Public Defender Applies to Constitutional Court and Demands Abolition of Various Discriminatory Norms
According to the Constitution of Georgia, the Public Defender of Georgia has the authority to apply to the Constitutional Court when the basic constitutional rights of certain persons are violated. To this end, the Public Defender of Georgia applied to the Constitutional Court and demanded the repeal of the norms that violate the right to equality in the country.
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The Public Defender applied to the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional the norm of the Law on State Property, which allows the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church, when purchasing state property, to appropriate the forests around the Orthodox Churches-Monasteries that existed before the enactment of this law – no more than 20 hectares in each case.
The content of the disputed norm is similar to the norm that was annulled by the Constitutional Court by its ruling N1/1/811 of July 3, 2018. The Public Defender considers that the exceptional case imposed on the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church contradicts the principle of equality enshrined in the Constitution.
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The Public Defender filed a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court of Georgia, requesting that the rules of termination of social package for persons with moderate and severe disabilities in case of being employed in the public sector be declared unconstitutional. The Public Defender considers that the disputed norm establishes a discriminatory approach based on the place of employment and disability status.
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Another constitutional claim of the Public Defender concerns discrimination against persons with disabilities, relating to the parking rules in Tbilisi. In particular, the special parking conditions apply only to persons with severe disabilities and lower limb amputation. People with moderate and significant disabilities are unfortunately unable to enjoy the special parking conditions.
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The Public Defender filed a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court and requested that the rule of dismissal due to the age limit under the Law of Georgia on Special Penitentiary Service be declared unconstitutional. The regulation imposes a blanket restriction and, regardless of health or functional ability, dismisses all lower rank persons after reaching 60 years of age. The legislative framework provides for a number of other regulations that authorize the Special Penitentiary Service to dismiss an employee in the event of incapacity or failure to perform his or her duties. Accordingly, the norm setting the age limit is discriminatory against persons subject to the disputed norm.
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Another constitutional claim was conditioned by the status of testamentary heir. The applicant wanted to acquire ownership of the living space (apartment) legally owned by his parents. The apartment was transferred to them as citizens of Georgia for their service in the Georgian Armed Forces. The apartment is still the property on the balance sheet of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. In accordance with the law, the applicant requested the Ministry of Defence of Georgia to issue a certificate, which could serve as a precondition for free registration of ownership of the apartment. The Ministry refused to issue such a document on the grounds that the applicant was not a Georgian citizen. The refusal was based on the rule defined by Decree No. 445 of the Government of Georgia of July 17, 2020, which excluded foreign citizens from the property rights. The Public Defender considers that this rule is discriminatory on the grounds of citizenship.
We hope that the Constitutional Court of Georgia will grant the claims of the Public Defender of Georgia and thus ensure the repeal of discriminatory provisions.