The Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan  
 

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Organization and the rules of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Parliamentary control

Along with the basic function of the parliament which is lawmaking, there is yet another important aspect of the activity of the supreme legislative body - to exercise controlling powers. This area of action which determines the powers of the parliament to control implementation of laws as well as other acts is known as the institution of parliamentary oversight, which is an integral function of both the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis respectively. Peculiarities of parliamentary oversight with regard to the upper chamber of the national parliament is that the Senate being a legislative body of regional representation conducts this important function from the point of view of maintenance of a legal balance among regions and the country as a whole. Since members of the Senate work in parliament only during plenary sessions (which, as a rule, convenes 4-6 times a year) in the remaining period they are able to pay more attention to overseeing the implementation of laws along with their main professional business. Being in the field, «field» senators receive citizens on a regular basis that, in turn, stipulates for exercising oversight powers of parliament.
Deputies of the lower chamber working in the parliament on a permanent basis are more involved in the lawmaking process since they have the right of legislative initiative.
Thus, they represent fractions of political parties and accordingly deputies are inclined to carry out parliamentary oversight more in the light of the political platform of their parties.
Developing and improving the institution of parliamentary oversight continues to be relevant everywhere.
There is a search for new and effective forms of parliamentary oversight in Uzbekistan along with conducting analysis of foreign experience, and new mechanisms of parliamentary oversight are examined based on the accumulated national experience.

Forms of parliamentary oversight currently applied by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis:
Parliamentary inquiry. The Constitution empowers the Senate of the Oliy Majlis to conduct parliamentary oversight by means of a parliamentary inquiry. It can be made directly by the upper chamber or senators individually. Parliamentary inquiry is a special form of reference of the Senate and its members to officials of state bodies on the most significant problems requiring a reasonable explanation on issues which fall within their competence. The parliamentary inquiry can be addressed to a broad circle of heads of executive authorities, ministers, chairmen of state committees, their assistants, heads of local governing bodies, law enforcement bodies on issues which fall within their competence, as well as with a view of protection of electorate interests, including on the basis of appeals and complaints from citizens with regard to socially significant matters.
Under Article 31 of the Law «On the Rules of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan» a parliamentary inquiry might be sent to the following officials:
1) Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
2) Members of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
3) General Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
4) Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
5) Chairman of the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
6) Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
7) Chairman of the Central Election Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
8) Chairman of the Chamber of Accounts of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
9) Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
10) other officials of bodies of the government and management.

However, there is a restriction when addressing a parliamentary inquiry to judiciary and investigating bodies as well as bodies conducting an inquest that an inquiry may not be relevant to a specific case in charge. This is done to preserve a balance between different branches of power, maintain confidentiality and avoid interference with the administration of justice.
As noted above, there are two types of parliamentary inquiry. First, a parliamentary inquiry made on behalf of the Senate. At first, the committee of the upper chamber of the parliament, examining a particular issue (citizens’ appeals or the results of study of implementation of a particular law) gives grounds for the inquiry to be addressed to a respective government official. The main point in this inquiry is that it is necessary for parliament to get an explanation by examining the implementation of the relevant acts, citizen’s appeals and for other reasons. Next, after the corresponding suggestion is put on the agenda of the Senate’s session, the latter decides to address a parliamentary inquiry to the official in charge. Then, a Senate resolution have a parliamentary inquiry is sent directly to the designated official within 10 days. Together with the text of inquiry there is also a request to state and explain his/her position on the issue. A response to the parliamentary inquiry of the Senate is given by the official at a plenary session of the Senate not later than 10 days from receipt of the inquiry. The responsible committee conducts a parliamentary inquiry and according to the results of their deliberations adopts a resolution proceeding from the resolution of the Senate and, when necessary, supervises execution of recommendations or instructions contained in the resolution of the upper chamber.
A second type of parliamentary inquiry is an individual inquiry made directly by a senator. The senator instructs the corresponding committee of the Senate to conduct a parliamentary inquiry. The senator’s parliamentary inquiry is an official document and it is duly formalized by his (her) official letterhead and signed by the author of the parliamentary inquiry, which should contain:
· A brief substantiation of reasons for the inquiry;
· Name and surname of the official, whom the parliamentary inquiry is addressed to, and his (her) official position;
· A demand to submit the necessary information (documents) or examine specific data.

The official is obliged to respond to the senator’s parliamentary inquiry in writing and attach the required documents or results of examination: not later than 15 days in case of a demand to submit information (data or documents); not later than 30 days in case of a demand to examine the data which of is of interest to the senator.
A response to the parliamentary inquiry can be deliberated at the next meeting of the corresponding committee of the Senate. If the deadline for giving a response is not met or if the senator is not satisfied with the inquiry, the committee has the right to introduce a proposal to submit information regarding the parliamentary inquiry of the senator or deliberate it during a plenary session.
Hearings and requiring documents. Every year the Senate conducts hearings and debates about the reports on the activities of the Ombudsman for human rights of the Oliy Majlis, the Chamber of Accounts of the Republic of Uzbekistan, annual reports of the General Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Chairman of the State Committee for the environmental protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Chairman o the Board of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan. A resolution,based on the outcome of hearings, is adopted to be sent to the Legislative Chamber.
Committees of the Senate as well as senators have the right to request documents, expert conclusions, statistical data and other necessary information from state bodies and other organizations and officials. The required information should be submitted by the corresponding state body, organization or official not later than 10 days after the demand was made.

Hearing of the Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Role of committees of the Senate in conducting parliamentary oversight. Committees play a significant role in conducting parliamentary oversight by the upper chamber of parliament to ensure the appropriate implementation of different pieces of legislation. The work of committees in this given area is regulated by Regulations of conducting an oversight of implementation of laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan, resolutions of the Senate (Kengash of the Senate) and resolutions of committees of the Senate by bodies of state authority and managing bodies.
Committees of the upper chamber carry out an oversight activity based on the committee’s work plan, the analysis of the implementation of laws, the committee’s consideration of the results of the study of the implementation of laws and law administration, control of timely consideration of committee resolutions and execution of Senate resolutions by state authorities and managing bodies. The Senate
committees’ plans are drafted to make sure state programmes and Senate action programmes are realised and also on the basis of the directives of the Chairman of the Senate and the Kengash of the Senate and the outcome of conferences, «round tables» discussions and workshops organized by Senate committees.

Diagram. Quantity of meetings with citizens and processing their appeals in
the context of committees of the Senate of Oliy Majlis in 2006

Overall objective of oversight activity of the Senate:
1) Revealing shortcomings hindering the appropriate implementation of laws;
2) Examining conformity of subordinate pieces of legislation with regulations of laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
3) Revealing law regulations which are practically not applied;
4) Making suggestions to correct made in the implementation of laws;
5) Practical application of information presented at conferences, «round tables» discussion and workshops held by institutional bodies of the Senate;
6) Deepening theoretical knowledge and practical skills of «field» senators and representatives of standing commissions of local Kengashes of people’s deputies;
7) Revealing the most relevant regional problems and recommending solutions;
8) Improving legal awareness and ensuring the supremacy of laws in the society.

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