Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday rejected an appeal by Islamists demanding the reinstatement of parliament, saying it was no longer legal, according to a judicial source.

"The parliament no longer exists legally since the June 14 ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC)" deeming it unconstitutional and ordering its dissolution, the Supreme Administrative Court said.

Officials in the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm the Freedom and Justice Party had hoped that the Supreme Administrative Court would support their demand for parliament to be reinstated.

But the court said that any SCC decision could not be overturned.

The lower house was elected late last year, with Islamists winning an overwhelming majority. But on June 14 the SCC ruled it invalid, saying there were irregularities in the electoral law.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in last year's popular uprising, then dissolved the house. The army was given legislative control, provoking outrage among those wishing to see the military cede power.

On July 8, President Mohamed Morsi, who had risen through the Muslim Brotherhood's ranks, issued a decree ordering the reinstatement of parliament, which the SCC froze two days later.

In August Morsi ordered the surprise retirement of his powerful defence minister and scrapped a constitutional document which handed sweeping powers to the military, in a move some said was aimed at ending the SCAF's power.

The relationship between the Islamist Morsi and the army has been uneasy, testing the balance of power between the first civilian president in Egypt's history and a military that had moved to limit his power.

Fresh legislative elections are to take place two months after the adoption of a new constitution, which is being drafted by a committee dominated by Islamists and due to be finalised by the end of the year.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]