DOHA: The Central Municipal Council (CMC) has been told by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning that the civic body is not entitled to judicial powers, which it has been seeking for long.
In a letter sent to the CMC recently, the Ministry said that latter’s jurisdiction is restricted to a monitoring and supervisory role in civic issues and it cannot have judicial powers under the existing law.
The letter came in response to a long-pending demand from the CMC for judicial powers to detect and report various offences and violations of the country’s laws. Currently the CMC’s role is limited to raising issues of public interest and giving recommendations to the higher authorities.
The Ministry’s response has upset several CMC members, who are now demanding to take up the issue with the Ministry of Justice.
The CMC discussed the letter yesterday and decided to refer it to its legal committee for further study, head of the committee and the sole woman member of the CMC, Sheikha Al Jefairi (pictured), told this daily last evening.
“The legal committee has to study the response from a legal point of view and decide what action can be taken. There is a misunderstanding about what we have asked and what is stated in the law,” she said.
“The law is talking about monitoring the criminal aspects. What we are seeking is the power to monitor daily violations of the civic laws affecting people’s lives. We can take up such issues with the authorities concerned, using the same legal process that the civic inspectors and other monitoring bodies are following. Our job will be complementing their role,” said Al Jefairi.
She said the issue is about two-and-a-half-year old. The CMC first discussed the issue in its third session in September 2011 and referred the proposal to the legal committee for further studies. The committee discussed it in two meetings in October that year and recommended to transfer it to the civic minister.
There was a meeting between the minister and CMC chairman later that month. In December that year, the CMC chairman received a letter from the minister saying that giving judicial powers to the CMC members requires amendments in the laws. This can not be done without coordination with other bodies.
She said there was no response after that and the new letter was sent after the CMC sought a reply from the minister’s office.
CMC Chairman Saud Abdullah Al Hanzab recommended the issue be referred to the Ministry of Justice, according to Al Sharq. “We should have a stand since we are working day and night attending to issues concerning the people in our constituencies,” he said.