Chief Justice: Judicial Review of Laws a Manifestation of Balance of State Powers

Image not found

Chief Justice Anwar Usman speaking at an online law talk organized by the Law Faculty of Trisakti University, Friday (8/1/2021). Photo by Humas MK/Ilham.

JAKARTA, Public Relations of the Constitutional Court—The judicial review of laws is a necessary manifestation of the balance of state powers and the protection of citizens’ constitutional rights, said Chief Justice Anwar Usman opening an online law talk organized by the Law Faculty of Trisakti University on Friday, January 8, 2021.

He said that the guarantee of constitutional rights for the Indonesian citizens has gone through ups and downs, starting from the formation of the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Works for Independence (BPUPK) with its constitution drafter team, to the 1998 Reform that influence the Constitution. The efforts to amend the Constitution, he added, were essentially intended to maintain the balance of state powers. The lack of limitation on the president’s power allowed the president to maintain their dominance. In addition, the norms in the Constitution were seen as subjective and, therefore, must be amended.

“The amendment to the Constitution left it with only 12 percent of the old norms and 88 percent new norms,” he said before other speakers such as Constitutional Court researchers Nalom Kurniawan, Iskandar Muda, and Tri Sulistiyowati.

At the national webinar on “The Constitutional Court’s Position as the Guardian of the Constitution in Guaranteeing the Constitutional Rights of the People,” Justice Anwar said the constitutional amendment also changed the structure of state institutions, as well as allowed the establishment of institutions such as the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Commission. With the amendment, all state institutions were made equal; there is no longer a hierarchy to them. He believes this is the concept of checks and balances that maintains the harmony among the branches of state powers.

Such harmony, which is now in place after the amendment to the 1945 Constitution, also led to the change of the concept of Indonesian democracy. It is no longer based on the legitimacy of the election, through which the people give their sovereignty to their representatives in the legislative and executive branches, but also on the balance between democracy and the implementation of constitutional norms, which was agreed on to be the highest law of the land. Therefore, an institutional and constitutional mechanism was required to overcome any potential dispute among state institutions, which have been made equal. In addition to this, there were demands to improve judicial review of laws, not only to regulations under laws, but also to laws against the Constitution.

“Therefore, the authority to review laws against the Constitution was granted to a separate court outside of the Supreme Court, which gave birth to the Constitutional Court that stands beside the Supreme Court,” Justice Anwar explained.

He also explained the Constitutional Court’s authorities that are mandated by the 1945 Constitution, as well as the Constitutional Court’s efforts to protect the constitutional rights of citizens due to political policies that potentially violate those rights.

Writer: Sri Pujianti
Editor: Lulu Anjarsari
Translator: Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 01/08/2021 20:32 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian version, the Indonesian version will prevail.