History of council
History of councils has been accepted and confirmed as an applicable method in political management in Islamic community.
To show the significance of Council, let's suffice to say that a chapter with 54 verses has been named "Counsel" .
The holy Koran introduces council in two different ways, once by clarification of the characteristics of faithful and followers the path of the school, introduces the very council as a specification stems from the faith and Islamic community since it is mentioned at verse No. 38 of the council chapter: "Those who are faithful respond to their God's vocation and counsel their affairs".
In other place, the holy Koran expresses the council as a divine order. The Koran prescribes the system of council to the prophet, the Koran emphasizes to respect to the attitudes of followers the path of the school and counts it as one of the leading characteristic and the secret of victory.
In this case, the versus No. 159 of the chapter of "House of Imran" specifies:
“So due to God's mercy you softly behave them and if you were bad temper and hard hearted, surely they would leave you, so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and counsel with them about affairs so when you decided, you should trust in God because God likes trustful ones.”
The discussion of council in Koran and Islamic laws is a section of true Islamic religion which the Koran and Islam strongly confront with despotism so for this reason, people are not superior to each other. On the other side, consulting is included in framework of the theory about people's sovereignty, in which each are equal and without any dominance each other, he/she has determinative role on their fates.
In method and tradition of great prophet of Islam we are also witness for execution of doctrine of consulting different affairs, especially in the time of war. For example, in Ohod war the prophet Mohammad attached importance to what the group of Ansar youth, who were in the military council said, so they decided to fight with polytheists out of Medina.
Or in Khandagh war, the defense council was formed according to the prophet's order, in which based on Salman Farsi's suggestion, was to dig ditch around the city in order to prevent from aggression of the enemy so the prophet accepted this idea.
In addition to the prophet Mohammad, other Innocent Imams have said sentences and the narrations about consultation and council. But it is necessary to say that the discussion about council and consulting includes in governmental and secular issues of people, but not in the affairs related to God, because nowhere was narrated that for example, the prophet took counsel with people about the pray, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca and other religious affairs or to organize a council in order to determine the place of Kiblah(direction to which Mohammedans turn in praying)
History of council in the world
Ancient Greek counts among one of the main origins of council and council system. This land due to its geographical and historical conditions was combination of various cities or small city-state. By virtue of historical documents, each of these cities had its own constitutional law. But this city-state is different from modern states in two aspects: first, its geographical dimensions, the city were assembled of citizens which was administrated via direct democracy. People gathered in Public Square so that they discharged or appointed governors via elections or ballots. They were also regularly assembled in order to consider the policies and make important decisions! Thus every citizen was both governor and obedient, the responsibilities were given to selected people for short time. This implies that the periodic government, which will be accepted in modern government as a principle, later on, was doctrine in city-state.
In ancient Iran and in Ashkanid government, there was a triple assembly called" Family Council" , the great council which its assembly called "Poland" , and in fact it was the combination of the members of Royal family and aristocracy representatives.
By developing the dwelling-city and increasing the population, there is no possibility for using these direct democracies, gradually, thinkers and politicians decided to create the indirect democracy systems and public representation systems through elections. This system, for the first time, was executed in UK and practically, the representatives of peasants or citizens were selected to have the very share of king’s power such as approving the tax, administration on the performance of executive agents and since they enjoy people's trust they want and act in their names. After the French revolution, in 1789, the representation and counseling system whether in the form of parliamentary system or in city council developed in different countries of the world and today, the doctrine of the city council has been accepted in majority of developed country and developing country and it has been part of their constitutional law although they are different in quality and quantity.
History of council in Iran
After constitution and approving the constitutional law, thinking about council life put into practice in Iran. In other words, one of the very considerable achievements of constitutional revolution, away from recognition of the separation of powers, was to divide the political and official power between central government and local government. Four principles Nos. 90,91,92,93 of supplementary constitutional laws, provincial council would organize in all states according to the special regulations.
The goal of organizing the provincial council with full authorities is that the people partake to manage their local affairs and do reforms for providing the inhabitants' resources. (Article No. 92)
Meanwhile, according to the Article No. 93, the list of income and expenditure of province and state (of every sort) is printed and published by the provincial council. From the first and the most important decisions from National Consultative Assembly, after developing the constitutions, was to provide and approve the law of the provincial council and municipality Act ratified on 20th Rabiolaval 1325 Hejira . By approving these two laws, which emphasized on the necessity of council life and non-focused system, the management of municipality and local affairs was assigned to provincial council and municipality, which selected by inhabitants. By virtue of article No. 2 of the first chapter of the law of provincial council, the council entitled provincial council selected people of state and its dependencies and representatives who are send from state council, is formed.
The provincial councils are formed in order to improve fast the social, economical, developmental, hygienic, cultural and educational programs in province, city, district and village .The provincial council has right to express its opinion about collection of taxes under any title they agree, and they can settle all complaints which get from the governor of provincial council and where the governor's behavior is against the rule to whom warn. As long as the Justice Administration is not formed, in the case that one about whom a judgment has been rendered from one of the temporal trial, complain to the council, the council can order to appeal and reconsider it. Every state and district has its own budget, which has full right to income and expends it in the security affairs of inhabitations.
At the same time the law of provincial and state councils was approved under the name of the law of municipality by the representatives of Assembly. According to the article No. 20 of this law , the duties of this council and municipality include administration of the entire affairs related to the city such as cleaning, lighting and other services and welfare affairs , establishment and administration of libraries , museum , repairing the mosques and schools and cooperation with government in holding the exhibitions and squares , reinforcement and support various crafts and finally managing movable and real property and capitals which belong to the city.
The law of provincial council and the law of Municipality ratified on 20th Rabiolaval 1325 Hejira has not been executed for 4 years, because of various reasons such as the precarious state and interior political convulsions and threatening and stresses, England government offered its program to National Consultative Assembly while implicitly receiving the authorization of dissolution of the provincial council and municipality from parliament and Ministry of Interior undertook to do the duties of municipality.
Firstly, in 1989, the Administration of Municipality, and in 1990, the administration of Township and Province were assigned to local inhabitants by ratifying the rules.
On July 26, 1949 the Country Commission ratified the law of municipality and city council and small towns: This article was amended several times in 1974,1975,1976.
In the years of deposed king Mohammadreza’s monarchy, the rule about councils of township and province was ratified by the parliament on June 20,1970 which some of these cases was amended and some cases were added to it in two times, first time on July 18,1972, and the second one on June 16,1979. By virtue of the law the councils of township and province, the councils are formed at the center of every township except the capital, so that the inhabitants of every locality could participate in administrating local affairs and people's tasks are entrusted to people and it prepare the ways for developing the city, village and also recognizes and determines the local needs and supplies them.
Each of the councils of township and province have had independent budget which its earned income allocates for charges and property and equipments belongs to the council and to meet subsidy and to execute its duties.
Effort for fulfilling the law of councils:
After August 1941, once again the open political atmosphere was dominated the community, the issues about self-government were considered and so for this , some bills were provided and offered to parliament , it was endeavored that non-focused system and council life would be accomplished. Even after finishing the war, under the influence of competitive conditions global powers and instability of interior policy and the activities of participation institutions, major executive instruction was issued by Prime Ministers like Ibrahim Hakimi, Ahmad Ghavam and Haj Ali Razmara , but the provincial councils were never formed in practice.
In fact, this Democratic Faction of Azerbaijan was, that entered the most pressure for forming the provincial councils. On September 3, 1945 the council was officially formed by members of Azerbaijan Democratic Faction with publishing the statements included 12 articles which expressed the major attitudes of this Faction , at this statements , it was emphasized on necessity of fulfillment of constitutional law and one of the major principles i.e. council life and people's participation through activating the provincial councils. It was also mentioned that the greatest duty of liberals is to struggle for creating provincial councils, so the provincial councils must be elected and start their works soon. These councils have cultural, hygienic, economical activities and at the same time by virtue of the rule of constitutional law, they inspect governmental staffs' actions and make their views on changing them.
Sadrolashraf( Prime Minister )who had become fearful from the democratic faction's activity , by issuing a circular , tried to evade doing faction 's wills , and he believed that from the date of establishing the constitutions till that time , some articles were ratified by National Consultative Assembly which some of them contradicts the law of the provincial councils , so it's necessary for forming these councils, first, these rules are amended.
After falling Sadr's cabinet, and assigning Ibrahim Hakim as Prime Minister on October 29, 1955, democratic faction, by issuing a circular, wanted to do election for provincial councils throughout Iran. In spite of Hakimi's cabinet faced with a lot of problems in interior relations, to show his seeming consent and to prepare the conditions of negotiation with the leader of democrat faction, he requested all provincial governors and governors of the country to execute the law of the provincial councils and prepare the necessary conditions. At this distance, the faction had taken action to form Azerbaijan National Government , therefore he knew the election as the antidote after death .
A plan which due to fall of Ibrahim Hakimi's cabinet had remained without any result, and after a while carried on by Ahmad Ghavam-who became Prime Minister on February 5,1955 -but Ghavam'a attention was taken to exterior issues and settle the crisis between Iran and Russia. Ahmad Ghavam , after executing the convention with Sad Jikef and exit of Russian forces from Iran took action to negotiate with Azerbaijan National Government and issued statement under 7 articles as the base of negotiation. On May 2 in which the necessity of executing the elections of provincial councils in Azerbaijan was stated and even it was accepted to change the provincial governors by consent of the provincial councils- then he entered into negotiating with the representatives of democratic faction, finally after some negotiations and repeatedly meeting , the result was to enter into a compromise agreement on June 13, the third article of the agreement was : " with regard to the late changes in Azerbaijan , the government will know the current organization of democratic faction, which is selected and formed as Azerbaijan Nation Assembly , as Azerbaijan National Assembly and after the forming of fifteenth Assembly and approving the new rule of provincial councils which will be suggested from the government, the elections of Azerbaijan provincial councils will be started immediately”. Which, of course no rules was suggested because neither Ghavam had chance nor interested in supplying their demands.
After that the subject of provincial councils was proposed seriously during the Haj Ali Razmara’s premiership (from July 21,1969 till March 9,1964).While offering his plan to parliament, Razmara express the subject of changing and developing in the strategy for administration of the country and assigning public duties to people through forming local councils and also offers a bill under the title of autonomy bill of Iran state for approving.
Razmara’s suggested bill which with one-started urgency offered to parliament was as follows : in order to execute the principles No. 90 to 93 of supplementary institutional law, all official organizations of provinces, townships, districts, rural district and the circumstances of elections and forming the councils and the method of choosing the provincial governor and governor and all the local and government officials and other details will be executed according to the regulations ratified by relative commission. And available municipality councils is disorganized and Ministry of Interior will become substitute councils from the date of publishing the notice of elections.
Razmara’s proposed bill took under strong criticism from many political personalities such as Ayatolah Kashani, Mohammad Mosadegh, Mozaffar Baghaei. In country to this bill, Mosadegh believed that approving the proposed bill has not priority while emphasizing on necessity of forming the provincial councils and entrusting administration of local affairs to its inhabitants and execution of the rules of municipalities. In his opinion it was necessary to pay attention to political and civil laws of people by approving new laws like the law of elections, the press and revision in martial law and binding the king’s power.
Mosadegh accuses Razmara into hypocrisy and believes that his plan is triple commission plan which UK and America governors proposed in fourteenth parliament, and he faced with opposition from representatives of parliament but it didn’t approved. In other words , Razmara’s plan is to partition Iran and if not why the law of the councils of municipality which approved in fifteenth parliament is not executed and or why election regulations of parliament is not amended that people’s representatives couldn’t enter into parliament .
Supposing that the law of councils approve, when the government itself determine the representative of government by their ideas whether it is possible to do any reform by councils.
Anyway with people’s strong opposition , representatives of parliament and repeatedly interpellation of cabinet didn’t give any chance to government so that he carried on his proposed bill then he took under criminal attempt and was killed on March 7, 1951 .
After coup d ’tat on August 19,1953 and falling of Mosadegh’s government, Fazlolah Zahedi ( prime minister of coup d’ tat) could temporary calm dawn over the community by military attack to legal corporation institutions, somehow political stability was carried on till the end of 1951s , i.e., during the period of Zahedi , Hossein Ala and Manochehr Eghbal prime ministers . In these years the laws such as law of municipality dated July 2,1955 and the law of assignment of hygienic affairs to people dated January 26,1958 and the law of forming agriculture councils dated March 4,1959 for inviting people to participate in administration of country affairs were ratified by eighteenth and eighteenth parliaments , but, once again the subject of provincial councils was seriously proposed in Asdolah Aalam’s cabinet (March 9,1964 till July 21, 1969 ). Aalam issued a note about the necessity of holding the elections of provincial councils to show his loyalty to constitutional law and people’s participations in their fate, so for this purpose he provided and ratified a new bill for executing the principles No. 92 to 94 of supplementary constitutional law about the provincial councils which had new point rather than the election regulations of the parliament , such as the conditions of being Moslem has been omitted from the conditions of electros, and the electors could swear a divine book in the swearing-in ceremony and other one the women could participate in elections like men.
Ratified laws of the government faced with the opposition of diplomatic gatherings, characters and parties and various socials, but the distinguished spiritual leaders had the most organized critical position. On October 8, 1962 the top leaders of Ghom seminary gathered by Imam Khomeini’s creativity and his leadership and decided that: First it was required from the king through telegraph to take action about the cancellation of the ratified laws, secondly he should warn to the leaders of center and townships about the ratified laws and finally , with forming the weekly meetings, consensus and unity for campaigning must be kept. Immediately, each of the spiritual leaders separately sent telegraphs about the objection to this bill.
The reply which the king sent after a week has two points: “First , I am sever in keeping the religious rituals and second, the church ( religion) is separated from politics, so it is better that “the gentlemen try to develop the Islamic regulations and to guide people’s thoughts, however, the king declared that the telegraph of leader’s objection is given to the government to follow up it. From this date Asadolah Aalam was the main and direct addresser of the leader’s , political parties’ and characters’ objections, Ghom spiritual leaders who were not convinced , separately sent their objection telegraph to the king and Aalam on September, Imam and other spiritual leaders like Golpaiegani, Najafi, Marashi, Shariatmadary , Khoei and Hakim were the most outstanding characters who wanted to cancel the ratified laws of government through telegraph and letter. Imam acknowledge to Aalam via a letter that the suspending the parliament was apposed of constitutional law and was violation of Islamic laws , the Holy Place and other Moslems will not be quiet. So for this reason it is necessary to obey the Almighty God and constitutional law quickly, and fear from the bad results of violation of the Holy Koran and the laws of spiritual leaders and do not endanger the country without any reason .”
Aalam who first didn’t pay attention to these objections, finally after six weeks , on November 13,1962 sent a telegraph to three spiritual leaders of Ghom i.e. Golpaiegani , Najafimarashi and Shariatmadari and declared his consensus about their request as follows:
1- The government’s opinion about the condition of being Moslem for electors and candidate of the provincial councils is as the same as leaders’ opinion .
2- The swear about trust and honesty in public interests and tasks is on the Holy Koran .
3- About leaving unsaid the none-attendance of women in the provincial councils which is under objection, the government give gentlemen’s opinion to the parliament.
The last point , the provincial councils which were formed in every time and everywhere, because of interference of the governor or untruth people have no desired results and often led to anarchism, and the law of municipality were not executed in practice, so official laws in the beginning of constitutionality , before officially and legally being abolished , were suspended in practice.
In fact, the main goal of establishers of constitutionality about emphasizing on the necessity of forming the provincial councils and municipality was to invite people to participate in managing their local affairs and prevent to exercise of authority of local governor and despots , but the study of 72- year constitutionality history shows that their goal never was not met.
Forming councils as one of the major programs of Islamic revolution was expressed during the great leader of revolution-Imam Khomeini’s struggle since he said through a command to council of revolution on April 22, 1979: “in order to settle the public government in Iran and public sovereignty on their fate which is of necessity of Islamic republic system, it is necessary to take action to provide executive regulations for councils in order to manage local, urban and rural affairs throughout Iran and after approving, to notify to the government so that the government immediately executed it”. And during his declaration on April 27,1979 said:
“The councils must be everywhere and each place itself should manage its district.”
And this subject matter changed into one of people’s demands during the struggle epoch.
Having won the Islamic revolution and forming the first assembly of experts for collection of constitutional law and with constant and serious effort from Ayatolah Taleghani, the articles Nos. six, seven and one hundred and one hundred six of constitutional law, the subject of Islamic councils were presented and ratified as one of the bases of the system of Islamic Republic of Iran .
One of the major achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the creation of Islamic councils which takes account as one of democratic manifestations and public sovereignty. The goal of forming councils is people’s participation in administration of their affairs, from the lowest level of community to the highest level (rural, township city , province and country) and in all organizational units and labor units (institution , factory , official organizations and educational centers) so that people will be interested in doing urban affairs and also the place where they live and the organizations where they work and they know themselves responsible for it , moreover, the conditions hereby are prepared for all people and groups in the level of locality and national, and social issues explicitly and fairly was presented and find some suitable and effective solutions personal relations and complicated and despot bureaucracy.
It’s obvious that in closed and non- influenced place and behind closed doors, there will not be any understanding and the managers of affairs couldn’t find people’s opinions, thought and desires, consequently, the issues remain behind mass of ambiguity, misunderstanding and trick.
Official and labor councils , during revolution and once the struggle between revolutionaries and the past regime was continued, in organizations and institutions , factories and educational centers and cities , in the name of councils , committees were created and their roles were to organize the leadership of demonstrations, strikes and generally struggle against the past regime. At those days , when everything was not in its place , these councils created a great network from active and dynamic forces , and they undertook to manage respective bodies and organization temporarily so that the revolutionary provisional government could have control on conditions since the existence of these councils was not based on certain standards , to prevent from overlapping and becoming contaminated responsibilities , the government’s bill about local councils was ratified on July 5,1979 and the law for elections of the city councils and the method of administration was ratified on July 5,1979 and ratified law of councils of ministers about the principles of forming the councils of staff in governmental and private institutes was ratified on October 7,1979 and notified to the government . These regulations became instilled the law of forming the Islamic councils date November 22,1982 and its amendments, before executed since 1982, according to the ratification of councils of ministers and Islamic parliament , rural councils were formed under construction crusade and Ministry of Interior at village. This trend was carried on till 1986, their constructive movement and depressurization of construction crusade and other governmental institutions at the level of rural by administration and people’s cooperation in doing developmental and economical programmed for rural have been considerable after revolution, but with regard to the problems of country such as imposed war, in spite of government’s attention at different moment , the execution of the law of the elections was postponed till 1998 and the parliament , after several amendments on the law of elections for council, ratified the laws for duties and elections of Islamic councils on May 22,1996 .
After organizing Mr. Khatami’s government, the prologues of elections for Islamic councils were prepared and the first period of overall elections of Islamic councils of the country was held by people’s welcoming in over 40000 electoral constituencies on March 8,1999 and finally about 200,000 persons from elected people were elected as the members of the councils in order to administrate the affairs of cities and village of the country. The Islamic councils began their works on April 22,2000 and coincided with Imam’s historical message about councils by issuance of special message from the great leader and the president’s hopeful sentences and now we are witness of spread activities of this public institution throughout the country .