Constitution Of Georgia
Adopted By The Constituent Assembliy
February 21, 1921
Georgia shall be a free, independent, and indivisible State. The permanent and unchangeable form of its political constitution shall be the democratic Republic.
The capital of Georgia shall be Tiflis.
The official language of Georgia shall be the Georgian language.
The flag of Georgian Republic shall be of cherry colour (dyed dogberry) with one black and one white stripe. The seal of the Georgian Republic shall be the effigy of Georges-Le-Blanc mounted on a horse, surmounted by seven astres.
The laws and decrees shall only enter into force after they have been published in the regular manner.
The territory of the state may neither be ceded, divided, nor sold. The enlargement of the territory or the rectification of the frontiers which may be contested is only possible by virtue of low.
The administrative division and the establishment or alteration of the autonomous boundaries (limits) can only be established by relevant legistature.
The Constitution shall be the supreme low of the state. Any low, any decree, any ordinance, or decision which is in contradiction with the principles or the spirit of the constitution can not be promulgated. All the authorities of the state are to fulfill the constitution and to apply its principles, in the legislative domain as well as in the administration.
The laws and decrees passed previous to the constitution shall remain in force if they are not in contradiction to the constitution and its principles.
The present Constitution remains in force permanently and uninterruptedly, except in cases provided for in the Constitution itself.
After the adoption of the Constitution the Constituent Assembly shall publish it with the signatures of its members.
The Georgian citizenship is acquired by birth, by birth, or by naturalization.
A Georgian citizen can not be at the same time the citizen of any other state.
A Georgian citizen can not renounce his nationality except after having fulfilled all his obligations to the state.
The detailed conditions of acquiring and loss of the citizenship shall be determined by law.
Rights of Citizens
All citizens are equal before the law.
There is no distinction of class.
No titles, except degrees of the universities, shall be conferred. Decorations are abolished; distinctive marks may be conferred by reasons of war.
Capital punishment is abolished.
Nobody can be condemned except by way of the judiciary, with the exception of disciplinary punishments provided for by law.
All citizens are judged by the same form of procedure.
Every person enjoys individual inviolability. Nobody can be arrested or deprived of his liberty in any other manner, nor submitted to search except by warrant of court of justice or by the medium of inquiry.
The administration can only proceed with the arrest on its own initiative on the following cases:
a) When the guilty person is surprised in the very act
b) When the guilty person is indicted on the place of the crime by the victim or by witness.
c) When any object establishing the guilt of the prisoner is found upon his person, or when incontestable signs or traces of the crime are found upon his person or his domicile.
The arrest of culprits by private individuals is lawful when they surprise him in the very act of crime and when there is a cause of fear of escape before the arrival of the agents of the public forces.
Any person arrested by order of the judiciary or administrative forces must be brought before the nearest court within 24 hours; in cases where the court is too far away in order to bring a culprit before it within that period, it may be prolonged, without, however, exceeding 48 hours.
The court must proceed immediately, in no case later than 24 hours to interrogate the prisoner. After this it may ordain, by written order, either the further detention of the culprit or his immediate release.
The judicial authorities are obliged , in cases where it happens that a person ahs been arrested in violation of the abovementioned rules, to look immediately into the case and to give immediate orders either for his release or to keep him in custody.
The domicile of a citizen is inviolable, and searches are only authorized in cases provided for by law.
Private correspondence is inviolable and can only be seized and examined in pursuance of a judgment of the court.
Every citizen has the right of moving and selecting his own residence; there is no restriction of this right except by order of the court of justice.
Every citizen enjoys full liberty of conscience. He can not be prosecuted nor have restrictions brought upon his political or civil rights for reason of his religion or convictions. Everybody has the right to profess his own religion, to change same, or not to have any religious creed. No person has the right to evade his political or civil obligations by calling upon his religion or convictions except in cases provided by law. The actions of a religious character modify in no way the civil rights or position of anybody.
Every citizen has the right to express his opinions, to propagate them verbal, by the public press, or by any other means without previous authority of the government. In this case he is only responsible to the court of justice for any crime committed.
The citizens of Georgia have the right of public assembly without arms, either indoors or in the open air.
The administration has the right to close any meeting if it becomes unlawful.
The citizens of the Georgian Republic have the right to form professional or other societies without previous authority of the government, provided that their object is not forbidden by law. The dissolution of such societies is only possible by order of a court of law.
The free development of the intellectual professions, commercial, industrial and agricultural pursuits is guarantied by the Republic.
The right of individual or collective petition is assured.
Workmen have the right to strike.
The citizens of both sexes enjoy equal political civil, economical and family rights.
Marriage is based on equal rights and upon mutual consent of husband and wife .The form and rules of marriage are determined by law. Children born in or out of wedlock have the same rights and duties. The mother has the right to seek and prove the paternity of a natural child by way of the courts, and this child by way of the courts, and this child has the same right to seek and prove the paternity.
No fugitive for political reasons and who takes refugee in this Republic can be extradited.
All official and private persons guilty of infractions of the above lows aimed at the rights of the citizens will be prosecuted according to the penal code.
In case of sedition within the country or in case of war, parliament has the right to suspend temporarily the constitutional guaranties contained in articles 19, 22, 225, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, and 38; in case of war the guaranties contained in article 21 may also be suspended, provided the accused be not amenable to justice of a council of war in the military zone. When parliament is not in session the government has the right on its own responsibility to suspend the constitutional guaranties above mentioned. But in this case it is obliged to convoke parliament immediately and to submit its decision.
In case of serious epidemics the government has the right to suspend temporarily the constitutional guaranties in articles 22, 25, 26, and 30, in so far as this act is necessary to fight the epidemic.
The rights and guaranties enumerated in the constitution do not exclude other rights and guaranties, although not yet formulated, but nevertheless run along the principles established by the constitution.
The representative body of the Georgian Republic is the Parliament of Georgia, composed of deputies elected by universal, equal, direct, secret, and proportional voting. Every citizen, without distinction of sex, enjoying all his rights and being over 20 years old has the right to take part in the elections. The parliament is elected for three years.
The rules of a legislative election are laid down by a special law.
Members of parliament are not held responsible for opinions expressed by them during the term of their office. The person of a member of parliament is inviolable. He can neither be arrested nor indicated without consent of parliament. An exception is made in the case of “flagrante delicto”, which must be brought immediately to the knowledge of parliament. A member arrested or indicated must be released immediately if parliament so desires.
Members of parliament may refuse to bear witness about facts which may have been entrusted to them in their quality of deputies. This right may be invoked even after the expiration of their term of office.
Members of parliament receive an indemnity fixed by law.
The cases of incompatibility between the office of deputy and the exercise of a public office or whatsoever profession shall be determined by law.
The sovereignty belonged to the entire nation. Parliament exercises this sovereignty within the limits fixed by the constitution.
Parliament votes on the laws, decrees, and decisions; the manner of their publication shall be fixed by a special law.
The powers of parliament are the following.
b) Supreme direction of the army of the Republic and in general of all the armed forces.
c) Declaration of war.
d) Ratification of treaties of peace, commerce, or other treaties with foreign powers.
e) The right of amnesty.
f) Making of the budget.
g) The right to make interior or foreign loans.
h) Appointment of officials as provided by the constitution.
i) General control of the executive power.
The sessions of parliament are public; but parliament has the right by special decision to hold entire or partial sessions behind closed doors.
Parliament decides itself the validity of the election of its members and resolves on all questions relative thereto.
All decisions of parliament are made by a simple majority of votes, unless another modus has been adopted by law or regulation.
The openings of parliamentary sessions necessitate the presence of at least half of the total number of Deputies.
Parliament has the right to interpellate the Government and to question it. Interpellations and questions are subject to rules determined by law or by regulation. Parliament has the right to nominate commissions of inquiry.
The parliament fixes itself by regulating the procedure of its discussions.
The annual sessions of the parliament begin on the first Sunday of November. The elections for the renewal of the parliament take place in the autumn, simultaneously in the entire Republic, and in time to permit the newly elected members to be present at the opening of parliament.
The operations of the parliament can only be suspended by parliament itself. During the interruptions in the work of the parliament the right to assemble this latter in extraordinary cases belong to the Government or to the bureau of the parliament. The assembly of the parliament is obligatory if one quarter of the number of deputies desires it.
The right of initiative belongs to:
Any member of parliament.
a) Any group of 5.000 electors.
b) Any group of 5 000 electons.
Parliament is obliged to submit any new law to a popular referendum if 30.000 electors require it in writing. The rules of referendum are determined by law.
Parliament elects its bureau yearly.
The executive power belongs to the Government of the Republic.
The President of The Government is elected by the parliament for the period of one year. The same president can only be reselected once.
The other ministers, members of the government are appointed by the President from among the citizens who have the right to take part in parliamentary elections.
Members of the government may not fill any other office or profession. They may only be members of parliament or of the councils of self-government.
The president of the government is the supreme representative of the Republic. He appoints the representatives of Georgia to other powers, and it is to him that the representatives of foreign powers are accredited. In the absence of a government decision which may find itself obstructed, the president may by exceptional right have recourse to the armed forces of the Republic, but he must inform parliament immediately. The ordinances of laws and by-laws relative thereto emanate from the president of the government, who, however does not have the right to arrest the action of the laws or to hinder its execution. The president of the government has the right to order the extraordinary control of republic or local administrations, or the revision of particular cases, according to the rules determined by law. The president has no other rights except those conferred on him by the constitution.
The president of the government has a lieutenant. In the absence of the president his attributes devolve upon his lieutenant.
The general rights and duties of government are:
a) To assure the supreme direction of the affairs of the Republic according to its laws.
b) To watch over the application of the Republic and the execution of its laws.
c) To put before parliament its plans for laws, as well as its conclusions about plans of laws emanating from the parliament or from the people.
d) To defend the external interests of the Republic.
e) To safeguard the Republic from external dangers and to defend its independence.
f) To insure security and order in the interior of the country. If unforeseen circumstances require it, to mobilize the armed forces of the country, but not far any period longer than 21 days. This period can only be prolonged by consent of parliament.
g) To manage the finances, to issue money according to law, and to submit annually to parliament a budget of revenue and expenses of the State.
h) To give an account to parliament of its work and to submit at least once a year a report about the internal and external situation of Georgia. To present also to parliament any special reports if desired.
i) To acquit itself of all obligations imposed by parliament or by law.
The members of the government share in the directions of the affair of the Republic, which do not depend directly on the president. Each member of the government directs independently, and under sole, personal responsibility to parliament, the department confided to him. He must resign as soon as he loses the confidence of parliament. A minister has only the right to vote in parliament if he is a member. The president of the government is responsible to parliament for the general politics. He is obliged to submit to the decisions of parliament and to execute the same, if necessary to change the ministers or even to re-form the entire cabinet.
Every member of government has the right to be present at the sessions of parliament and at the meetings of special commissions. Parliament, as well as the commissions, is obliged to listen to the minister if he requires it. On his part the minister is also obliged to present himself, if required before parliament or commissions, and to furnish explanations.
The president and the government are responsible, under penalties, for any violation of the constitution but only the president may indict these before a court of law. Members of the government are judged as provided for by the common law.
The supreme court of Georgia is the senate elected by parliament and has the following functions:
a) To watch over the strict enforcement of the law.
b) To find out justice in the capacity of a court of cassation.
Civil and criminal matters and administrative debatable matters belong to the department of permanent tribunals. The organization, jurisdiction, and competence of these tribunals are determined by law.
The judiciary power is independent and only obeys the law. Justice is rendered in the name of the democratic Republic of Georgia.
The verdicts pronounced by the Tribunals can not be annulled, modified, or suspended by any legislative, administrative, or executive body.
The hearings of the courts are public; in certain cases, where the morale or public security requires it, courts can be held behind closed doors.
All serious matters belong to the penal jurisdiction, as well as political matters, and offences of the press are submitted to a jury.
Judges are elected for fixed period. The rules of such elections as well as the conditions to which the judges have to submit are determined by law.
Expect by determination of the court, judges can not be the object of any change to their wishes. They can only be temporarily dismissed, if they are arraigned by justice or if their case is under consideration. Their definite dismissal can only take place by judgment of the court.
Finances of the State
No tax can be instituted or levied if not previously sanctioned by parliament Note. The right bodies of self-government to levy taxes are determined by special laws.
Nobody can be exempted from the taxes of the state if not sanctioned by law.
No sum for retiring pensions, compensations, or whatsoever expense be deducted from the treasury of the state except conforming to the law.
No loans of state nor any other financial obligation may be contracted without the authorization of parliament.
All revenues and all expenses of the state must appear in the budget. The budget must be presented every year to parliament for its approval.
If parliament does not get to voting the budget for the commencement of the budget year, the government can be authorized by parliament until the approval of the budget to cover the expenses of the state on the basis of the budget of the previous year.
No transfer of expenses of one Chapter of the budget to another may be made without authority of parliament.
Control of the State
The control of the State is performed as follows:
a) Rigorous execution of the budget of the state.
b) All revenues and expenses of the state.
c) The accounts and balance sheets of the different ministerial departments.
d) The finances of the bodies of the local self-government.
The controller of the state is elected by parliament. He is not in the cabinet, but has all rights of a minister of state and is only responsible to parliament. He gives an account of his office every year.
The organization of the control and the rules of its application are determined by law.
Every citizen is compelled to do military service according to the law.
The object of the military organization is to defend the republic and its territory.
The duration of military service and the organization of the forces is determined by law.
The effective force of the recruiting contingent is fixed every year by parliament.
The institutions of self-government being at the same time local administrative bodies are charged with the direction of economic and educational affairs within the limits of their territory.
The organizations of self-government, its rights and duties as well as the manner of their administration are fixed by law.
The institutions of self-government have the right to make by-laws for public administration conforming to the law.
The self-government is elected by secret, proportional, equal, and universal suffrage.
The by-laws and orders of the self-government can only be changed by legal manner.
The central bodies of the government have the right to suspend the by-laws and orders of self-government when they are contrary to law, but such matters must immediately be brought before a legal power. The manner and conditions of such suspensions are determined by law.
The self-government depends on the central bodies of government for the direction of its general administration.
The cases where the resolutions of self-government must be approved by Government are determined by law.
The institutions of self-government have their own budget according to a special law.
Abkhasie (district of Soukhoum), Georgia Musulmane (district of Batum), and Zakhatala (district of Zakhatala), which are integral parts of the Georgian Republic, enjoy autonomy in the administration of their affairs.
The statute concerning the autonomy of the districts mentioned in the previous article will be the object of special legislation.
Public Institutions and Schools
The arts and sciences and their institutions are free, and it is the duty of the State to protect them and to help in their development.
Elementary instruction is gratuitous, general, and obligatory. The scholastic system is an organic whole where primary education serves as basis for secondary and for superior teaching. The teaching is in all its aspects laical.
The state must see to it that indigent children have free schooling food, clothing and school materials. The government and the bodies of self-government must set aside yearly from their resourced a certain sum for the defrayal of these expenses.
Private schools are subject to the general school laws.
Social and Economic Rights
The Republic sees to it that all its citizens have dignified existence.
Forced expropriation or restriction of private enterprise can only tale place in virtue of a special law, which determines their manner, and only for the needs of the state and for public utility. The owners of property who have been expropriated will be indemnified, provided there are no dispositions to the contrary made by law.
The Republic has its own commercial and industrial organization. Its principal object is to develop this organization and to create a single and complete system of social economy. The Republic will aid the bodied of self-government in the development and strengthening of similar economic organizations. The government has the right to socialize by legislature the commercial, industrial, and agricultural enterprises which may be suitable for this purpose.
The State watches particularly against the private exploitation of the work of small producers, of the agricultural, the workmen, and the home-worker. The Republic will also give its special attention to the prosperity of agriculture. The proprietor of land has a duty toward society to cultivate the same to get the best possible results.
The existence of the State is based on work, and it is therefore a particular duty of same to protect same.
The laws of the Republic entrust the bodies of self-government with the work of establishing labor exchanges, employment agencies and similar institutions which shall keep statistics of unemployed persons and assist them to obtain work. The representatives of workers unions to the extent of half, at shall take part in the central direction of these institutions.
Citizens who are out of work shall have the assistance and help to procure work for them.
Any citizen who is incapacitated from work by age, sickness, or other causes and having neither by law or custom a claim of support from his heir curator, or any private or public institution, and begin without means of existence, has the right to have assistance from the state by way of insurance or other methods. This assistance is also given by the State in cases where the heir or curators are not in a position to care for the invalid.
Any citizen incapacitated from work by age, mutilation, or other causes will receive in the way of insurance an assistance proportionate to his salary. The insurance capital will be raised by means of a tax levied on the employer.
Beside the tax mentioned in the preceding article a certain part of the receipts of the republic shall be annually set aside for the same object.
The normal duration of working time of hired help shall not be more than 48 hours per week. The worker must at the same time have a weekly respite from work of at least 42 uninterrupted hours per week. The exception to the weekly hours of work is determined by law. The fixing of the normal time of work for agricultural laborers and season workers necessitating special working conditions are fixed by law.
The employment of minors under 16 years in establishments is forbidden; the working hours for minors between the ages of 16 and 18 is fixed at 6 hours per day; minors under 18 and women may not be employed in night work.
The republic fixes the minimum rate of wages and establish normal working conditions. It creates a special inspection of work and sanitary control independent of the employers.
The protection of female labour will be the object of a special law. The employment of women at work detrimental to mater nity is forbidden. During the time of confinement the female worker is excused from her work for least two months without suspension of salary. It is the duty of an employer to permit his female worker to the necessary time to their nurslings.
Any infraction of the laws giving protection to labour comes within the penal code.
It is incumbent on the Republic and the bodies of self-government to insure the protection of mothers and children.
Rights of Ethnical Minorities
It is forbidden to bring any obstacle to the free social development, economic and cultural, of the ethnical minorities of Georgia, especially to the teaching in their mother language and the interior management of their own culture. Everybody has the right to his mother tongue in writing printing and speaking.
All local ethnical minorities formed into united administration enjoy the right to group themselves and form national unions for organizing and directing their cultural matters within the light of the constitution and the law. The local ethnical minorities which do not belong to united administrations may constitute themselves independently into an ethnical union, enjoying the competencies mentioned in this article. One is under jurisdiction of an ethnical union for reason of the language one speaks. The cultural needs of the ethnical minorities are met by sums levied on the budget of self-government in proportion in the number interested.
Nobody. Shall be restricted in his rights, civil or political for the reason of belonging to an ethnical minority.
Any ethnical union may bring before a court of justice any matter in violation of the conferred to the minorities by the constitution or by law.
Any citizen of the Georgian republic has equal rights concerning the admission to the civil or military service of the state as well as to the service of towns and communities.
In localities of a mixed population the bodies of self-government, are obliged, with the funds at their disposal, to create a sufficient number of schools and establishment of instructions and general education in proportion to the ethnical composition of its population.
Instruction in all schools belonging to an ethnical minority shall be given in the language in which its pupils speak
In a circumscription submitted to a body of self-government where the proportion of the ethnical minority exceeds 20 per cent of communal and state affairs run concurrently, the official language, if the minority desires it, shall be the language of the said minority.
Any deputy of non-Georgian origin not knowing the official language sufficiently for expressing his opinions in parliament may use his native language on condition that he has previously submitted to the bureau of parliament an exact translation of his speech. The application of this article shall be regulated by law.
Officials of the State
Any Georgian citizen has access to all the offices if he satisfies the requirements of the law.
An officer may be relieved of his office or incur disciplinary punishment by order of the institution or chief. The rules as to his definite suspension are fixed by law.
Every officer has the right of a pension. The terms under which an officer or his family have the benefit of a pension are fixed by law.
Every officer is responsible to justice according to the principles of the common law. Any citizen has the privilege to arraign any officer who may be guilty. Any citizen has the right to be reimbursed by the state for any loss or damage caused by an officer in the exercise of the functions of his office. The proceedings and conditions of indemnification are by low.
Relations of State and Church
The state and the church are separate and independent one from the other.
No confession or creed enjoys special privileges.
It is forbidden to make any levies on the resourses of the state or the bodies of self-government for the needs of any religious order.
Revision of the Constitution
The complete or partial revision of the constitution may be demanded:
a) By at least one-half of the members of parliament.
b) By a group of 50.000 electors.
A proposal for the revisal of the constitution can only be heard in parliament six months after the deposition of such proposal.
A proposal or plan for the partial or entire revisal of the constitution can only be adopted by a majority of two-thirds of the members of parliament. This proposal only comes into force after it has received the approval of the people.
The alternation of the form of Government of the democratic Republic of Georgia can not be made the object of the proposal of a revisal of the constitution.
Until the meeting of parliament of the constituent assembly will act in its place.
(Democratic Republic of Georgia. 1919-1921.Three historic documents. Preface and compilation by G. Sharadze. Editor D. Djaparidze, Tbilisi, 1991, p. 109-133/in English)