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The Constitutional Court’s role as a constitutional bulwark is questioned

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On Tuesday, 17 October 2023, a webinar by the Moya Institute discussing the Constitutional Court (MK) as the “Fortress of the Constitution” was held by KOL. This event is a forum for thinkers and legal observers to express their views regarding the Constitutional Court, which has recently become a hot topic in Indonesia.

In the webinar, the figures present expressed their thoughts and views regarding the role of the Constitutional Court in protecting the constitution and various related issues. One of the speakers who spoke at this event was Hendardi, Chair of the Setara Institute Management Board. Hendardi discussed the development of the Constitutional Court over the last two decades.

The Chairman of the Setara Institute Management Board expressed his critical views in the webinar, “After 20 years, the Constitutional Court’s performance has moved away from its initial design, where the Constitutional Court was governed by the Constitution to uphold the constitutionality. The Constitutional Court has been transformed into a superbody institution that can barely be controlled, except through the ethics honorary court.”

Hendardi also criticized the lack of a check and balance mechanism at the Constitutional Court. He considers that the only institution that does not have a check and balances design is the MK, because the MK is used to violating various principles of constitutional justice, every time the DPR and the President change the MK Law, which technically limits the MK’s authority, they will cancel it.

Hendardi also highlighted the problem of the Constitutional Court’s integrity in maintaining conflicts of interest in examining cases,
“How can the Constitutional Court judge the Constitutional Court Law which regulates itself. This is contrary to the principle ‘a person should not be a judge in a case if they have an interest in the case.” Hendardi said in the Webinar on Tuesday (17/10/2023).

General Secretary of PP Muhammadiyah, Prof. Dr. Abdul Mu’ti, also attended the webinar and gave his views on the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the conditions for nominating presidential and vice presidential candidates.
“I have heard the Constitutional Court’s decision, I personally am not that surprised because it seems like there is a big scenario where in the end the lawsuit for change will not be granted but a ‘middle way’ will be taken.” Said the General Secretary of PP Muhammadiyah.

Prof. Abdul Mu’ti also commented on changes in the understanding of law in Indonesia where the statement in the explanation of the 1945 Constitution that a law should not only be seen from its material side but also the spiritual atmosphere that accompanies it now seems to have become increasingly dislodged so that various matters relating to laws and various legal decisions have indeed become instruments for certain purposes.

The conclusion of this webinar is that the role of the Constitutional Court in maintaining the constitution and justice is increasingly becoming a hot topic of debate. Those present had mixed views on the role and performance of the Constitutional Court, with some concerned about changes in the character of the institution. The debate regarding the constitution and the role of the Constitutional Court is likely to continue, reflecting the complexity of the legal challenges faced by Indonesia today.

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