Constitutional Court Upholds Public Defender’s Complaint

On July 31, 2015, the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled in favor of the Public Defender's constitutional complaint and held that subparagraph “b” of article 17 of the law on Public Service is in non-compliance with the requirements of the principle of proportionality and breaches the first and second paragraphs of article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia.

Article 17 of the law on Public Service defines the circle of individuals activities of which in public service are restricted, while according to subparagraph "b", any person "being under investigation” is barred from holding a post in public service. The Public Defender believes that the abovementioned contradicts the right of every citizen of Georgia to hold any public post.

The Constitutional Court agreed to the arguments of the Public Defender concerning ambiguity of the mentioned article and concluded that the legislation does not clearly define the concept of "being under investigation", which creates possibility of assigning a wide circle of individuals to the mentioned category.

At the same time, the Court did not agree with the Parliament’s position that defended the norm as useful in preventing the obstruction of investigations by persons "being under investigation” and helpful in ensuring stability of staff in public services.

The Court declared that in order to achieve this legitimate goal it is not at all necessary to impose a general ban on all individuals classified as being “under investigation" and that the goal may be attained through individual assessment of each person’s case and through less restrictions towards a person’s right to hold any public post.

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