Shoura Council members failed to present equal blood money proposal as amendment in draft Civil Transactions Law
The three members, who mooted a proposal for equal blood money for a man and woman and a Muslim and non-Muslim, were unable to present their recommendation during Monday’s Shoura Council session, which approved the draft Civil Transactions Law.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learnt from well-informed sources at the Council that the Shoura members — Latifa Al-Shaalan, Faisal Al-Fadel, and Atta Al-Subaiti — were poised to submit the recommendation to add a new paragraph to Article 138 of the draft Civil Transactions Law.
However, the session, chaired by Vice President Mishaal Al-Salmi, denied them permission to present their defense of the recommendation.
According to the sources, the members had earlier received a letter from Suleiman Al-Fifi, head of the Council’s Islamic Affairs Committee, rejecting their proposal regarding the blood money but the members vowed to go ahead with their decision to present their proposal.
The proposed amendment in the draft law was as follows: “It is prohibited to show discrimination in the amount of compensation in a felony against a person on the basis of gender, religion, or any other forms of discrimination.”
The committee rejected the proposal for this amendment on the basis of the jurisprudential justifications, citing the examples of several Arab and Muslim countries where blood money of man and woman and Muslim and non-Muslim is not equal apart from other procedural discrepancies in this respect.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette had obtained a copy of the defense of the members in favor of their amendment. In their justifications, the three members argued that equality in blood money is based on equality in human dignity and that the right to life among human beings is to be protected regardless of their gender and beliefs.
They argued that equality in dignity is one of the principles established by Islam and the Saudi Arabia’s Basic System of Governance, and that the recommendation promotes tolerance, moderation and competitiveness, which are among the goals of Vision 2030.
The members emphasized that there is no single definitive text that differentiates in the amount of blood money between a woman and man or a Muslim and non-Muslim.
The response to the argument of the members by the committee is that equality in blood money is based on mental and logical consistency. If one man kills another, the Shariah stipulates equal retribution between a man and woman but it differentiates in other matters related to the crime such as payment of blood money.
The Shoura members countered the jurisprudential statements that the committee cited for their position in favor of the inequality in blood money by opposite jurisprudential statements that favored their recommendation.
They also drew attention to the statements of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during his interviews with Saudi and foreign media in which he emphasized that religious edicts (fatwas) shall be issued after taking into account of the factors of time and place, and not to comply fully to any specific school of jurisprudence or a particular religious scholar.
They also highlighted the affirmation of the Crown Prince for openness to the four schools of jurisprudence, stating that the difference between these schools is a healthy matter and a matter to be considered with leniency.
The members also mentioned that the committee cited countries that are not equal in blood money, such as Libya, but on the contrary most of the Arab and Muslim countries, including the neighboring countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are providing equal blood money.
They emphasized in their response that their proposal does not contradict, as the committee claimed, with what was stated in a royal order issued ten years ago, which approved the decision of the General Assembly of the Supreme Court in the matter of individual blood money.
According to the members, this is not a recommendation over a report, but rather a recommendation that includes a legislative provision on a law that will be issued by a royal decree, and the decree is the most appropriate tool for approving legislation.
They stated that if they ratify the committee’s opinion for the sake of argument, this would necessitate the rejection of a number of other provisions in this draft law itself, such as moral compensation, which will be approved even though there are previous royal orders that contradict it.
The three members mentioned that the committee’s claim that one of the articles of the law is sufficient in its generality and that it can refer to the provisions of the Islamic law is an inaccurate statement, because this generality and this reference do not address the problem of discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex or religion.
They also emphasized that addressing the problems of the judicial reality through legislative solutions is one of the objectives included in the royal order, which stipulates the formation of the basic committee for the preparation of the four key legislations, about which announcement was made by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in February 2021.
The Crown Prince said that these four laws would represent a new wave of judicial reforms in the Kingdom.
The Crown Prince had said then that these laws are being introduced as part of the government’s landmark measures to reform judicial institutions as well as to improve the legislative environment in the Kingdom.
Among these four laws, the Cabinet has already approved the Personal Status Law and the Law of Evidence while the Civil Transactions Law has got the clearance of the Shoura Council on Monday, facilitating its submission to the Cabinet for approval while the Penal Code for Discretionary Sanctions is in the process of legislation.