NEWS AND EVENTS
February 20, 2014
Lawmakers Discuss Draft Laws
Members of the lower house of parliament continued February 18 discussing the issues included in the agenda of the regular session of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis.
A special emphasis was placed by the lawmakers to considering – in the first reading – the bill “On the Openness of the Activities of Government and Management Bodies”. The necessity in its elaboration and adoption of this draft law was outlined in the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country put forward during a joint session of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis in November 2010.
The bill is directed at the materialization of the constitutional right of citizens for information, and it clearly defines the procedures in letting the wider public know of the activities of government and management bodies. The draft law also envisages issues in securing the transparency and openness of the activities of government bodies, of the policy of reforms being marshaled in the country, the foreign and internal policy of the nation with an eye to political pluralism, diversity of views on the events taking place in the country and abroad.
The draft law identifies its principal objectives in securing the access of individuals and corporate entities to information, in raising the liability of government and management bodies and their officials for the decisions taken, as well as in defining the order of dissemination of information on the activities of government and management agencies.
The bill regulates the major principles in the openness of activities of government and management bodies, including the universality of access and authenticity of information they present, openness of their activities, the freedom of seeking, receiving and disseminating information, observance of rights and legitimate interests of citizens in the protection against encroachment on their honor and dignity, interference in their private life, the rights of corporate entities for the protection of their business reputation in presenting information on the activities of government and management bodies.
It was noted at the session that in accordance with the Resolution of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in March-December 2013 in Samarkand and Bukhara regions, it was for the first time that a law experiment was organized to test the norms of this draft law. The experiment sought to further improve the law provisions of the bill, to obtain appraisal of probable consequences in the realization of norms of the draft law on the sustainable operation of the system of government and the provision for information security in this sphere. A complex of measures has been implemented during the law experiment dedicated to the practical execution of the provisions of the bill, the evaluation of the effectiveness of its norms in securing openness and transparency in the activities of government agencies, the extensive access to information on their activities for mass media, civil society institutions and the wider public.
Lawmakers, representatives of political parties, NNOs, mass media have taken an active part in the realization of actions within the law experiment.
The implementation of the law experiment has clearly demonstrated in practice once again that the adoption of the draft law “On the Openness of the Activities of Government and Management Bodies” is to broaden the scope of mechanisms in the realization of constitutional rights of citizens for information on the activities of government bodies and, along with that, is to boost the responsibility by and large of government and management agencies for the quality of decisions they take. In general, the adoption of this bill is expected to legal foundations of access of individuals and corporate entities to information on the activities of government and management bodies.
Representatives of all deputy groups of political parties and of the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan spoke during the comprehensive discussion of the draft law. Proposals were put forward for the more clear-cut elaboration of the issue in fixing in the bill the list of powers of leaders in the area of ensuring the openness of government and management agencies with an aim to refine and unify their activities directed at securing openness, and the eventual normative regulation of processes in the definition of measures of liability for violations in this sphere. Members of deputy groups of political parties stressed the vital importance of the draft law being passed for the processes of the intensification of democratization and liberalization of public life, the compliance of the concept of the draft law with the principal policy documents of the political parties in the country.
Following the discussion of all the proposals, the Legislative Chamber approved the concept of the draft law “On the Openness of the Activities of Government and Management Bodies” and passed it in the first reading, by commissioning a relevant committee to work out a document for the consideration in the second reading.
Afterwards, the deputies considered the bill “On the Introduction of Addenda to the Economic Procedural Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, which fixes law norms for the further perfection of economic legal proceedings, for securing a greater accessibility of justice, saving time and reducing the expenses by entrepreneurship entities, for effective use of opportunities offered by modern information and communication technologies in the activities of courts.
It was noted during the deliberations that the current economic procedural legislation fails to envisage the possibility of holding a session by way of using the system of video conference communication. In accordance with the acting norms, the consideration of cases is carried out at trial sessions on the principle of location of the court that deals with the case. Such an order is due to considerable expenses in time and funds for the side which is located in a region other than the one that houses the court, while in the consideration of the case in the court of appeal – for both sides. In this regard, the introduction of addenda proposed by the draft law will allow the participants of the case, including entrepreneurship entities located outside the region where the court considering the case is situated, to take part in trial proceedings staying within the region they reside in and thus minimize their financial expenses and save time.
The legislators underscored that in general the introduction of the system of video conference communication will bring about more favorable conditions for the realization of right for judicial protection, secure the accessibility of justice and raise the effectiveness in the activity of the Supreme Economic Court in the arrangement and oversight of the activities of the entire system of economic courts.
Later on, the members of the Legislative Chamber enquired the next issue in the agenda. On 28 December 2013, the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Environmental Oversight” entered into force that was elaborated as part of the realization of initiatives outlined in the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country. In order to bring the current legislation into line with the passed law on the introduction of amendments and addenda into some legislative acts deriving from the adoption of the Law “On Environmental Oversight.” In particular, the draft law envisages the introduction of amendments and addenda to a number of legislative acts of the country, including the laws “On Nature Protection”, “On the Protection and Use of the Flora” and “On the Protection and Use of the Fauna”.
In general, the adoption of the bill is to rule out inconsistence of norms and provisions, secure the uniformity of normative regulation, application of terms and definitions regulating the relations in the field of environmental control. Following the answers to questions and the comprehensive discussion of the bill, the lawmakers conceptually approved it, adopted it in the first reading and ordered the responsible committee to prepare a document for consideration in the next reading.
The session participants considered also other issues within the powers of the Legislative Chamber. Notably, they adopted the draft law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Stock Companies and the Protection of Rights of Shareholders” in the third reading in new edition.
(Source:Information Service Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis Republic of Uzbekistan)