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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Warsaw, ban on religious symbols in offices. Judge Marek Safjan comments

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The regulation, at first glance, does not raise constitutional doubts – said Professor Marek Safjan, former CJEU judge and former president of the Constitutional Tribunal, in “Fakty po Faktach”. He referred to the decision of the Mayor of Warsaw to ban religious symbols in the Warsaw City Hall. He admitted that this requires a CT analysis. – And we don't have this Tribunal and that's the problem – he noted.

The guest of Saturday's “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 was a professor Marek Safjan, former judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union and former president of the Constitutional Tribunal, chairman of the civil law codification commission. He referred to the decision of the Warsaw authorities to ban religious symbols in the city hall. Due to this move, the city hall was accused of discrimination and breaking the law, especially the constitution

KONKRET24: “Discrimination”, “violation of the constitution”? The ban on crosses in offices and Polish law

Safjan was asked whether he believed the regulation of the Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski is contrary to the Constitution, he said: – It seems to me that the regulation, at first glance, as lawyers say, does not raise constitutional doubts.

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He stressed that this was his “initial answer”. He admitted that issues such as people's sensitivity or beliefs “are also elements that may ultimately influence the decision.” – This requires analysis by Constitutional Court, only a real Constitutional Tribunal. And we do not have this Tribunal and that is the problem, he noted.

According to Safjan, “the current Constitutional Tribunal unfortunately does not provide sufficient credibility to resolve this type of case in a way that would inspire confidence and meet the appropriate authority of the court decision.”

Constitutional Tribunal and the Pagasus Committee

Safjan was also asked about how to treat the Constitutional Tribunal's decision regarding the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the Pegasus case. Constitutional Tribunal of Julia Przyłębska is trying to block the work of this committee, obliging her to refrain from “taking any factual or legal actions” until the Tribunal considers the application of the group of deputies. This concerns a motion submitted in March by MPs led by Zbigniew Bogucki PiS, which claims that “the resolution establishing the investigative commission is unconstitutional.” – From my point of view, the cleanest solution is that we recognize that this Tribunal in the form in which it functions is not authorized to issue judgments because we are dealing with an illegal composition – emphasized the former president of the Constitutional Tribunal and former judge CJEU.

Safjan noted that “it is not only about three understudies, but, for example, it is also about the position of the president of the Constitutional Tribunal, who was appointed in a manner inconsistent with the constitution and the provisions that regulate the functioning of the Tribunal.” In his opinion, therefore, “defects weigh on all the proceedings of the Tribunal.”

The Constitutional Tribunal's decision regarding the Pagasus commission. Safjan: is beyond competence

– Following this lead, it can be said that the Constitutional Tribunal, which today issues such judgments, is not a Constitutional Tribunal within the meaning of the constitution. One that would require respect. But this is still a subject of discussion. This is an issue that requires a general solution, he admitted.

– However, I would also like to point out that resolutions of this type, so-called interim resolutions, must also be consistent with a certain logic of the proceedings. And here they do not fit into the logic of the proceedings. This is a decision that clearly goes beyond the scope of competences, he continued. He added that “the invalidity of the decision should be confirmed in some way.”

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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