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Jokowi faces lawsuit over Constitutional Court chief justice replacement

Tempo - January 6, 2023

Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – A lawsuit has been filed against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN) following his controversial decision to inaugurate Guntur Hamzah as a Constitutional Court (MK) Chief Justice in replacing Aswanto.

Based on data from PTUN Jakarta Case Tracing Information System (SIPP) website, on Friday, January 6, the plaintiff was registered in the name of Priyanto Hadisaputro on January 3.

In his lawsuit, Priyanto requested the Administrative Court to annul the Decree of the President of the Republic of Indonesia No. 114/P/2022 dated November 3, 2022, concerning the Dismissal and Appointment of Constitutional Justices submitted by the House of Representatives (DPR). The Presidential Decree concerns the appointment of Prof. Dr. M. Guntur Hamzah, S.H., M.H., as a Constitutional Chief Justice.

The plaintiff also requested that PTUN orders President Jokowi revoke the Presidential Decree. "To grant the plaintiff's claim in its entirety," as stated in the report.

Aswanto's removal controversy

Aswanto is a constitutional judge who declared the Job Creation Law conditionally unconstitutional through Constitutional Court Decision Number 91/PUU-XVIII/2020. Two years later, on October 29, 2022, the House of Representatives (DPR) Plenary approved Aswanto's removal and his replacement with MK Secretary General Guntur Hamzah even though Aswanto's term of office ends in 2029.

The House said that Aswanto as MK chief judge often annulled laws from the House, which led to his removal by the House of Representatives.

"Of course it's disappointing. DPR legislations are annulled by him when he himself is the representative from the DPR," said the chairman of the DPR's legal commission from the PDIP faction, Bambang Wuryanto,

Constitutional law expert, Bivitri Susanti, said that Aswanto should not have been replaced as the dismissal was linked closely to the chief judge's legal court verdict. Bivitri believes that the decision taken by the DPR to dismiss judges in the middle of their term of office is not included in the Constitutional Court Law. She also asserted that such acts may endanger the independence of the Constitutional Court.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1676425/jokowi-faces-lawsuit-over-constitutional-court-chief-justice-replacemen