RUSSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO GIVE INTERPRETATION OF WHERE A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION MUST INDICATE ITS NAME
by Sergei Chugunov
Religiia i Pravo, 6 July 2020
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has accepted for consideration an appeal filed by lawyers of the Slavic Legal Center in the interests of the religious organization The Word of Life Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals) of Dolgoprudnyi. In accordance with article 47.1 of the federal constitutional law "On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation," the Constitutional Court proposes to decide this case without conducting hearings. The Constitutional Court will issue a ruling on the results of a resolution of the case without conducting hearings.
The reason for filing an appeal in the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation was the evident imprecision on the matter of whether part 8 of article 8 of the federal law of 26 Sept. 1997 "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" and part 3 of article 5.26 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Russian Federation of 30 December 2001 are consistent with article 28 and part 1 of article 30 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The appeal points out that the standards of the law that are being challenged do not, as a whole, fulfill the requirements of precision, clarity, and non-ambiguity of legal standards. Point 8 of article 8 of the federal law of 26 September 1997 "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" stipulates that a religious organization is required to indicate its full name while conducting its activity. At the same time, we consider that the standard is not worded sufficiently precisely and clearly in that the standard does not specify in just which precise location the religious organization must post information with an indication of its full name. If a religious organization conducts its activity in one of many rooms in a building, must it indicate its full name only in the room being used or must the name be indicated at the entrance to the whole building.
The aforementioned defect of the standard being challenged permits law enforcers to interpret it arbitrarily and to arbitrarily apply the requirements for posting the name of religious organizations during their conduct of activity. Such an interpretation and application of the law leads to the fact that religious organizations are being held administratively responsible on the basis of part 3 of article 5.26 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Russian Federation for conducting their activity without indicating their official, complete name, even in those situations where the name of a religious organization was indicated, but the supervisory agency did not agree that the name had been displayed in the appropriate place.
recall that on 14
November 2019 the Russian Constitutional Court announced Order
No. 35P,* in
which the court determined the right of an owner of a residence
to provide for
a religious organization the possibility of conducting in that
(residential building) worship services and other religious
ceremonies and also to use its address as the address of the
organization. The interests of the petitioner in that case were
represented by lawyers of the Slavic Legal Center, Vladimir
Sergei Chugunov. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 July 2020)
Russian high court acknowledges spiritual needs
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