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Constitution of Kuwait (1962, reinst. 1992)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

5We, Abdallah Al Salem Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait,

6Desirous of fulfilling all of the exigencies of democratic rule in our beloved homeland;

7Confident in the role this Nation can play in the wake of Arab nationalism, of service to world peace and of civilization;

8Striving towards a better future in which the Nation may enjoy an abundance of comfort and a higher international standing, a future which shall provide citizens with ample political freedom, equality and social justice as well, which shall brace the props of those traits in which the Arab spirit is kneaded such as pride in the dignity of the individual, jealous watch over the commune bonum, counsel in rule and safeguard of the homeland's unity and stability;

9After perusal of Ordinance No. 1/1962 regarding the organic system of rule during the transitional period;

10And in accordance with the decision of the Constituent Assembly:

11Hereby sanction and promulgate this Constitution.

12Part I. The State and the System of Government

13ARTICLE 1

14Kuwait is an Arab, independent, fully sovereign State. There shall be no surrender of its sovereignty nor cession of any part of its territories.

15The people of Kuwait are part of the Arab Nation.

16ARTICLE 2

17The religion of the State is Islam and Islamic Law shall be a main source of legislation.

18ARTICLE 3

19Arabic is the official language of the State.

20ARTICLE 4

21Kuwait is a hereditary Amirate held in succession in the descendants of the Mubarak Al Sabah.

22The Heir Apparent shall be appointed within a period not exceeding one year from the date of the Amir's investiture, and his appointment shall follow his nomination by the Amir and the swearing of fealty to him by a consenting majority of the members composing the National Assembly sitting in special session.

23Where the appointment does not proceed as indicated above, the Amir shall nominate at least three of the above-mentioned lineage to the heirdom and the Assembly shall swear fealty to one of them as Heir Apparent.

24To qualify, the Heir Apparent must have attained the age of majority, must be endowed with reason and must be a legitimate son of Muslim parents.

25All of the provisions governing the succession to the Principality shall be set out in a special Ordinance to be promulgated within one year from the coming into force of this Constitution. This special Ordinance shall have force of constitutional law and may not therefore be amended save in the manner prescribed for the amendment of the Constitution itself.

26ARTICLE 5

27The Law shall describe the Flag of the State, its Emblem, its Insignia, its Decorations and its National Anthem.

28ARTICLE 6

29Kuwait's system of government is democratic; sovereignty is vested in the Nation as the source of all authority; and the exercise of that sovereignty shall be as set out in this Constitution.

30Part II. The Basic Foundations of Kuwaiti Society

31ARTICLE 7

32Justice, freedom and equality are the pillars of society; and cooperation and compassion are the firm link binding all citizens.

33ARTICLE 8

34The State shall preserve the pillars of society and shall guarantee security, tranquillity and equal opportunity to all citizens.

35ARTICLE 9

36The family is the foundation of society; its mainstays are religion, morals and the love of country. The Law shall preserve its entity, shall strengthen its bonds and shall, under its aegis, protect mothers and infants.

37ARTICLE 10

38The State shall watch over the youth and shall protect it from exploitation and from moral, corporal and spiritual negligence.

39ARTICLE 11

40The State shall guarantee assistance to citizens in their old age, in sickness or in disability. It shall also provide them with social insurance services, social help and medical care.

41ARTICLE 12

42The State shall maintain the Islamic and Arab heritage and shall share in the path of civilization and humanitarianism.

43ARTICLE 13

44Education is a cornerstone in social advancement. The State shall guarantee and tend it.

45ARTICLE 14

46The State shall supervise education, literature and the arts, and shall encourage scientific research.

47ARTICLE 15

48The State shall care for public health through measures of precaution and cure of diseases and epidemics.

49ARTICLE 16

50Ownership, capital and labor are the mainstays of the State's social entity and of national wealth. They all are individual rights with social functions regulated by Law.

51ARTICLE 17

52Public property is inviolable and its protection is the duty of every citizen.

53ARTICLE 18

54Private ownership is safeguarded. No person shall be prevented from disposing of his property save within the limits of the Law; and no person shall suffer expropriation save for the public benefit in the cases determined and in the manner prescribed by Law provided that he be equitably compensated therefor.

55Inheritance is a right governed by Islamic Law.

56ARTICLE 19

57General confiscation of property is prohibited; and only by Court Judgment, in the circumstances described by the Law, can private confiscation as a punitive measure be imposed.

58ARTICLE 20

59National economy is based upon social justice; its mainstay is a balanced cooperation between public and private enterprise; its aims are the realization of economic development, the increase of production, the raising of the standard of living, and the substantiation of the citizens' prosperity, all within the limits of the Law.

60ARTICLE 21

61All of the natural wealth and resources are the property of the State. The State shall preserve and properly exploit those resources, heedful of its own security and national economy requisites.

62ARTICLE 22

63While keeping to the rules of social justice the Law shall, on economic principles, regulate the relations between laborers and employers and the relations between landlords and their tenants.

64ARTICLE 23

65The State shall encourage cooperation and savings and shall supervise the organization of trusts.

66ARTICLE 24

67The basis of taxation and of public expenditure shall be the achievement of social justice.

68ARTICLE 25

69The State shall guarantee the solidarity of Society in bearing burdens arising from catastrophes and public calamities and shall guarantee compensation to those sustaining damages by reason of war or in the performance of their military duties.

70ARTICLE 26

71Public functions are a national service entrusted to those holding positions of responsibility and the aim of State functionaries in the performance of their duties shall be the public interest.

72Save in the cases defined by Law aliens shall not be entrusted with public functions.

73Part III. Public Rights and Obligations

74ARTICLE 27

75Kuwaiti nationality shall be determined by Law.

76No relinquishment or withdrawal of nationality shall be permissible save within the limits of the Law.

77ARTICLE 28

78No Kuwaiti may be deported from Kuwait or prevented from returning to it.

79ARTICLE 29

80The people are peers in human dignity and have, in the eyes of the Law, equal public rights and obligations. There shall be made no differentiation among them because of race, origin, language or religion.

81ARTICLE 30

82Personal liberty is guaranteed.

83ARTICLE 31

84No person may be arrested, imprisoned, searched, have his residence restricted or be restrained in liberty of residence or of movement save in conformity with the provisions of the Law.

85No person shall be subjected to torture or to ignominious treatment.

86ARTICLE 32

87Crime and punishment will be regulated by Law. Criminal punishment shall not be inflicted on the basis of ex post facto laws.

88ARTICLE 33

89Punishment is personal.

90ARTICLE 34

91The accused is innocent until proved guilty in a Court of Law which shall guarantee him the necessary sureties to exercise his right of defense.

92The accused shall not be bodily or mentally injured.

93ARTICLE 35

94Freedom of belief is unrestricted. The State shall protect freedom in the observance of religious rites established by custom, provided such observance does not conflict with morals or disturb public order.

95ARTICLE 36

96Freedom of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed. Subject to the conditions and stipulations specified by Law, every person shall have the right to express his opinion by speaking or writing or otherwise.

97ARTICLE 37

98Freedom of the press and of publication is guaranteed, subject to the conditions and stipulations prescribed by Law.

99ARTICLE 38

100The home is inviolable; therefore, save in the cases determined by Law and in the manner stipulated therein, no person may enter any home without the dweller's permission.

101ARTICLE 39

102The freedom of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications is safeguarded and their secrecy is guaranteed. Censorship of letters or disclosure of their secrecy shall not be permissible save in such cases as are set out in the Law and in conformity with the procedure stipulated therein.

103ARTICLE 40

104In conformity with the Law and with in the limits of public order and morals, education for Kuwaitis is a right guaranteed by the State. In compliance with the Law, education is compulsory and gratis in its first stages.

105The Law shall lay down the necessary plans to eradicate illiteracy.

106The State shall take special care of the physical, moral and intellectual development of youth.

107ARTICLE 41

108Every Kuwaiti shall have the right to work and to choose the nature of his occupation.

109Work is the duty of every citizen. Dignity requires it and the public welfare ordains it. The State shall make work available to citizens and shall see to the equity of its conditions.

110ARTICLE 42

111No coercive labor shall be imposed on any one save in cases of national emergency determined by Law and with equitable compensation.

112ARTICLE 43

113The liberty of forming societies and unions on a national basis and by peaceful means is guaranteed in conformity with the conditions and the stipulations specified by Law; and no person shall be constrained to join any society or union.

114ARTICLE 44

115Individuals have the right to meet without need for permission or prior notification; no member of the Security Force shall be allowed to attend their private meetings.

116Public assemblies, processions and gatherings are permitted in accordance with the conditions and the stipulations defined by Law provided the objects and the means of the gathering be peaceful and not incompatible with morals.

117ARTICLE 45

118Every individual may address public authorities in writing and over his own signature. Addressing the authorities in the name of a group shall be permissible only to duly constituted organizations.

119ARTICLE 46

120Extradition of political refugees is prohibited.

121ARTICLE 47

122Defense of the country is a sacred duty; the discharge of military service, an honor for the citizen, shall be regulated by Law.

123ARTICLE 48

124Payment of taxes and contribution to public expenditure are a duty in conformity with the Law.

125The Law shall exempt small incomes from taxation in order to guarantee a minimum income for living.

126ARTICLE 49

127The observance of public order and the respect of public morals are an obligation on all inhabitants of Kuwait.

128Part IV. The Powers

129CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

130ARTICLE 50

131In conformity with the provisions of the Constitution the system of government shall be established on the basis of separation and cooperation of powers. No Authority shall be allowed to waive all or part of its jurisdiction as prescribed in this Constitution.

132ARTICLE 51

133In conformity with the Constitution legislative power shall be vested in the Amir and the National Assembly.

134ARTICLE 52

135Executive power shall be vested in the Amir, the Cabinet and the Ministers in the manner specified in the Constitution.

136ARTICLE 53

137Within the limits of the Constitution judicial power shall be vested in the Courts in the Amir's name.

138CHAPTER II. THE HEAD OF STATE

139ARTICLE 54

140The Amir is the Head of the State. His person is safeguarded and inviolable.

141ARTICLE 55

142The Amir shall exercise his powers by the medium of his Ministers.

143ARTICLE 56

144The Amir shall appoint the Prime Minister after the traditional consultations and shall relieve him from his post. He shall also appoint the Ministers and relieve them from their posts on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

145Ministers shall be appointed from among members of the National Assembly or from other quarters.

146The entire number of Ministers shall not exceed one third the number of the members of the National Assembly.

147ARTICLE 57

148At the commencement of every legislative session of the National Assembly the formation of the Ministry shall be reconstituted in the manner specified in the preceding Article.

149ARTICLE 58

150The Prime Minister and the Ministers shall be jointly responsible to the Amir for the general policy of the State; and every Minister shall be answerable for the actions of his Ministry.

151ARTICLE 59

152The Amir shall exercise his constitutional functions only in accordance with the special ordinance mentioned in Article 4.

153ARTICLE 60

154At a special session of the National Assembly and before taking over his functions the Amir shall take the following Oath:

155I swear by God Almighty to respect the Constitution and the Laws of the State, to defend the people's liberties, their interests and their property, and to safeguard the Nation's independence and the safety of its territories.

156ARTICLE 61

157Where the Amir absents himself from the Amirate and it is impossible for the Heir Apparent to assume his functions, the Amir shall by decree appoint a Deputy to exercise his functions during his absence. The Decree may include a special provision regulating the exercise of such functions or limiting their sphere of action.

158ARTICLE 62

159The Vice-Amir shall fulfill the conditions stipulated in Article 82 of this Constitution. Should he be a Minister or a member of the National Assembly he shall not participate in the functions of the Ministry or of the Assembly during his period of vice-regency.

160ARTICLE 63

161At a special session of the National Assembly and before assuming his functions the Vice-Amir shall take the Oath prescribed in Article 60 to which shall be added the phrase "and to be loyal to the Amir."

162Should the Assembly not be in session the Oath mentioned above shall be taken before the Amir.

163ARTICLE 64

164The provisions embodied in Article 131 of this Constitution shall be applicable to the Vice-Amir.

165ARTICLE 65

166The Amir shall have the right to propose laws and the right to sanction and promulgate them. Such promulgation shall take place with in thirty days from the date of their submission to him by the National Assembly. In case of urgency the period shall be curtailed to seven days; and the determination of the state of urgency shall be by Resolution obtained by a majority of the members composing the National Assembly.

167In the promulgation period official holidays shall be deemed dies non.

168Where the period determined for the promulgation of the law lapses without the Head of the State requesting its review, such law shall be deemed ratified and shall be promulgated.

169ARTICLE 66

170The request for review of proposed legislation shall be made by means of a Decree setting forth the reasons for the request. Where the National Assembly readopts the proposed legislation by a two-thirds majority of the members composing the Assembly, the Amir shall sanction it and promulgate it within thirty days of his notification. Where such majority does not obtain, the proposed legislation shall not become effective unless at a subsequent session, the National Assembly reaffirms the proposed legislation by a majority of the members constituting the Assembly. In such event, the Amir shall sanction it and shall promulgate it within thirty days of his notification.

171ARTICLE 67

172The Amir is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He shall appoint or dismiss Officers in compliance with the Law.

173ARTICLE 68

174The Amir shall declare defensive war by Decree. Aggressive war, however, is prohibited.

175ARTICLE 69

176The Amir shall proclaim Martial Law in cases of emergency as determined by Statute and in accordance with the procedure stipulated therein. Martial Law shall be proclaimed by Decree, and that Decree shall be submitted to the National Assembly within the fifteen days to decide the course of Martial Law. Where this takes place during the Assembly's recess the matter shall be submitted to the new Assembly at its first meeting.

177The continuance of Martial Law shall be subject to promulgation of a Resolution passed by a majority of the members constituting the Assembly. In all circumstances the matter must be referred, under the aforementioned conditions, to the National Assembly every three months.

178ARTICLE 70

179The Amir shall conclude treaties by Decree and shall communicate them immediately, accompanied by relevant details, to the National Assembly. After ratification, sanction and publication in the Official Gazette the treaty shall have force of law.

180Peace treaties and treaties of alliance, treaties pertaining to State domains, to its natural wealth, to sovereignty rights, to citizens' public or private rights, treaties relating to shipping and residence, and treaties involving the State Treasury in certain expenditure unprovided for in the Budget or involving an amendment to the laws of Kuwait, shall require, for their enforcement, an enactment of a law. In no circumstance shall the treaty include any secret proviso conflicting with its disclosed terms.

181ARTICLE 71

182Where incidents requiring urgent action occur between sessions of the National Assembly or during its dissolution the Amir may, in such cases, promulgate decrees that shall have force of law provided they do not infringe on the Constitution or tamper with the estimates appearing in the Budgetary Law.

183Such decrees shall be submitted to the National Assembly within fifteen days of their promulgation should the Assembly be in session, and at its first meeting following its dissolution should it have been dissolved, or following its lawful prorogation. Where the decrees are not so submitted, their force of law shall ipso facto cease, without necessity for the promulgation of a Resolution to that purport, with retroactive effect. Should they, however, upon submission, be unratified by the Assembly, their force of law shall cease retroactively save where the Assembly considered sanctioning their enforcement at the previous session or where it considered settling in another manner any measures resulting therefrom.

184ARTICLE 72

185The Amir shall, by means of decrees, lay down the necessary rules for the enforcement of laws in such manner as to avoid any amendment there to, or suspension thereof, or exemption from their execution. The Law may provide instruments of a lower order than the Decree for the enactment of the necessary regulations to govern its enforcement.

186ARTICLE 73

187The Amir shall, by means of decrees, lay down control regulations and other necessary rules for the organization of public offices and departments in such manner as to avoid conflict with the laws.

188ARTICLE 74

189The Amir shall appoint civil and military personnel and political representatives to foreign States and shall discharge them in compliance with the Law. He shall also receive representatives of foreign States delegated to the country.

190ARTICLE 75

191The Amir may, by Decree, grant pardon or attenuate punishment. Amnesty, however, may not be granted save by Law and only in respect of offenses committed prior to the proposal of a law granting amnesty.

192ARTICLE 76

193The Amir shall award orders of merit in accordance with the Law.

194ARTICLE 77

195Currency shall be minted in the Amir's name in accordance with the Law.

196ARTICLE 78

197Upon his investiture, the yearly allowance of the Head of the State for the period of his rule shall be determined by Statute.

198CHAPTER III. THE LEGISLATURE

199ARTICLE 79

200No law shall be promulgated save upon ratification by the National Assembly and sanction by the Amir.

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