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But in the Constituent Assembly of 1791 the question of the protection of that right was raised and hotly discussed.
Chapelier, in his report to the Assembly on the 3rd May 1791 drew for the first time the distinction between the right to submit a petition for the redress of a private wrong suffered by an individual – plainte, which belongs to every person, and the right to a petition whereby a legislative reform or the adoption of certain administrative arrangements are claimed which may be exercised by an active citizen only.

“Le droit de petition” said “est le droit qu’a le citoyen actif de presenter son voeu au legislatif, au roi, aux administrateurs sur les objects d’administration et l’organization. La plainte est un droit de recours de tout homme qui serait lese dans ses interets perticuliers par une activite quelconque”.

That distinction however, was bly opposed in the Constituent Assembly of 1791 where the view that the right to petition is “la droit imprescriptible de tout homme vivant en societe” was successfully supported and was adopted by the constitution of the 3 September 1791.

Paragraph 2 of its First Title – guarantees as natural and civil right.
“La liberte d’adresser aux autorites constituees des petitions signees individuellement”.
Ever since and until 1848 that right has been considered in France as an individual right exercisable by any person. It had particular importance under the Charter of 1814 where the Houses had no right to initiate legislation as it brought them legislative matters for discussion.
Later on, however, petitions to the legislature for legislative reform were nor allowed and individual complaints could be put through a deputy.
The right to petition the legislative bodies for legislative reform though akin to the right of initiating legislation by popular initiative – initiative popular – which exists in certain countries governed under the semi-direct and semi-representative from of government, nevertheless, it is distinguished from such right.

4. The right to petition was adopted in one from or another by the various constitutions of the nineteenth century.
The Greek Constitutions during the struggle for independence contain provisions relating to the right to petition.
The Constitution revised by the National Assembly at Astros of 1823 in its article (a) provides that “each one may petition in writing the legislature setting out his opinion on any matter”.
Similar provision is contained in art. 25 of the Constitution passed by the National Assembly at Troijine in 1827, except that the opinion should be referred to public matters.

One of the oldest constitutions that of Belgium in article 21 provides that “Everyone has the right to submit to the public authorities petitions signed by one more persons.
Constituted authorities only have the right to submit petitions in a collective name”.
But that provision lost its importance in view of the increased freedom of the press.
The provision of the Constitution of Belgium was adopted in other constitutions of the nineteenth century.
Thus the Constitutions of Greece of 1844 and 1864 in their articles 7 and 9 respectively provide “that every one or many acting together may submit written petitions to the authorities observing the laws of the State”.
The Constitutions Of the Netherlands of 1887 by its article 8 not only guarantees the right to petition but prescribes also the procedure to be followed by the petitioner in the submission of his petition. Further provisions are contained in Constitutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

No provision about this right has been made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and its Protocols of the Council of Europe, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United nations.
Article 25 of the European Convention and the Optical Protocol to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, provide, however, for individual petitions from State that have declared that they accept the competence of the respective commission or committee. The Republic of Cyprus has nor yet made any declaration under article 25 of the European Convention and though she signed the Optional Protocol has not vet ratified it.
With the emergence of new institutions, such as that of the Ombudsman in various countries the right to petition lost further from its significance.

THE RIGHT TO PETITION UNDER THE LAW OF CYPRUS

1. Under Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic
“A. Every person has the right individually or jointly with others to address written requests or complaints to any competent public authority and to have them attended to and decided expeditiously; an immediate notice of any decision taken duly reasoned shall be given to the person making the request or complaint and in any event whiten a period not exceeding thirty days.

2. Where any interested person is aggrieved by any such decision or where no such decision is notified to such person within the period specified in paragraph 1 of this Article, such person may have recourse to a competent court in the matter of such request or complaint”.
That article is not suspended on a declaration of emergency under article 183 of the Constitution and should be read in conjunction with article 35 under which the legislative, executive and judicial authorities of the Republic shall be bound to secure, within the limits of their respective competence, its efficient application. 2. The right to petition under the Constitution of Cyprus is a fundamental right having the negative features of individual rights of the old catalogue in that the State cannot interfere within the sphere of the exercise of that right. But apart from the obligation of the State to abstain (nec facere) a positive duty is imposed on it to ensure and protect that right (cf. art. 29, 1 & 2 and 35).
Article 29 creates an independent individual right which is one of fundamental human freedoms and does not only afford the means for the protection and enforcement of other human right and liberties as it has been maintained elsewhere.
Unlike other Constitutions guaranteeing that right only to citizen article 29 of the Constitution of Cyprus guarantees that right to every person. The right to petition belongs to any person in the Republic irrespective of whether such person is a citizen, an alien, a convict or is deprived of his political rights.

The question is whether legal persons can invoke the provisions of article 29. The word “person” is defined in article 186 (1) as including “any company, partnership, association, society, institution or body of persons, corporate or un incorporate”. But that definition applies “unless it is otherwise expressly provided or required by the context” and it could be argued that the word “individually” shows the opposite direction. But article 29 provides that “every person individually or jointly with others” may petition which indicates that there may be collective petitions. petitions on behalf of corporate bodies are not, therefore excluded.
The question whether public officers enjoy the protection of article 29, which is a controversial one in other countries, cannot be raised as the wording of article 29 covers every one.

3. From the wording of article 29 speaking about “requests and complaints” to “competent authorities” which have “to attend to such requests and complaints and decide thereupon expeditiously” it appears that petition to the House of representative for legislative reform or other legislative action cannot be submitted or entertained. In this respect the provision of article 29 is more restrictive than that of its prototype article 9 of the Constitution of Greece which applies not only to complaints but also to petitions suggesting to the adoption of measures not only concerning the individual petitioner but also relating to the general interests of the people or of the State.

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