Egypt’s High Constitutional Court (HCC) is set to rule Sunday on three highly-anticipated cases of national significance: the constitutionality of the Shura Council (the upper house of parliament that currently holds legislative power), the legality of the second Constituent Assembly that drafted the country’s standing constitution, passed amid controversy late last year, and two appeals against emergency law.
The first case on the Shura Council challenges the legality of the law that governed elections to the body. Notably, in June 2012, the HCC declared the People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) unconstitutional on the basis of the same electoral law. The People's Assembly was then dissolved.
The second case is a complaint challenging the legality of Egypt's second Constituent Assembly, which formulated the current constitution. The lawsuit challenges the criteria used to appoint members of the body by the People's Assembly.
The first Constituent Assembly, appointed by the People's Assembly dominated by Islamists making up approximately 70 percent of its number, was dissolved by an administrative court in April 2012.
Lastly, the HCC on Sunday is also set to look into two appeals calling for the dissolution of Law 162/1958, more popularly known as the emergency law. While the law is currently not in effect, the two complaints claim it can be used at any time by authorities to impose a state of emergency.
Emergency law was in place throughout the 30-year rule of former president Hosni Mubarak. Ending emergency law was among the key demands of the January 2011 uprising. Articles in the law allow the police to detain suspects indefinitely, eliminate constitutional rights and cut down on press freedoms.
While the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) cancelled emergency law in 2012, President Mohamed Morsi evoked it in January 2013. A one-month state of emergency was enforced in three Suez Canal cities following deadly clashes that started with the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.