Constitution of Afghanistan (1923)

Constitution of Afghanistan (1923)

Part I - Fundamental Code of the Exalted Government of AfghanistanEdit

Article 1. The Exalted Government of Afghanistan controls with full independence the management of its internal and external matters. According to the order and sacred will of His Majesty, all places and parts of the country are comprised in one corporate whole, and no distinction whatever is made between different parts of the kingdom.

Article 2. The religion of Afghanistan is the holy religion of Islam. The followers of other religions, Hindus and Jews, who live in Afghanistan are accorded protection, provided they do not disturb the public peace and customs.

Article 3. The capital of the kingdom is Kabul. The people of the whole of Afghanistan are all equal in the eyes of the Government, and the inhabitants of Kabul have no special privileges as compared with those of other cities and towns in Afghan territory.

Article 4. In view of the extraordinary services rendered by His Majesty for the progress, exaltation and independence of the Afghan nation, the noble Afghan nation engages that the Kingdom of Afghanistan will pass to the children of this King, the well-wisher of Afghans, following the principle of descent in accordance with the choice of His Majesty the King and the people. His Majesty the King at the time of his accession to the throne engages in the presence of the nobility and public that he will transact the affairs of Government according to the Islamic law and this fundamental code, will regard the independence of Afghanistan and be true to his country and nation.

Article 5. The person of the King is the servant and defender of the true religion of Islam and the commander and King of all Afghan subjects.

Article 6. Government affairs are managed by the Ministers of State, who are selected and appointed by the sacred decision of His Majesty. Every Minister is regarded responsible for the affairs in his charge, and hence no responsibility attached to the Royal person of the King.

Article 7. The mention of the Royal name in the Friday sermon, the striking of coin in that name, the institution of ranks and dignities according to the special rules, the grant of orders, the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Cabinet, their dismissal and transfer, the ratification of general regulations, the announcement of their operation, the maintenance and execution of Islamic and State Law, the general command of the Afghan forces, the declaration of war, the conclusion of agreements and treaties in general, the grant of pardon and remission of sentences passed by law, both generally and in special cases, are all regarded as exalted subjects of the King.


Part II - General Rights of Afghan SubjectsEdit

Article 8. Every person who lives in Afghanistan is called, without any religious or sectarian distinction, an Afghan subject. Afghan nationality can, according to special rules, be acquired or abandoned.

Article 9. All Afghan subjects possess personal freedom and do not interfere with or destroy the freedom of others.

Article 10. Personal freedom is immune from any sort of infringement or interference, and no one can be arrested and punished in the absence of order passed under the Islamic, or State law. The principle of slavery is totally abolished in Afghanistan, and no one, either man or woman, can employ any person as a slave.

Article 11. Publications and newspapers in Afghanistan are free according to the rules specified by them. The publication of a newspaper is the right of the Afghan Government and Afghan subjects only. In regard to foreign publications, the Exalted Government of Afghanistan can impose certain conditions and restrictions.

Article 12. In accordance with the regulations issued, Afghan subjects can form every kind of company for purposes of trade, art and agriculture.

Article 13. If Afghan subjects, individually or collectively, find Government officials or others acting against the great Islamic or State law, they can file a petition in the Government offices. If the offices to which application has been made do not take any action upon or pay attention to their petition, complaint should be made to their superiors in successive degree. In case none of these take any action, they can submit a petition direct to His Majesty.

Article 14. Education is altogether free. Generally, every Afghan subject is permitted and authorized to give general or special tuition in accordance with the general code of the Education Department, but foreigners, except those employed for purposes of education, are not authorized to open or manage any school in Afghanistan.

Article 15. Schools in Afghanistan generally are under the supervision and inspection of Government. The Government takes into careful consideration all such means and plans for the educational and national progress of all Afghan subjects as tend to good administration and harmony, but it does not interfere with educational principles concerning the matters of religion and belief of "Abl-i-Zimma" and other protected persons.

Article 16. All Afghan subjects enjoy equal rights in Government service under the great Islamic and State law.

Article 17. All Afghan subjects are employed as may be required in Government departments according to their qualifications and abilities.

Article 18. Revenue and fixed taxes are assessed under the special codes according to the wealth and position of Afghan subjects from whom they are collected.

Article 19. In Afghanistan every person is free to enjoy the money and landed property which he possesses, and if a plot of land be required by the Government for the public benefit the Government can, according to the special code, acquire it on previous payment of its price to the owner.

Article 20. The residence and house of every Afghan subject are immune from any interference, and no one on behalf of either the Government or the public can enter the house of anyone forcibly and without permission except under an order passed in accordance with law.

Article 21. In the Courts of Justice the applications and complaints of the public are decided under the Islamic law and the principals of civil and criminal Courts.

Article 22. The corveé and forced labor are totally forbidden, but under the special code the work and duties which are incumbent in time of law are excepted from this rule.

Article 23. Nothing is to be recovered from the people beyond what is laid down in the State regulations.

Article 24. The rack and other forms of torture are totally forbidden, and no punishments which are not specified in the Civil and Military Penal Codes will be inflicted on anyone.


Part III - MinistersEdit

Article 25. In Afghanistan the business of Government is in the hands of Ministers of the Cabinet and of independent departments. The Cabinet meetings are presided over by His Majesty, and in the absence of His Majesty the Prime Minister will assume the presidential duties, and if there be no Prime Minister, the Minister of the senior Ministry will discharge these duties.

Article 26. A deputy who is appointed to officiate in the absence of a Minister has the same rights and powers as that Minister.

Article 27. Every year, before the general annual Festival of Independence, a Court is held by special orders of His Majesty, under the presidency of His Majesty himself. This Court will be composed of Government officials, nobility and gentry selected by His Majesty, before whom every Minister and head of a Department will state in a public speech the services and actions performed by them in the previous year.

Article 28. The Prime Minister and other Ministers are selected and appointed by His Majesty.

Article 29. To the Council of Ministers are referred all important affairs of Government, both foreign and domestic. The decisions of the Cabinet and agreements requiring ratification are brought into force after receiving the Royal Sign Manual.

Article 30. The Ministers carry out themselves matters connected with their Ministries so far as lies within their competence. They submit to His Majesty those which required to be referred to him direct, and to the Council of Ministers those which fall within the category of the latter's duties. This Council will discuss the matter according to the special Council code, and will record their opinion, finding and decision.

Article 31. The Ministers are responsible to the King jointly for the general policy of the Government and severally for the matters connected with their own Ministries.

Article 32. When His Majesty gives verbal orders to a Minister or other official regarding any matter, such order should be taken down and the Sign Manual obtained on it.

Article 33. If any Minister is brought to trial in connection with the duties of his appointment, such case will be referred to a special Court, and the proceedings of the trial will conform to the regulations of the relevant code, but the private cases of Ministers which do not concern their official position are referred to the Courts of Justice like the cases of other persons.

Article 34. If the special Court accuses any Minister, such Minister will be suspended until the final result of his case or until his acquittal.

Article 35. The list of Ministries and organization of the departments and their duties are specified in the Fundamental Code of Organizations.


Part IV - The Advisory Council of State and Advisory CommitteesEdit

Article 39. There is an Advisory Council of State in the capital and Advisory Committees at each headquarters of the provinces, districts of the first, second and third classes, and sub-divisions.

Article 40. The Committees and Council of State consist of ex officio and elected members.

Article 41. The ex officio members of the Committees are appointed from among the officials mentioned in the Fundamental Code of Organizations. The ex officio members, of the Council of State are equal in number to the elected members, and are chosen and appointed direct by His Majesty. Elected members are in all cases nominated and appointed by the public. The mode of their election is governed by the separate rules laid down in the Fundamental Code of Organizations.

Article 42. The following are the duties of the members of the Council of State and of the Committees, in addition to those indicated in the Fundamental Code of Organizations:

(a) To submit to the Government all proposals they may think necessary for the industrial, commercial, agricultural and educational progress of the country.
(b) With regard to the revenue, State taxes and other matters of Government, if they notice anything contrary to the principles of the codes, they can request and ask the Government to correct such defects.
(c) If they notice any encroachment or on infringement of the rights of the public granted in this code, they are entitled to report the matter to the Government.


Part V - CourtsEdit

Article 50. In the Courts of Justice, every kind of judicial procedure is publicly carried out. Some matters which are mentioned in the special code for Courts can be transacted secretly by the judges.

Article 51. Any person call propose to the Courts all lawful measures for the protection of his rights.

Article 52. The Courts of Justice cannot delay or prolong the bearing and decision of cases which concern them.

Article 53. All Courts are free from any kind of undue influence.

Article 54. The classes and ranks of Courts and their competence are given in detail in the Fundamental Code of Organizations.

Article 55. No one can appoint an Extraordinary Court outside the Courts of Justice for the settlement of any special dispute.


Part VI - Financial MattersEdit

Article 58. All Government taxes are collected according to the rules specially prescribed in this regard.

Article 59. A budget of Government revenue and expenditure is prepared annually. This budget forms the basis for all revenue and expenditure, and all revenue is collected and all expenditure disbursed according to it.

Article 60. After scrutiny and passing of the annual budget, a final statement of accounts will be prepared, in which exact figures of the revenue and expenditure of the year are shown.

Article 61. An Audit Office is constituted to examine and ascertain whether the budget code has been followed with regard to revenue and expenditure. There is a separate code dealing with the procedure of the Audit Office.

Article 62. There is a special code for the preparation of final statements of Recounts and of the budget, and for the procedure in scrutinizing and passing it.


Part VII - Miscellaneous ArticlesEdit

Article 68. Primary education is compulsory for and incumbent upon every Afghan subject. The classification and coordination of education are specified in a special code, which is to be followed.