SECTION V - DEPUTIES AND SENATORS




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SECTION V - DEPUTIES AND SENATORS



 

Article 53. The Deputies and Senators enjoy inviolability, both civil and penal, on account of any of their opinions, words and votes.

Article 53 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001. The original text read: "The Deputies and Senators enjoy inviolability on account of their opinions, words and votes."
This Amendment changed entirely the article 53 (and only this article), to diminish the immunities of Congressmen. Shortly before the Amendment, a few Deputies used their immunities as shield against crimes; most notorious case was a Deputy from Acre who used to saw their enemies alive.

Paragraph 1 -Deputies and Senators, from the date of issuance of the electoral diploma, will be tried before the Supreme Federal Court.

Paragraph 1 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001. In Brazil, a diploma is issued to certify that a candidate won an election. President Lula, in some occasions, declared to be proud of having received as his first diploma the Diploma of President of the Republic.

Paragraph 2 - From the date of the issuance of the electoral diploma, the members of the National Congress may not be arrested, except in flagrante delicto of an umbailable crime. In such case, the case records shall be remitted within twenty four hour to the respective House which, by vote of the majority of their members, shall decide about the prison.

Text in purple added by CA 35, December 20th 2001. Original text read: "nor may they be criminally prosecuted, without prior authorization by the respective House."

Paragraph 3 - After accepting the indiction against Deputy or Senator, for crimes occurred after the issuance of the diploma, the Supreme Federal Court shall communicate the respective House which, by initiative of a Political Party with representation in the House and by the vote of the majority of its Members, may, until the final decision, suspend the progress of the case.

Paragraph 3 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001.

Paragraph 4 - The request of suspension shall be examined by the respective House within fourty five days, non extendable, counted from the reception by the Directory Board.

Paragraph 5 - The suspension of the case stops the prescription of the crime, while the office lasts.

Paragraph 3 amended by CA 35, December 20th 2001.

Paragraph 6 - The Deputies and Senators shall not have the obligation to render testimony or information received or given by virtue of the exercise of their mandate, nor against persons who rendered them information or received information from them.
Paragraph 7 - Incorporation into the Armed Forces of Deputies and Senators even if they hold military rank and even in time of war shall depend upon theca previous granting of permission by the respective House.
Paragraph 8 - The immunities of Deputies and Senators shall be maintained during a state of siege and may only be suspended by the vote of two-thirds of the members of the respective House, in the case of acts committed outside the premises of Congress, which are not compatible with the implementation of such measure.

Article 54. Deputies and Senators may not:
I - after the issuance of their certificate of electoral victory:
a)sign or maintain a contract with a public legal entity, autonomous Government agency, public company, mixed-capital company or public utility company, unless the contract is in accordance with uniform clauses;
b) accept or hold a paid office, function or position including those from which they may be dismissed ad nutum in the entities mentioned in the preceding subitem;
II - after taking office:
a) be the owners, controllers or directors of a company which enjoys benefits arising from a contract with a public legal entity or perform a remunerated position therein;
b) hold an office or function from which they may be dismissed ad nutum, in the entities mentioned in item I, a;
c) act as lawyer in a cause in which any of the entities referred to in item I, a, has an interest;
d) be the holders of more than one public elective position or office.

Article 55. A Deputy or Senator shall lose his office:
I - if he violates any of the prohibitions established in the preceding article;
II - if his conduct is declared incompatible with parliamentary decorum;
III - if he fails to appear, in each legislative session, at one-third of the regular sessions of the House to which he belongs, except for a leave of absence or a mission authorized by the House concerned:
IV - if his political rights have been lost or suspended;
V - whenever decreed by the Electoral Courts, in the cases established in this Constitution;
VI - if he is criminally convicted by a final and unappealable sentence.
Paragraph 1 - Abuse of the prerogatives ensured to a Congressman or the gaining of undue advantages, in addition to the cases defined in the internal regulations, is incompatible with parliamentary decorum.
Paragraph 2 - In the cases of items I, II and VI, loss of office shall be declared by the Chamber of Deputies or the Federal Senate, by secret voting and absolute majority, on the initiative of the respective Directing Board or of a political party represented in the National Congress, full defense being ensured.
Paragraph 3 - In the cases set forth in items III to V, the loss shall be declared by the Directing Board of the respective House, ex officio or upon the initiative of any of its members, or of a political party represented in the National Congress, full defense being ensured.
Paragraph 4 - The resignation of a Congressman submitted to a legal suit that aims at or may lead to loss of mandate, under the provisions of this article, will have its effects suspended until the final deliberations mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 3.

Paragraph 4 added by CA of Revision 6, June 7th 1994. Notice that, if a Congressman resigns before the legal suit, he retains all his political rights, and is entitled for a new office right in the next election. This method has been used by a few Deputies and Senators who are sure to be condemned by an ethical commission; they resigned and were re-elected afterwards.

Article 56. A Deputy or Senator shall not lose his office:
I - if vested with the office of Minister of State, Governor of a territory, Secretary of a State, of the Federal District, of a territory, of a State capital or head of a temporary diplomatic mission;
III - if on leave of absence from the respective House, by virtue of illness or, without remuneration, to attend to private matters, provided that, in this case, the absence does not exceed one hundred and twenty days per legislative session.
Paragraph 1. The substitute shall be called in cases of vacancy, of investiture in the functions set forth in this article or of leave of absence exceeding one hundred and twenty days.
Paragraph 2 - Upon the occurrence of a vacancy and there being no substitute, if more than fifteen months remain before the end of the term of office, an election shall be held to fill it.
Paragraph 3 - In the event of item I, the Deputy or Senator may opt for the remuneration of the elective office.

SECTION VI - THE SESSIONS

 

Article 57. The National Congress shall meet each year in the Federal Capital, from February 2nd to July 17th and from August 1st to December 2nd.

Article 57 amended by CA 50, February 14th 2006. This CA extended the period the Parliament should meet. Former text read: "The National Congress shall meet each year in the Federal Capital, from February 15th to June 30th and from August 1st to December 15th."

Paragraph 1 - If sessions scheduled for these dates fall on a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday, they shall be transferred to the subsequent workday.
Paragraph 2 - The legislative session shall not be interrupted before the approval of the bill of budgetary directives .
Paragraph 3 - In addition to other cases provided for in this Constitution the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate shall meet in a joint session to:
I - inaugurate the legislative session;
II - draw up the common regulations and regulate the creation of services common to both Houses;
III - take the oath of the President and of the Vice-President of the Republic;
IV - acknowledge a veto and resolve thereon.
Paragraph 4 - Each of the Houses shall meet in a preparatory session, beginning February 1 of the first year of the legislative term, for the installation of its members and the election of the respective Directing Boards, for a term of office of two years, the re-election to the same office in the immediately subsequent election being prohibited.

Paragraph 4 amended by CA 50, February 14th 2006. Original text read "Both Houses", meaning that Deputies and Senators should meet jointly; with the new text, the members of each House will meet independently.

Paragraph 5 - The Directing Board of the National Congress shall be presided by the President of the Federal Senate and the remaining offices shall be held, alternately, by the holders of equivalent offices in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Federal Senate.
Paragraph 6 - Special sessions of the National Congress shall be called:
I - by the President of the Federal Senate, in the event of a decree of a state of defense or of federal intervention, of a demand for the authorization to decree a state of siege and the taking of oath and inauguration of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic;
II - by the President of the Republic, by the Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Federal Senate or by request of the majority of the members of both Houses, in case of urgency or important public interest, in any case with the approval by the absolute majority of each of the Houses of the National Congress.

Words in purple added by CA 50, February 14th 2006.

Paragraph 7 - In a special legislative session, the National Congress shall deliberate only upon the matter for which it was called, excepted the hypothesis of paragraph 8, the payment of indemnization on account of the calling being forbidden.

Text in purple added by CA 32, September 11th 2001, and later altered by CA 50, February 14th 2006.
It used to be the case that, to work in special legislative sessions, Congressmen were paid an 'indemnization' substiantially higher than normal salaries; CA 32 limited the indemnization to one normal monthly salary; CA 50 abolished the indemnization altogether (Congressmen receive only normal salaries).

Paragraph 8 - If provisional measures are in force during the period of special legislative session of the National Congress, they shall be automatically included in the voting list.

Paragraph 8 added by CA 32, September 11th 2001.





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