The Shura Council is one of the State’s authorities defined by the Basic Law of Governance and is based on holding fast to the rope of God and adhering to the sources of Islamic legislation. Members of the Council are keen to serve the public interest, preserve the unity of the community, the entity of the State, and the interests of the nation. The Council consists of a speaker and one hundred and fifty members chosen by the King from among the people of knowledge, experience and specialization.
The Shura Council was established upon the entry of King Abdul Aziz - may God have mercy on him - to Makkah in 1924, and the Shura Council passed through several stages until it reached its current form, and these stages are: - 1- The National Shura Council,1924. 2- The National Shura Council, 1925. 3- The Shura Council, 1926. 4- The Shura Council, 1927. 5- The Shura Council, 1928. 6- The Shura Council, 1992.
It starts from the date specified in the royal decree issued for its formation for a period of four Hijri years, from 3/3 / - 14 to 2/3 / --14.
The seat of the Shura Council is in the city of Riyadh, and it is permissible for the Council to meet in another body within the Kingdom if the King deems it.
The Shura Council expresses its opinion on the general policies of the State, which are referred to it by the Prime Minister, and in particular: A- Discussing the public plan for economic and social development and expressing opinion regarding it. B- Study the laws, regulations, treaties, international agreements and concessions, and suggest what it sees in their regard. C- Interpretation of regulations. D- Discussing the annual reports submitted by ministries and other government agencies and proposing what it deems appropriate regarding them.
Article Sixteen of the Shura Council Law clarified that a meeting is not legal unless it is attended by at least two-thirds of its members, including the Speaker or his representative.
The Shura Council has to propose a draft of a new law or to propose to amend an enforceable law by studying this in the Council, and the Speaker of the Shura Council shall submit whatever the Council decides to the King, according to Article Twenty-Three of its law.
Article Forty-four of the Basic Law of Governance clarified that the constitutional authorities in the State consist of the judicial authority, the executive authority, and the regulatory authority, and these authorities are the same as those that are usually referred to when talking about the constitutional status of each country. The Shura Council is entrusted with the task of the regulatory authority, which other constitutions call the legislative authority, and it is shared by the Council of Ministers. In other words, the Shura Council shares with the Council of Ministers the regulatory authority of the State, which is concerned with setting forth laws and regulations that achieve the public interest, in accordance with the provisions of Article Sixty-seven of the Basic Law of Governance.
The Shura Council Law derives its legal framework and strength from the Holy Quran and the Authentic Sunnah, and its regulatory framework from the Basic Law of Governance issued in the year 1992, where As Article 8 of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: “Ruling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on justice, consultation and equality in accordance with Islamic Sharia”. Article 68 of the same law stipulates: “The Shura Council shall be established and its law shall define the method of its formation and the manner in which it exercises its powers and the selection of its members ...
Draft laws and regulations, and the like, are discussed in two stages: The first stage: the committee chairman recites the draft law, then the chairman gives the members the right to speak to make their comments regarding the idea of the draft law and the desired interest of it, which is called convenience. After that comes the committee's response to those remarks, and then the committee shall vote on the acceptance of the principle of the draft law. The second stage: After approval of the draft law in principle, an article is submitted to the Council for discussion, and in a subsequent session - upon the request of the committee chairman - after the study of the articles is completed, the committee responds to the members’ suggestions, comments and inquiries, and votes on them. Upon the request of the committee chairman - and the approval of the Council Speaker - the members’ comments and inquiries regarding some articles may be answered and voted on in the same session.
Agreements and treaties are studied by the relevant committee. Then they are put up for discussion in the council. The committee can in the same session or in a subsequent session respond to the members ’remarks, questions, and proposals, and then vote on them as a whole.
In the event of non-approval or reservations regarding these agreements and treaties, or any of their provisions, the reasons of such action shall be clarified, and a decision shall be issued by the council.
The number of members of the council is one hundred and fifty.
A member must be: A - to be a Saudi national by origin and birth. B - He must be known for his or her rightfulness and efficiency. C- He or she must not be less than thirty years old.
The king chooses the members from among the people of knowledge, experience and competence. The rights and duties of the members and all their affairs are determined by a royal order.
The duties and tasks of a member of the council are: Attending sessions in the council and expressing opinion on the topics listed in its agenda, attending the meetings of the specialized committee of which he or she is a member, studying the topics referred to him or her or what is assigned to him or her by the chairman of the committee. He or she has the right to attend and participate in the work of the special and joint committees, which he or she is assigned to, study the topics entrusted to him or her, and expressrs opinion towards them.
- Participating in voting on the decisions that have been discussed.
- Participating in the investigation committee that is formed to investigate with any member who violates some of his or her duties. A member is investigated by a committee consisting of three members from the council chosen by the speaker of the council.
Freedom of opinion: The law has guaranteed for a council member the right to freely express his or her opinions and ideas, whether in council sessions or in committee meetings. Through this freedom, the right and the plurality of opinions, the constructive criticism with complete objectivity and manners are achieved in order to reach a wise decision.
Immunity: It is not permissible to take criminal action against a member of the council if he or she violates his or her duties, except with prior permission from the council, and accordingly, investigation and trial of a member of the Shura Council shall be carried out according to the rules and procedures of the investigation and trial of the Shura Council member.
Submitting proposals and desires for draft laws. This right is stated in Article Twenty-Three of the council’s bylaw which permits every ten members the right to propose a new draft law, or amend an enforceable law, which means that the matter is open to the council to propose to fill any gap , change an old text , or deficiency that some members see in the public or the private sector.
Financial rights: a member of the Shura Council receives a monthly compensation, an annual housing allowance, in addition to a transportation allowance during his or her membership term in the council, with the possibility of retaining his or her public job during the his or her membership - without a salary - and he or she can return to it upon the termination of his or her membership in the council. As far as allowances, bonuses, and compensation go, he or she can receive the amount of financial privileges as an occupant of the fifteenth rank, without affecting the retirement pension that he or she may be entitled to.
Vacations: Members of the Shura Council enjoy annual regular leave (parliamentary leave). The amount of forty-five days, starting from July 23, until September 5).
Exemption request: The law gave the council member the right to request his exemption from membership in the council for any reason whatsoever.
If the draft proposed for voting (draft bylaw or bylaw) consists of several articles, then it must be voted on it article by article, and if the proposed draft or one of its articles is an article consisting of several paragraphs, then the speaker of council may decide to vote on that article in whole or paragraph by paragraph. If the voting on the entire article did not obtain the required majority, so the speaker of council may put it to the vote paragraph by paragraph, and if no article or paragraph achieved the required majority in the form proposed by the committee or by any alternative proposal or text , and the committee considered that deleting it would result in a breach of the subject, it may request a re-examination of it.
The rules for the work of the council and committees stipulated in its twenty article, that in the event that a member objects to the results of the polling and counting the votes, he or she must raise the objection to the speaker of the council within three days from the date of the voting session at its first meeting, and the member who raised the objection shall be informed of that.
The council is currently composed of fourteen committees specialized.
The Shura Council believes that the parliamentary system is one of the main ingredients in world affairs. Parliaments are gaining increasing importance and intervening with effectiveness in international relations in general. From this concept, the Shura Council was keen to: participate in the various activities of parliamentary unions in which the council is a member, as well as in the relevant meetings and forums, form friendship groups with international councils and parliaments and exchange bilateral visits with them and exchange bilateral visits with other parliaments.