Bahrain 2002 (rev. 2012)
In the name of God on high, and with His Blessing, and with His help, we Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in line with our determination, certainty, faith, and awareness of our national, pan-Arab and international Responsibilities; and in acknowledgment of our obligations to God, our obligations to the homeland and the citizens, and our commitment to fundamental principles and our responsibility to Mankind.
And in implementation of the popular will expressed in the principles enshrined in the National Action Charter; pursuant to the authority entrusted to us by our great people to amend the Constitution; out of our desire to complete the requirements of the democratic system of government for our beloved nation; striving for a better future in which the homeland and the citizen will enjoy greater welfare, progress, development, stability and prosperity through earnest and constructive cooperation between government and citizens which will remove the obstacles to progress; and out of a conviction that the future and working for the future is what all of us seek in the coming state; and in view of our belief that such an objective requires the exertion of efforts; and in order to complete the march, we have amended the existing Constitution.
This amendment has taken account of all the lofty values and the great human principles enshrined in the National Action Charter. These values and principles confirm that the people of Bahrain surge ahead in their triumphant march towards a bright future, God willing, a future in which the efforts of all parties and individuals unite, and the authorities in their new garb devote themselves to achieve the hopes and aspirations under his tolerant rule, declaring their adherence to Islam as a faith, a code of laws and a way of life, with their affiliation to the great Arab nation, and their association with the Gulf Cooperation Council now and in the future, and their striving for everything that will achieve justice, good and peace for the whole of Mankind.
The amendments to the Constitution proceed from the premise that the noble people of Bahrain believe that Islam brings salvation in this world and the next, and that Islam means neither inertness nor fanaticism but explicitly states that wisdom is the goal of the believer wherever he finds it he should take it, and that the Qur’an has been remiss in nothing.
In order to achieve this goal, it is essential that we listen and look to the whole of the human heritage in both East and West, adopting that which we consider to be beneficial and suitable and consistent with our religion, values and traditions and is appropriate to our circumstances, in the conviction that social and human systems are not inflexible tools and instruments which can be moved unchanged from place to place, but are messages conveyed to the mind, spirit and conscience of man and are influenced by his reactions and their circumstances of his society.
Thus these constitutional amendments are representative of the advanced cultural thought of our beloved nation. They base our political system on a constitutional monarchy founded on counsel [shura], which in Islam is the highest model for governance, and on the people’s participation in the exercise of power, which is the foundation of modern political thought. The Ruler, with his perspicacity, chooses certain experienced people to constitute the Consultative Council (Majlis al-Shura), and the aware, free and loyal people choose through elections those who make up the Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwwab), and thus the two chambers together achieve the popular will represented by the National Assembly (Al-Majlis al-Watani).
These constitutional amendments undoubtedly reflect the joint will of the King and the people, and achieve for everyone the lofty ideals and the great humanitarian principles contained in the National Action Charter, and ensure that the people will advance to the high position for which their ability and preparedness qualify them, and which accords with the greatness of their history, and allows them to occupy their appropriate place among the civilized nations of the world.
This Constitution that we have promulgated contains the amendments that have carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Action Charter and that complement all the unamended texts.
We have attached an explanation memorandum which will be used to explain its judgment.
CHAPTER I. THE STATE
The religion of the State is Islam. The Islamic Shari’a is a principal source for legislation. The official language is Arabic.
The State flag, emblem, logos, honors and national anthem are laid down by law.
CHAPTER II. BASIC CONSTITUENTS OF SOCIETY
Justice is the basis of government. Cooperation and mutual respect provide a firm bond between citizens. Freedom, equality, security, trust, knowledge, social solidarity and equality of opportunity for citizens are pillars of society guaranteed by the State.
The State safeguards the Arab and Islamic heritage. It contributes to the advancement of human civilization and strives to strengthen the bonds between the Islamic countries, and to achieve the aspirations of the Arab nation for unity and progress.
All natural wealth and resources are State property. The State shall safeguard them and exploit them properly, while observing the requirements of the security of the State and of the national economy.
The State guarantees the common liability of society in bearing the burdens arising from public disasters and ordeals, and for compensating those affected by war damage or as a result of performing their military duties.
The State encourages cooperation and saving, and supervises the regulation of credit.
CHAPTER III. PUBLIC RIGHTS AND DUTIES
People are equal in human dignity, and citizens are equal before the law in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination among them on the basis of sex, origin, language, religion or creed.
The extradition of political refugees is prohibited.
Freedom of conscience is absolute. The State guarantees the inviolability of worship, and the freedom to perform religious rites and hold religious parades and meetings in accordance with the customs observed in the country.
Freedom of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed. Everyone has the right to express his opinion and publish it by word of mouth, in writing or otherwise under the rules and conditions laid down by law, provided that the fundamental beliefs of Islamic doctrine are not infringed, the unity of the people is not prejudiced, and discord or sectarianism is not aroused.
With due regard for the provisions of the preceding Article, the freedom of the press, printing and publishing is guaranteed under the rules and conditions laid down by law.
Dwellings are inviolate. They cannot be entered or searched without the permission of their occupants exception in cases of maximum necessity as laid down and in the manner provided by law.
The freedom of postal, telegraphic, telephonic and electronic communication is safeguarded and its confidentiality is guaranteed. Communications shall not be censored or their confidentiality breached except in exigencies specified by law and in accordance with procedures and under guarantees prescribed by law.
The freedom to form associations and unions on national principles, for lawful objectives and by peaceful means is guaranteed under the rules and conditions laid down by law, provided that the fundamentals of the religion and public order are not infringed. No one can be forced to join any association or union or to continue as a member.
Any individual may address the public authorities in writing over his signature. Group approaches to the authorities may only be made by statutory bodies and corporate persons.
The public rights and freedoms stated in this Constitution may only be regulated or limited by or in accordance with the law, and such regulation or limitation may not prejudice the essence of the right or freedom.
CHAPTER IV. PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
SECTION 1. THE KING
“I swear by Almighty God that I shall respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, that I shall defend the freedoms, interests and assets of the people, and that I shall safeguard the independence of the nation and the integrity of its territories.”
The Crown Prince shall take this oath once, even if he deputizes for the King a number of times.
The King shall conclude treaties by Decree, and shall communicate them to the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies forthwith accompanied by the appropriate statement. A treaty shall have the force of law once it has been concluded and ratified and published in the Official Gazette.
However, peace treaties and treaties of alliance, treaties relating to State territory, natural resources, rights of sovereignty, the public and private rights of citizens, treaties pertaining to commerce, shipping and residence, and treaties which involve the State Exchequer in non-budget expenditure or which entail amendment of the laws of Bahrain, must be promulgated by law to be valid.
Under no circumstances may a treaty include secret clauses which conflict with those openly declared.
If between the convening of both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies sessions, or during the period in which the National Assembly is in recess, any event should occur that requires expediting the adoption of measures that brook no delay, the King may issue relevant Decrees that have the force of law, provided they do not contravene the Constitution.
Such Decrees must be referred to both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies within one month from their promulgation if the two chambers are in session, or within a month of the first meeting of each of the two new chambers in the event of dissolution or if the legislative term had ended. If the Decrees are not so referred, their legal force shall abate retrospectively without a need to issue a relevant ruling. If they are referred to the two chambers but are not confirmed by them their legal force shall also abate retrospectively.
The King shall appoint and dismiss civil servants, military personnel, and political representatives in foreign States and with international organizations, within the bounds and on the conditions prescribed by law, and shall accredit the representatives of foreign States and organizations.
The King may abate or commute a sentence by Decree. A total amnesty may be granted only by law, and shall apply to offenses committed before the amnesty was proposed.
The King may conduct a popular referendum on important laws and issues connected with the interests of the State. The issue on which the referendum has been held is considered to have been agreed upon if approved by a majority of those who cast their votes. The result of the referendum shall be binding on all and effective from the date it is declared, and it shall be published in the Official Gazette.
SECTION 2. THE EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY
PART 1. COUNCIL OF MINISTERS—MINISTERS
The Council of Ministers shall consist of the Prime Minister and a number of Ministers.
Before exercising their powers, the Prime Minister and Ministers shall take the oath prescribed in Article 78 of this Constitution before the King.
And the Prime Minister shall present the government policy statement within thirty days of taking the constitutional oath before the Chamber of Deputies, or in its first meeting if it is absent. If the Chamber does not approve the policy statement within thirty days by a majority of its members, the Government shall resubmit the program to the Chamber after making the amendments it determines, within twenty one days from the date of its rejection by the Chamber. If the Chamber rejects it a second time within a period not exceeding twenty one days through a two-thirds majority of its members, the King shall accept the resignation of the cabinet. If the Chamber does not approve the policy statement of the new cabinet, according to the preceding rules and time periods, the King may dissolve the Chamber or accept the resignation of the cabinet and appoint a new one, and the Chamber must decide to accept or reject the program of the Government within the specified period, and if a decision has not been made within the specified period, the Chamber shall be considered to have approved the policy statement.
If the Prime Minister or the Minister relinquishes his position for any reason, he shall continue to discharge urgent business of his function until a successor is appointed.
SECTION 3. THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The National Assembly consists of two Chambers: the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies.
PART 1. THE CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL
The Consultative Council consists of forty members appointed by Royal Decree, in accordance with the procedures, conditions, and the method defined by Royal Decree.
A member of the Consultative Council must be a citizen of Bahrain, and for naturalized citizens at least ten years must have elapsed since acquiring their citizenship. He must not be a citizen of another country, with the exception of citizens of the member states the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf, on the condition that his Bahraini citizenship be his original citizenship. He must enjoy full civil and political rights, and must be enrolled in an electoral register. His age must not be less than 35 years by the Gregorian calendar on the date of appointment, and he must have the requisite experience or have performed a valuable service to the nation.
PART 2. THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
The Chamber of Deputies comprises forty members elected by direct, secret general ballot in accordance with the provisions of the law.
A member of the Chamber of Deputies must meet the following requirements:
The term of the Chamber of Deputies is four years by the Gregorian Calendar from the date of its first session. Elections for a new Chamber of Deputies shall be held during the last four months of that term, while observing the provisions of Article 64 of the Constitution. A person whose period of membership has ended may be re-elected.
The King may, when necessary, extend the legislative season of the Chamber of Deputies by Royal Order for a period not exceeding two years.
Should a seat in the Chamber of Deputies become vacant prior to the end of its term, for any reason, a replacement shall be elected within two months of the Chamber’s announcement of the vacancy, and the new member’s term shall last for the remaining term of his predecessor.
If the vacancy was caused by the resignation of the member, that member may not nominate himself for the membership in the Chamber during the legislative term in which he tendered his resignation.
If the vacancy occurs within the final six months of the term of the Chamber, a replacement shall not be elected.
At its first session the Chamber of Deputies shall choose from among its members a President and two Vice Presidents for the same duration as the Chamber’s term. If the place of any of them falls vacant, the Chamber shall choose a replacement to serve out his term.
In all cases election shall be by an absolute majority of those present. If there is no such majority on the first ballot, the election shall be conducted again between the two who secured the most votes. If a third party tied with the second of the two, he shall participate with them both in the election in the second ballot, and in this case the election shall be by proportional majority. If this proportional majority results in a tie, the Chamber shall choose by lot.
The first session shall be chaired by the eldest member until such time as a President of the Chamber of Deputies is elected.
The Chamber shall form the committees necessary for its business during the first week of its annual assembly. These committees may exercise their powers while the chamber is in recess.
The Court of Cassation shall have jurisdiction to rule on challenges relating to elections to the Chambers of Deputies, in accordance with the relevant law.
The Chamber of Deputies is the authority competent to accept a resignation from its membership. The resignation shall be deemed final only from when the Chamber decides to accept it, and the place shall become vacant from the date of that acceptance.
Upon a request signed by at least five members of the Chamber of Deputies, any minister may face interpellation regarding matters within his purview.
The interpellation must be conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions determined by the rules of procedure of the Chamber of Deputies.
The interpellation shall be held in the Chamber, unless a majority of its membership elects to hold it in the committee concerned. This shall occur at least eight days after the date the request was submitted, unless the minister requests the interpellation be expedited.
The interpellation may lead to a vote of confidence in the minister, in accordance with the procedures defined by Article (66) of this constitution.
The secretariat of the Chamber shall append the request to the agenda of the first meeting following the receipt of the request for the Chamber to rule on the matter without deliberation.
The Chamber of Deputies may at any time form commissions of inquiry or delegate one or more of its members to investigate any matter coming within the powers of the Chamber stated in the Constitution, and the commission or member is to present the findings of the inquiry not later than four months from the date of commencement of the inquiry.
Ministers and all State employees are to provide such testimony, documents and statements as are asked of them.
PART 3. PROVISIONS COMMON TO BOTH CHAMBERS
No law shall be promulgated unless approved by both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies, or the National Assembly as the situation demands, and ratified by the King.
The National Assembly shall convene on the second Saturday in the month of October unless the King decides to invite it to convene before this date.
The normal convening period for both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall last for at least seven months, and this convening period may not be closed before the budget is approved.
As an exception to the provisions of the two foregoing Articles, the National Assembly shall convene on the day following the expiry of one month from the date of appointment of the Consultative Council or election of the Chamber of Deputies whichever occurs later, unless the King decides to invite it to convene before that date.
If the date of convening the National Assembly in that period is later than the annual date prescribed in Article 71 of the Constitution, the convening period prescribed in Article 72 of the Constitution shall be reduced by the amount of the difference between the two aforesaid dates.
The King shall inaugurate the ordinary convening period of the National Assembly with a royal address. He may delegate the Crown Prince or whomever he decides to inaugurate the convening period and deliver the royal address on his behalf. Each of the two chambers shall choose a committee from among its members to prepare the draft reply to the address, and each chamber shall submit its reply to the King after it is approved.
Both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall be called, by Royal Decree, to meet in extraordinary session if the King deems it necessary, or if so requested by a majority of members of either chamber.
When in extraordinary session the two chambers may not consider matters other than those for which it has been called to convene.
The King shall declare ordinary and extraordinary convening periods closed by Royal Order.
Any meeting of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies which is not held at the prescribed time and place shall be null and void and decisions taken thereat shall be invalid.
Every member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies shall take the following oath in public session, prior to pursuing their work in the Chamber or its committees:
“I swear by Almighty God that I shall be loyal to the country and the King, shall respect the Constitution and the laws of the State, shall defend the freedoms, interests and assets of the people, and shall perform my work honestly and sincerely.”
Sessions of the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies shall be open to the public. They may be held in secret at the request of the Government, the President of the Chamber, or ten members, and the request shall be debated in secret session.
For a meeting of both the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies to be valid, a quorum of more than half the members of each chamber must be present. Decisions shall be taken on an absolute majority of members present, except in cases where a special majority is stipulated. In the event of a tied vote, the matter shall be decided in favor of the side that includes the President of the chamber. If the voting relates to the Constitution, voting shall be conducted by calling upon members by name.
If there is a lack of quorum for either chamber to convene on two successive occasions, the meeting of the chamber shall be deemed valid provided that the number of members attending is not less than one quarter of the chamber’s members.
The Prime Minister shall present bills to the Chamber of Deputies, which is entitled to pass, amend or reject the bill. In all cases the bill shall be referred to the Consultative Council, which is entitled to pass, amend or reject the bill or to accept any amendments which the Chamber of Deputies had introduced to the bill, or had rejected or amended them. However, priority of debate shall always be given to bills and proposals put forward by the Government.
If the Consultative Council does not approve a bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies, whether the Consultative Council’s decision involves rejection, amendment, deletion or addition, the President of the Council shall return it to the Chamber of Deputies for reconsideration.
If the Chamber of Deputies approves a bill as it was received from the Consultative Council, the President of the Chamber of Deputies shall forward it to the Prime Minister within a period not exceeding two weeks for submission to the King.
The Chamber of Deputies may reject any amendment made to a bill by the Consultative Council, and may insist on its previous decision without introducing any new amendments to the bill. In such a case the bill shall be returned to the Consultative Council for reconsideration. The Consultative Council may accept the decision of the Chamber of Deputies or insist on its previous decision.
Should the two Chambers disagree over a bill twice, the National Assembly, presided over by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, shall convene for deliberation on the disputed clauses, and the bill shall require the approval of the majority of the members of the National Assembly present. If the bill is rejected in this manner, it may not be submitted to the National Assembly again during the same legislative session.
In all cases in which a bill is approved, the President of the Chamber of Deputies shall submit it in a period not exceeding two weeks to the Prime Minister for submission to King.
Every bill that regulates economic or financial matters, and the Government requests its urgent consideration, shall first be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies so that it takes a decision on it within fifteen days. When that period elapses, the bill is presented to the Consultative Council with the opinion of the chamber of Deputies if there is such an opinion, so that the Consultative Council decides on it within a further period of fifteen days. If the two Chambers should disagree on the bill in question, the matter is referred to the National Assembly for a vote on it within fifteen days. If the National Assembly does not reach a decision on it within that period, the King may issue the bill as a Decree that has the force of a law.
The Prime Minister may deliver a statement before the Chamber of Deputies or the Consultative Council or any of their committees on a matter within their competence, and he may delegate a Minister to do so, and the Chamber or committee shall discuss the statement and deliver their remarks on it.
The non-issue of a decision by the chamber or its President on the permission which is being sought within one month from the date of receipt of the request shall be regarded as permission.
The chamber must be informed of any measures which may be taken under the preceding paragraph while it is convened, and it must invariably be informed at its first session of any action taken against a member during the chamber’s annual recess.
The King may be Royal Order postpone the convening of the National Assembly for not more than two months, and such postponement shall not be repeated more than once in any one convening period. The period of postponement shall not be counted within the convening period provided by Article 72 of this Constitution.
Every member of the Chamber of Deputies may submit questions in writing to the Ministers for clarification on matters within their competence, and the questioner alone may respond once to the answer, and if the Minister’s response adds anything new, the questioner may comment again.
The question may not related to an interest of the questioner or his relatives to the fourth degree, or be made proxy.
The Prime Minister and Ministers may attend sessions of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, and both chambers shall listen to the Prime Minister and Ministers whenever they ask to speak. They may co-opt such senior officials or their deputies as they may wish.
A chamber may require the competent Minister to attend when a matter relating to his Ministry is being debated.
Maintenance of order within the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies is a matter for its President. Guards shall be allocated to each chamber and they will receive their orders from the chamber’s President.
No armed force may enter either chamber of the National Assembly or remain in the vicinity of its doors unless so requested by its President.
The remuneration of members of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies shall be laid down by law. If this remuneration is amended, such amendment shall not take effect until the start of the next legislative season.
Membership of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies may not be combined, nor may membership of either chamber be combined with the assumption of public office.
Other cases of non-combination shall be prescribed by law.
During his period of membership a member of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies may not be appointed to the board of directors of a company or participate in contracts concluded by the Government or public institutions except in those cases prescribed by law.
Nor during that period may he purchase or rent a State asset, or lease, sell or barter any of his assets to the State, unless by way of public auction or invitation to tender or application of the regulations governing expropriation in the public interest.
If a state of incompetence arises with respect to a member of Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies during his membership, his membership shall be abrogated, and his place become vacant on a decision taken by two-thirds of the members of the chamber of which he is a member. The membership of a member of the Consultative Council or Chamber of Deputies may also be abrogated for loss of confidence of esteem or for being in breach of the duties of membership. A decision to abrogate membership must secure a two-thirds majority of the members of the chamber of which he is a member. If taken by the Consultative Council, the decision shall be submitted to the King for approval.
Members of the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies shall be awarded medals or decorations during their term of membership.
PART 4. PROVISIONS ON THE CONVENING OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
In addition to the occasions when both chambers of Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, that is the National Assembly, convene as a congress under the Constitution, the King may call such a meeting of his own initiative or at the request of the Prime Minister.
The President of the Chamber of Deputies presides over meetings of the National Assembly, and in his absence the President of the Consultative Council shall take his place, followed by the First Deputy of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, followed by the First Deputy of the President of the Consultative Council.
Other than in cases in which a special majority is specified by the constitution, the meetings of the National Assembly shall not be considered valid except with the attendance of a majority of each Chamber, and if the quorum is not reached two consecutive times, the meeting shall be considered valid, on condition that at least a quarter of the membership of each Chamber is in attendance. Motions are approved by a majority of members present, and if votes are equal, the side wins which has the vote of the president.
SECTION 4. THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY
A Constitutional Court shall be established, and shall comprise a President and six members, all of whom are appointed by a Royal Order for a period specified by the law. The court’s area of competence is to watch over the constitutionality of laws and statutes.
The law shall state the regulations that ensure that the members of the Court are not liable to dismissal, and specifies the procedures that are followed before the Court. The law shall guarantee the right of the Government, Consultative Council, the Chamber of Deputies and notable individuals and others to challenge before the Court the constitutionality of laws and statutes. A ruling by the Court that a text in a law or a statute is unconstitutional shall have a direct effect, unless the Court specifies a subsequent date for the purpose. Thus if the Court’s rule on unconstitutionality is related to a text in the penal code then the convictions made on the basis of such a text are deemed null and void.
The King may refer to the Court any draft laws before they are adopted to determine the extent of their agreement with the Constitution. The Court’s determination is binding on all State authorities and on everyone.
CHAPTER V. FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
Any disbursement which is ex-budget or in excess of the budget estimates must be made by operation of law.
The Budget Law may not contain any wording establishing a new tax, increasing existing tax, or amending an existing law, or avoiding the promulgation of a law on a matter for which the Constitution provides that it shall be regulated by law.
The final account of the financial affairs of the State for the year elapsed shall be submitted firstly to the Chamber of Deputies during the five months following the end of the financial year. It shall be approved by a decision rendered by both the Consultative Council and Chamber of Deputies, accompanied by their observations, and shall be published in the Official Gazette.
The provisions pertaining to independent public budgets, their appendices, and their final accounts, shall be laid down by law, and they shall be subject to the provisions governing the State budget and its final account. The provisions governing the budgets and final accounts of municipalities and local public institutions shall also be laid down by law.
The Government presents to the Chamber of Deputies and the Consultative Council, along with the draft budget, a statement of the financial and economic situation of the state, and of the measures taken to implement the existing budget, and its effects on the proposed budget.
A Financial Control Office shall be established by law, and the law shall guarantee its independence. It shall assist the Government and the Chamber of Deputies in controlling the collection of State revenues and the disbursement of its expenditure within the budget limits. The Office shall submit an annual report on its business, with its observations, to both the Government and the Chamber of Deputies.
The law shall regulate cash and the banks, and shall regulate weight, measures and standards.
The law shall regulate emoluments, pensions, compensation, relief and remuneration being a charge on the State Treasury.
CHAPTER VI. GENERAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Laws are published in the Official Gazette within two weeks of their issue, and are enforced one month after the date of their publication, and this period may be shortened or prolonged if the law specifically prescribed it.
It is impermissible to suspend any provision of this Constitution except during the proclamation of martial law, and within the limits prescribed by the law. It is not permissible under any circumstances to suspend the convening of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies during that period or to infringe upon the immunity of their members, or during the proclamation of a state of national safety.
The provisions of the laws apply only to what occurs from the date the laws came into force, and have no retroactive effect. The law may state, in articles other than those pertaining to the penal code, that its provisions have a retroactive effect, with the agreement of the majority of the members of both the Consultative Council and the Chamber of Deputies, or if circumstances require it, the National Assembly.
The amended Constitution shall be published in the Official Gazette, and shall be effective from the date of its publication.