plan and within the limits of the Law.
- Freedom of economic activity is guaranteed within the limits of the Law and the public interest, in a manner that will ensure the well-being of the national economy.
- The State encourages saving and oversees the regulation of credit.
- All natural resources are the property of the State, which safeguards them and ensures that they are properly utilised while taking into account the requirements of State security and the interests of the national economy. No concession may be granted, nor may any of the country's public resources be exploited, except in accordance with the Law and for a limited period of time, and in such a manner as to preserve national interests.
- Public property is inviolable. The State shall protect it, and citizens and all other persons shall preserve it.
- Private property is protected. No-one shall be prevented from disposing of his property within the limits of the Law. Nor shall anyone's property be expropriated, except for the public benefit in those cases defined by the Law and in the manner stipulated by the Law, and on condition that the person whose property is expropriated receives just compensation for it.
- Inheritance is a right governed by the Shariah of Islam.
- Confiscation of property is prohibited and the penalty of specific confiscation shall only be imposed by judicial order in circumstances defined by the Law.
- The basis of taxes and public dues shall be justice and the development of the national economy.
- The institution, adjustment and cancellation of public taxes shall be by virtue of the Law. No one may be exempted from payment of all or part of such taxes except in circumstances defined in the Law.
(2) No tax, fee or other entitlement of any kind may be applied retrospectively.
Article 12 [Social Principles]
The social principles are:
- Justice, equality and equality of opportunity between Omanis are the pillars of society, guaranteed by the State.
- Co-operation, compassion, strong ties between citizens, and the reinforcement of national unity are a duty. The State shall prevent anything that could lead to division, discord, or the disruption of national unity.
- The family is the basis of society, and the Law regulates the means of protecting it, safeguarding its legal structure, reinforcing its ties and values, providing care for its members, and creating suitable conditions for the development of their aptitudes and capabilities.
- The State guarantees assistance for the citizen and his family in cases of emergency, sickness, incapacity and old age in accordance with the social security system. It also encourages society to share the burdens of dealing with the effects of public disasters and calamities.
- The State cares for public health and for the prevention and treatment of diseases and epidemics. It endeavours to provide health care for every citizen and to encourage the establishment of private hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions under State supervision and in accordance with the rules laid down by Law. It also works to conserve and protect the environment and prevent pollution.
- The State enacts laws to protect the employee and the employer, and regulates relations between them. Every citizen has the right to engage in the work of his choice within the limits of the Law. It is not permitted to impose any compulsory work on anyone except in accordance with the Law and for the performance of public service, and for a fair wage.
- Public employment is a national service entrusted to those who carry it out. The State employees while performing their work shall seek to serve the public interest and society. Citizens are considered equal in taking up public employment according to the provisions of the Law.
Article 13 [Cultural Principles]
The cultural principles are:
- Education is a fundamental element for the progress of society which the State fosters and endeavours to make available to all.
- Education aims to raise and develop general cultural standards, promote scientific thought, kindle the spirit of enquiry, meet the needs of the economic and social plans, and create a generation strong in body and moral fibre, proud of its nation, country and heritage, and committed to safeguardingtheir achievements.
- The State provides public education, combats illiteracy and encourages the establishment of private schools and institutes under State supervision and in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
- The State fosters and conserves the national heritage, and encourages and promotes the sciences, literature, and scientific research.
Article 14 [Security Principles]
The security principles are:
- The State's goal is peace, and safeguarding the country's security is a duty entrusted to every citizen.
- The Defence Council studies matters concerning the maintenance of the Sultanate's security and its defence.
- It is the State alone that establishes the Armed Forces, public security organisations and any other forces. They are all the property of the nation and their task is to protect the State, safeguard the safety of its territories and ensure security and tranquillity for its citizens. No institution or group may set up military or paramilitary organisations. The Law regulates military services, general or partial mobilisation and the rights, duties and disciplinary rules of the Armed Forces, the public security organisations and any other forces the State decides to establish.
Part Three Public Rights and Duties
Article 15 [Citizenship]
Nationality is regulated by the Law. It may not be forfeited or withdrawn except within the limits of the Law.
Article 16 [Deportation, Right of Entry]
It is not permitted to deport or exile citizens, or prevent them from returning to the Sultanate.
Article 17 [Citizen Equality, No Discrimination]
All citizens are equal before the Law, and they are equal in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination between them on the grounds of gender, origin, colour, language, religion, sect, domicile or social status.
Article 18 [Personal Freedom]
Personal freedom is guaranteed in accordance with the Law. No person may be arrested, searched, detained or imprisoned, or have his residence or movement curtailed, except in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
Article 19 [Imprisonment]
Detention or imprisonment is not permitted, except in the places designated for that purpose in the prison laws, which provide for health care and social welfare.
Article 20 [Personal Integrity]
No person shall be subjected to physical or psychological torture, enticement or humiliating treatment, and the Law lays down the punishment for anyone who is guilty of such actions. No statement shall be valid if it is established that it has been obtained as a result of torture, enticement or humiliating treatment, or threats of such measures.
Article 21 [Criminal Punishments]
There shall be no crime and no punishment except in accordance with the criteria of a Law, and there shall be no punishment except for actions cognisable in Law. Punishment is personal not transferable.
Article 22 [Presumption of Innocence, Due Process, Personal Integrity]
An accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a legal trial which ensures him the essential guarantee to exercise his right of defence according to the Law. It is prohibited to harm the accused either bodily or mentally.
Article 23 [Right to Counsel]
The accused has the right to appoint a person who has the ability to defend him during the trial. The Law defines the circumstances which require the presence of a lawyer on behalf of the accused and guarantees those without the financial capacity, the means to resort to justice and the defence of their rights.
Article 24 [Arrest]
Anyone who is arrested shall be notified of the causes of his arrest immediately and he shall have the right to contact whoever he sees fit, to inform them of what has taken place or seek their assistance, in the manner regulated by the Law. He must be informed promptly of the charges against him, and he and his representative shall have the right to appeal before the judicial authorities against the measure which has restricted his personal freedom. The Law regulates his right of appeal in a manner which ensures that a judgement will be issued on it within a specified period, failing which he must be released.
Article 25 [Right to Litigation]
The right to litigation is sacrosanct and guaranteed to all people. The Law defines the procedures and circumstances required for exercising this right and the State guarantees, as far as possible, that the judicial authorities will reconcile the litigants and settle cases promptly.
Article 26 [Personal Integrity Against Experiments]
It is not permitted to perform any medical or scientific experiment on any person without his freely given consent.
Article 27 [Home]
Dwellings are inviolable and it is not permitted to enter them without the permission of the owner or legal occupant, except in the circumstances specified by the Law and in the manner stipulated therein.
Article 28 [Religion]
The freedom to practise religious rites in accordance with recognised customs is guaranteed provided that it does not disrupt public order or conflict with accepted standards of behaviour.
Article 29 [Expression]
Freedom of opinion and expression, whether spoken, written or in other forms, is guaranteed within the limits of the Law.
Article 30 [Communication]
Freedom of postal, telegraphic, telephonic and other forms of communication is sacrosanct and their confidentiality is guaranteed. Hence, it is not permitted to monitor or inspect them, reveal their contents, or delay or confiscate them except in circumstances defined by the Law and in accordance with the procedures laid down therein.
Article 31 [Press]
Freedom of the press, printing and publication is guaranteed in accordance with the conditions and circumstances defined by the Law. It is prohibited to print or publish material that leads to public discord, violates the security of the State or abuses aperson's dignity and his rights.
Article 32 [Assembly]
Citizens have the right of assembly within the limits of the Law.
Article 33 [Association]
The freedom to form associations on a national basis for legitimate objectives and in a proper manner, in a way that does not conflict with the stipulations and aims of this Basic Law, is guaranteed under the conditions and in the circumstances defined by the Law. It is forbidden to establish associations whose activities are inimical to social order, or are secret, or of a military nature. It is not permitted to force anyone to join any association.
Article 34 [Petition, Public Affairs]
Citizens have the right to address the public authorities on personal matters or on matters related to public affairs, in the manner and on the conditions laid down by the Law.
Article 35 [Rights of Foreigners]
Every foreigner who is legally resident in the Sultanate shall have the right to protection of his person and his property in accordance with the Law. Foreigners shall have regard for society's values and respect its traditions and customs.
Article 36 [Asylum]
Extradition of political refugees is prohibited. Extradition of criminals is subject to the provisions of international laws and agreements.
Article 37 [Territorial Integrity, Military Duty]
Defence of the homeland is a sacred duty, and rendering service in the Armed Forces is an honour for citizens regulated by the Law.
Article 38 [National Unity, Duty of Citizens]
Preserving national unity and safeguarding State secrets is a duty incumbent upon every citizen.
Article 39 [Taxes]
Payment of taxes and public dues is a duty in accordance with the Law.
Article 40 [Observance of the Law]
Respect for the Basic Law of the State and the laws and ordinances issued by the public authorities, as well as observance of public order and public morals, is a duty incumbent upon all residents of the Sultanate.
Part Four The Head of State
Section 1: The Sultan
Article 41 [Head of State, Commander-In-Chief]
The Sultan is the Head of State and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. His person is inviolable and must be respected and his orders must be obeyed. The Sultan is the symbol of national unity as well as its guardian and defender.
Article 42 [Functions]
The Sultan discharges the following functions:
- preserving the country's independence and territorial integrity and assuring its internal and external security, maintaining the rights and freedoms of its citizens, guaranteeing the rule of law,and guiding the general policy of the State.
- taking prompt measures to counter any threat to the safety of the State or its territorial integrity, the security and interests of its people, or the smooth running of its institutions.
- representing the State both internally and externally in all international relations.
- presiding over the Council of Ministers or appointing a person to serve in that position.
- presiding over the Specialised Councils or appointing chairmen for them.
- Establishing and regulating the units of the state administrative system and cancelling it. (this line added October 20, 2011 by Royal Decree)
- appointing and dismissing Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and those of their rank.
- appointing and dismissing Under-Secretaries, General Secretaries and those of their rank.
- appointing and dismissing senior judges.
- declaring a state of emergency, general mobilisation, or war, and making peace in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
- issuing and ratifying laws.
- signing international treaties and agreements in accordance with the provisions of the Law (or authorising a signatory to sign them) and issuing decrees ratifying them.
- appointing and dismissing political representatives to other States and international organisations according to the limits and circumstances laid down by the Law. Accepting accreditation of representatives of States and international organisations.
- waiving or commuting punishments
- conferring honours, decorations and military ranks.
Article 43 [Assisting Function of Council of Ministers]
The Sultan shall be assisted in drafting and implementing the general policy of the State by a Council of Ministers and Specialised Councils.
Section 2: The Council of Ministers
Article 44 [Functions]
The Council of Ministers is the body entrusted with implementing general State policies. In particular it shall:
- submit recommendations to the Sultan on economic, political and social, as well as executive and administrative matters of concern to the Government, and propose draft laws and decrees.
- foster the welfare of citizens and ensure the provision of health and other essential services in order to improve the quality of their life socially and culturally as well as economically.
- formulate aims and general policies for economic, social, and administrative development and propose methods of implementing these policies which will make the best use of financial, economic and human resources.
discuss developmental plans prepared by the relevant departments, submit them to the Sultan for approval, and follow up their implementation. (replaced on October 20, 2011 by Royal Decree with next line)
- Discussing development plans prepared by competent authorities after it is reviewed by the Council of Oman, submit the same to His Majesty for approval, and follow up their implementation.
- discuss proposals by Ministries in their fields of executive jurisdiction and make appropriate recommendations and decisions in this regard.
- oversee the smooth running of the State's administrative apparatus, follow up its performance of its duties , and co-
ordinate the activities of its different departments.
- monitor the implementation of all laws, decrees, ordinances and decisions, as well as treaties and agreements and court judgements, in a manner that will ensure that they are complied with.
- discharge any other competencies vested in it by the Sultan or conferred upon it by the provisions of the Law.
Article 45 [Chairmanship of Sessions]
The Head of the Council of Ministers shall preside over the Council's sessions and has the right to entrust the chairmanship of sessions, which he does not attend, to one of the Deputy Prime Ministers. If the Prime Minister and his Deputies are absent, the Sultan will authorise whoever he sees fit to chair the sessions.
Article 46 [Quorum, Secrecy, Majority]
Meetings of the Council shall be quorate with the attendance of a majority of its members. Its deliberations are secret and its decisions are issued with the approval of a majority of those present.
Article 47 [Standing Orders, General Secretariat]
The Council of Ministers shall draw up Standing Orders including its Rules of Procedure. The Council shall have a General Secretariat which will be provided with a sufficient number of staff to assist it in carrying out its work.
Section 3: The Prime Minister, His Deputies and Ministers
Article 48 [Appointment]
If the Sultan appoints a Prime Minister, his competencies and powers shall be specified in the Decree appointing him.
Article 49 [Qualifications]
It is a prerequisite that whoever is appointed as Prime Minister, his Deputy, or a Minister:
a) Shall be originally of Omani nationality in accordance with the Law;
b) Shall be aged not less than 30 years of the Gregorian calendar.
Article 50 [Oath of Ministers]
Before assuming their powers the Prime Minister, his Deputies, and Ministers shall swear the following oath in the presence of the Sultan:
"I swear by Almighty God that I shall be faithful to my Sultan and my Country, that I shall respect the Basic Law of the State and its implementing regulations; that I shall uphold at all times the integrity of the State and the security of its territories, and shall work to promote fully its interests and the interests of its citizens, and that I shall discharge my duties truly and honestly."
Article 51 [Ministries]
Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers shall supervise the affairs of their Ministries and Organisations, and implement the general policy of the Government therein, as well as drawing up future guidelines for their Ministries and Organisations and following up their implementation.
Article 52 [Responsibility]
Members of the Council of Ministers are politically collectively responsible before the Sultan for carrying out the general policies of the State, and each is individually responsible before the Sultan for the discharge of his duties and the exercise of his powers.
Article 53 [Economic Incompatibility]
Members of the Council of Ministers shall not combine their Ministerial position with the chairmanship or membership of the Board of any joint stock company. Nor may the Government departments of which they are in charge have dealings with any company or organisation in which they have an interest,whether direct or indirect. They should be guided in all their actions by considerations of national interest and public welfare and should not exploit their official positions in any way for their own benefit or for the benefit of those with whom they have special relations.
Article 54 [Remuneration]
The emoluments of Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers, during their term of office and after their retirement, shall be determined in accordance with the directives of the Sultan.
Article 55 [Ministers]
The provisions of Articles 49, 50, 51, 52, 53 and 54 shall apply to all those with the rank of Minister.
Section 4: Specialised Councils
Article 56 [Establishment]
The Specialised Councils shall be established, their powers defined and their members appointed in accordance with Royal Decrees. (amended on October 20, 2011 by Royal Decree to the following: ) Specialised Councils shall be established, their powers determined and their members appointed by virtue of Royal Decrees, and it is subjected to the Council of Ministers in case the Royal Decrees did not say any opposition.
Section 5: Financial Affairs
Article 57 [Financial Laws]
The Law specifies the provisions concerning the following matters and the bodies responsible for them:
- collection of taxes, revenues and other public monies, and measures for their disbursement.
- maintenance and administration of State property, the conditions of its disposal, and the limits within which a part of this property may be assigned.
- the general State budget and the final account
- the autonomous and supplementary budgets and their final accounts
- control of State finances
- loans extended by or obtained by the State
- currency and banking , standards, weights and measures
- salaries, pensions, indemnities, subsidies and gratuities charged to the State Treasury.
Part Five The Oman Council
Article 58 [Composition]
(1) The Oman Council shall consist of:
- The Shura Council
- The Council of State
(2) The Law shall specify the powers of each of these Councils, the length of their terms, the frequency of their sessions, and their rules of procedure. It shall also specify the number of members of each Council, the conditions which they must fulfil, the method of their selection and appointment, the reasons for their dismissal, and other regulatory provisions.
amended on October 20, 2011 to the following:
The Oman Council shall consist of:-
- The State Council.
- The Shura Council.
- The State Council consists of a chairman and members not exceeding, including the chairman, the total number of Shura Council members, and they are appointed through a Royal Decree.
- The members of State Council shall be chosen from the following:
- The ministers, former undersecretaries of the ministries, and of equivalents.
- Former ambassadors.
- Former senior judges.
- Retired senior officers.
- Citizens who are known for their efficiency and experience in the fields of science, literature, culture, and teachers of universities, colleges and higher institutes.
- Other dignitaries and businessmen.
- Persons who made great service to the nation.
- Whom His Majesty chooses and not among the previous categories.
- Without prejudice to Article 58 (bis1), the person who is chosen as a member of State Council has to be:
- Omani national.
- Not less than 40 years old on the date of appointment.
- Not been sentenced in a criminal case or in moral turpitude case or even in case of rehabilitation.
- Not affiliated to a security or military authority.
- Not placed under the guardianship as per a court judgment.
- Not having a mental illness.
- The State Council term is four years starting from the first meeting of the council, and in any case not less than that of the Shura Council term.
- The State Council should elect two deputies for the council chairman; the elected deputies should be from the council members and for the same period of the chairman, if the seat of any of them becomes vacant the council will elect another one to replace him. The election should be held by secret direct ballot and in absolute majority of the members.
- The membership of the State Council will end due to the following reasons:
- The end of the Council’s period.
- Exemption from membership.
- Death or total disability.
- The State Council member could ask for his exemption through a request to the Council chairman and the chairman in his turn will submit the same to His Majesty. The State Council member shall be exempted if he lost one of the conditions of the membership or lost confidence or violated the membership duties.
- Only the two categories stipulated in item 5 and item 8 of Article 58 (bis 1) could gather between the State Council membership and public professions.
- The Shura Council should consist of elected members and represent all wilayats of the Sultanate. The number of Shura Council members identified according to the population of the wilayats.
The wilayat which has population less than 30,000 will get one representative and the wilayats which have population over 30,000 will have two representatives.
- The election of the Shura Council members should be conducted through general secret ballot and according to the election law.
- Article 58 (bis10). The Shura Council candidate has to meet the following conditions:
- To be of originally Omani nationality.
- To be not less than 30 years old on the date of opening of nomination.
- Should hold an academic degree not less than general certificate.
- He should not been sentenced in a criminal case or in moral turpitude case or even in case of rehabilitation.
- Not affiliated to a security or military authority.
- Not placed under guardianship as per a court judgment.
- Not having a mental disease.
The member who finished his term can be nominated again to the Shura Council membership.
- The State Council term is four years starting from the first meeting of the council, while the new council election runs during the last 90 days of the ongoing term, and in case the new council not elected before the ongoing council term finished for any reason, so the ongoing council continue working till electing the new council, and it is not allowed to extend the term of the council unless there is a necessity and as per a Royal Decree, and not exceeding one term.
- The Shura Council will hold a meeting upon a call by His Majesty in an extraordinary session prior to the election of the council chairman and the two deputies for the same period of the chairman. The oldest member will chair the session. If the seat of any of the deputies became vacant the council will elect another one to replace him. The election should be by secret direct polling and absolute majority of the members.
- If the seat of any Shura Council member becomes vacant before the end of his term, the seat has to be filled, during 60 days of the council’s report, by another candidate from the wilayat, the candidate who got most number of votes. The period of the new member is the supplementary period of the old member. If the seat became vacant six months before the end of the Council period, it should not be filled.
- A Supreme Committee with independence and neutrality will supervise the Shura Council election and take decisions on election complaints. The committee will be chaired by one of the Vice-Presidents of the Supreme Court. The law will identify the committee’s structure and duties.
- The membership of the Shura Council ends for the following reasons:
- The end of the Council period.
- Death or total disability.
- Exemption from membership.
- Dissolution of the |Council.
- The resignation from the Shura Council membership should be submitted in writing to the council chairman and he will refer it to the council, which will decide whether to approve or reject it. The council bylaw controls the provisions of this matter.
- The membership of the Shura Council should not be cancelled unless the member lost one of the election conditions or lost confidence or violated the membership duties. The cancellation requires the approval of two-third of members.
- It is not allowed to hold the State Council membership and public professions, and if a government employee has been elected to the membership of the council, his service considered ended from the date of announcing the results of the election, and in case of contestation of his membership he could keep his job without salary till announcing the final decision, and if the decision was that his membership is cancelled, he can return to his job and receive salary from the date of returning to work, while if the contestation was refused, so he considered ending his service from the date of announcing the results and receive an exceptional pension defined by the law if he has not less than 10 years of service accounted in the pension.
- His Majesty, in the cases which he appreciates, can dissolve the Shura Council and call for new election within four months from the date of dissolving.
- In open-door session, the members of State Council and Shura Council, each before their respective councils, shall take the following oath before taking work in the council:
“I swear by Almighty God to be faithful to my Sultan and my country, to respect the Basic Statute of the State and the state’s applicable laws, to fully protect its entity and the main constituents of the Omani society and its original values and to perform my duties in the council and its panels faithfully and honestly.”
Before taking his work in the council, the chairman of State Council shall take the oath mentioned in the previous paragraph before His Majesty the Sultan.
- The Chairmen of the State and Shura Councils, their deputies and the members of the two councils shall work for the interest of the country according to the laws in force and they must not use their membership for their own interest or the interest of their relatives. The law will identify the works they should not do.
- The member of the State and Shura Councils should not be blamed for his opinions or views in the council or in its committees with regard to various issues.
- Any penal action against the member of the State or Shura Councils should not be taken, except in the case of in the very act, during the annual term unless there is prior permission from the council. The permission should be issued by the council’s chairman and not during the annual term.
- The memberships of the State and Shura Councils should not be held together.
- The State Council and Shura Council should set its bylaws. The Shura Council bylaw identifies workflow procedure, committees, discussion procedures, voting, and questioning as well as powers accorded to the members and the penalties in case of any violation or absence during the council sessions without acceptable excuse. Terms and Responsibilities of the Council of Oman
- The ordinary term of the Council of Oman should not be less than eight months per year and it held upon a call from His Majesty on November every year. It should not be adjourned before the approval of the general budget of the State.
- As exceptional from Article 58 (bis26) His Majesty calls Council of Oman for the first meeting after the Shura Council election within one month from the date of announcing the results of that election.
- His Majesty can call meeting of the Council of Oman in the cases he appreciates other than the ordinary meeting of the council.
- The calling or adjourning of the Council of Oman in its ordinary or extraordinary terms shall be according to proper legal procedures.
- The State Council and Shura Council should hold meetings in Muscat city and His Majesty can call a meeting at any other place.
- The sessions of the State Council and the Shura Council are open-door sessions and it can be closed-door sessions in case of necessity and in accordance with the Council of Ministers and one of the councils.
- Majority of members of the State and Shura Councils, including the chairman or one of his deputies, should be present to hold a session. If the majority members are not present the session will be postponed to the next session.
- The decisions of the State and Shura Councils will be passed by the absolute majority of the attending members except in cases that require qualified majority. If the votes are equal, the side that includes the chairman wins.
- If the Shura Council is adjourned, the State Council session also stops.
- The draft laws prepared by the government should be referred to the Council of Oman to approve or amend and then directly be submitted to His Majesty to issue them. In the case of any amendments by the Council of Oman on the draft law, His Majesty will return it to the council to reconsider the amendments and then should be submitted again to His Majesty.
- Oman Council can suggest draft laws and refer it to the government for studying and return it again to the council, and in the term of approving, amending, or issuing these laws it comes as per the procedures mentioned in Article 58 (bis 35).
- The draft laws should be referred by the Council of Ministers to the Shura Council which has to approve or amend it within a maximum of three months from the date of referring, then it is referred to the State Council which has to approve or amend it within a maximum of 45 days from the date of referring, and if the two councils have a difference, they hold a meeting under the chairmanship of State Council Chairman who also calls for that meeting to discuss the differences between the two councils, and then they make a voting in the same meeting, and the decisions shall be issued in absolute majority of the member attendees, and in all cases the State Council Chairman shall refer the draft to His Majesty along with the view of the two councils.
- The summary of the draft law should be referred by the cabinet to the Shura Council that should give a decision of approving or amendment by a maximum of one month from the referral date then to be referred to the State Council that should give a decision of approving or amendment by a maximum of 15 days from the referral date then the Chairman of the State Council should submit it to His Majesty along with the two councils’ opinions.
- His Majesty has the right to issue Royal Decrees that have the same power of law between the terms of the Council of Oman and during the adjourned period of the Shura Council and the holding of the State Council sessions.
- The development projects and the annual budget of the state should be referred by the Council of Ministers to the Shura Council for discussion and recommendations by a maximum of one month from the referral date and then be referred to the State Council for discussion and recommendation within a period of 15 days from the referral date and then be referred back by the Chairman of the State Council to the Council of Ministers along with the recommendations of the two councils. The Council of Ministers should inform the two councils about the recommendations which were not considered, along with reasons.
- The economic and social draft agreements which the government intends to sign or join to it, shall be referred to the Shura Council to discuss it and give opinions on it, and refer the same to the Council of Ministers to take suitable decisions.
- State Financial and Administrative Audit institution shall send a copy of its annual report to the Shura Council and the State Council.
- The interpellation of any of the services ministers is possible, according to a request presented by not less than 15 members of the Shura Council, relating to violation of their legal authority, and the council shall discuss the issue and refer the results to His Majesty.
- The ministers shall provide the Shura Council with the annual report regarding the stages of project implementation by their ministries, and the council can ask any of these ministers to provide a statement on some of the internal issues relating to the ministry.
Part Six The Judiciary
Article 59 [Rule of Law, Impartiality]
The sovereignty of the Law is the basis of governance in the State. Rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the dignity of the judiciary and the probity and impartiality of the judges.
Article 60 [Independence of the Courts]
Judicial power is independent and vested in the Courts of Law, of whatever type or status, which issue judgements in accordance with the Law.
Article 61 [Independence of Judges]
There is no power over the judges in their rulings except the Law. Judges can only be dismissed in cases specified by the Law. No party may interfere in a law suit or in matters of justice; such interference shall be a crime punishable by law. The Law shall specify the conditions to be fulfilled for those administering justice, the conditions and procedures for the appointment of judges, their transfer and promotion, the security offered to them, the cases in which they are not liable for dismissal, and other relevant provisions.
Article 62 [Organization, Military Courts, Martial Law]
The Law shall regulate the Law Courts of whatever type or status and shall specify their functions and competencies. The jurisdiction of Military Courts shall be restricted to military crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces and the security forces and shall only extend to others in the case of martial law and then within the limits laid down by the Law.
Article 63 [Publicity]
Court hearings are public except when the Law Court decides to hold the case in camera in the interests of public order or public morals. In all cases pronouncement of finding and sentence shall be in open session.
Article 64 [Public Prosecution, Attorney General]
The public prosecution shall conduct legal proceedings on behalf of the community, shall oversee matters of judicial prosecution and shall be vigilant in the application of the penal code, the pursuit of the guilty and the execution of court judgements. The Law shall regulate the public prosecution and its competencies and shall specify the conditions and security applicable to those who discharge its functions. In exceptional cases, Public Security departments may be legally empowered to conduct proceedings in cases involving misdemeanours, in accordance with the conditions laid down by the Law.
Article 65 [Legal Profession]
The legal profession shall be regulated by the Law.
Article 66 [Higher Council]
The judiciary shall have a Higher Council, which shall oversee the smooth running of the Law Courts and auxiliary bodies. The Law shall specify the powers of this Council with regard to the functions of the judges and the public prosecutor.
Article 67 [Administrative Courts]
The Law shall adjudicate in administrative disputes through a Special Administrative Causes Court or Department, whose organisation and mode of procedure shall be specified in Law.
Article 68 [Jurisdiction Disputes]
The Law shall adjudicate in disputes over jurisdiction between judicial departments and in cases of conflict of judgements.
Article 69 [Ministerial Opinions]
The Law shall define the competencies of the department which expresses legal opinions to Ministries and other Government departments and formulates and revises draft laws, regulations and decisions. The Law shall also specify the mode of representation of the State and other public bodies and organisations before the Departments of Justice.
Article 70 [Judicial Review]
The Law shall stipulate the judicial department concerned with settling disputes arising from the incompatibility of laws andregulations with the Basic Law of the State and ensuring that the latter's provisions are not contravened, and shall define that department's powers and procedures.
Article 71 [Judgements]
Judgements shall be issued and executed in the name of His Majesty the Sultan. Failure or delay in executing these judgements on the part of the concerned public officials shall be a crime punishable by law. In such a case the judgement beneficiary has the right to bring a criminal action directly to the court concerned.
Part Seven General Provisions
Article 72 [Treaties]
The application of this Basic Law shall not infringe the treaties and agreements concluded between the Sultanate of Oman and other States and international bodies and organisations.
Article 73 [Martial Law]
None of the provisions of this Basic Law shall be suspended except in the case of martial law and within the limits laid down by the Law.
Article 74 [Publication]
Laws shall be published in the Official Gazette within two weeks of the day of their issuance. Laws will come into force from their date of publication unless they stipulate another date.
Article 75 [Retroactive Law]
Provisions of laws shall only apply from the date of their coming into force; whatever happens before that date is of no consequence, unless the text specifies otherwise. Excluded from this exception are penal laws and laws concerning taxes and financial dues.
Article 76 [Ratification]
Treaties and agreements shall not have the force of law until they have been ratified. In no case may a treaty or an agreement contain secret conditions which contradict its declared conditions.
Article 77 [Old Laws]
Everything stipulated by laws, regulations, decrees, directives and decisions in force on the date of this Basic Law becoming effective shall remain in force, provided that they do not conflict with any of its provisions.
Article 78 [Required Laws]
Laws which are not yet in existence but are necessitated by this Basic Law shall be promulgated by the competent departments within two years of its coming into force.
Article 79 [Supremacy of the Constitution]
Laws and procedures which have the force of law must conform to the provisions of the Basic Law of the State.
Article 80 [Executive Bound By Law]
No body in the State may issue rules, regulations, decisions or instructions which contravene the provisions of laws and decrees in force, or international treaties and agreements which constitute part of the law of the country.
Article 81 [Amendments]
This Basic Law can only be amended in the same manner in which it was promulgated.
- ↑ English Translation courtesy of International Constitutional Law Countries
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Greater powers for Majlis Oman, Oman Daily Observer, October 21, 2011