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‘Law can revoke nationality’

KUWAIT CITY, April 17: The Court of Cassation has established a new principle through its ruling over the appeal filed by a Kuwaiti citizen against the decision to withdraw his citizenship when the government’s decisions on the revocation of his nationality by birth was subjected to judicial oversight. The court declared that it is an administrative act and does not fall within the scope of acts of sovereignty, reports Al-Rai daily. The withdrawal of the plaintiff’s citizenship is against article No. 27 of the Constitution which states that, “Kuwaiti nationality is defined by the law, and it is not permissible to revoke or withdraw it except within the limits of the law”.

The court overturned the verdict of the Court of First Instance in support of the appeal, and ruled the judge’s lack of jurisdiction to consider the case for revoking citizenship. It affirmed that the judgment is right, the decision to revoke the nationality is not a sovereign matter, and it is within the jurisdiction of the courts, thus rendering the appellant’s lawsuit to be referred back to the Court of First Instance for adjudication. In its ruling, the court explained that the appealed ruling did not differentiate between the two types of decisions – “grant and withdrawal” – related to nationality issues.

It ruled that the state has no jurisdiction to hear the case, and it is a flawed judgment that should be distinguished, especially since the appellant’s lawsuit does not relate to the decision to grant or not to grant him citizenship. The appellant’s dispute falls out of the scope of the acts of sovereignty. It is related to an act of administration that is concerned with the administrative department of the highest court.

Representing the appellant was the former MP Lawyer Abdullah Al-Kandari, who argued that the ruling was based on article 27 of the Constitution, which prohibits the withdrawal or revocation of nationality except by virtue of a legal text. He stressed that the decision issued to withdraw the nationality of his client was not based on a text of the law, but was an administration decision, and thus it is subject to judicial oversight. Lawyer Al-Kandari said, “Article 166 of the Constitution gives everyone the right to sue.

The nationality by virtue of birth is not entitled to withdrawal administratively. There are decisions related to nationality that are subject to judicial oversight.” He went on to say, “The case was filed against the government because of its arbitrariness in using the text related to nationality revocation unlawfully and in a manner that might mean injustice and represent blackmail against those who violate its policies. The case was also aimed for the judiciary to decide on this fateful issue. Such a verdict is a victory for freedoms and cuts the way for arbitrariness.”

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