Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled on Saturday that it will not grant the Minister of Social Solidarity the authority to remove the boards of directors for NGOs.
The Minister of Social Solidarity, in accordance with Article 42 of the Law on Associations and NGOs No. 84 of 2002, supposedly has the authority to dismiss NGO boards.
The court verdict ruled that Article 42 is unconstitutional.
Local news website Masrawy reported that the ruling invalidated the authority of the Minister of Social Solidarity to dissolve NGOs and any associations in the case of activity changes or receiving foreign funds.
The court concluded that it is not possible to grant the Minister of Social Solidarity or his representative the power to remove the boards of directors of associations without judicial verdict.
In its decision, the SCC stated that Article 75 of the constitution guarantees freedom of citizens to form civil associations and institutions on a democratic basis.
The court said that the constitution prohibits administrative bodies from interfering in NGO affairs or dissolving their boards of directors or board of trustees, except by a judicial ruling.
SCC stated that constitution also prohibits the establishment and continuation of associations or institutions whose activity is secret, and of a military or paramilitary nature.
The court added that the right of citizens to form civil associations and their related rights and other public freedoms are all constitutional foundations. For this purpose, the constitution, in Article 75, guarantees the independence of NGOs and their bodies in their affairs, to practice activities freely, and to achieve their objectives.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm