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Social Services Act unconstitutional

SLOVAKIA’S Constitutional Court issued a ruling on May 18 that found some provisions of an amendment to the Act on Social Services to be in violation of the constitution. Based on this decision, Slovakia’s local and regional governments can no longer prefer their facilities over private facilities for the provision of social services to citizens, the SITA newswire reported.

SLOVAKIA’S Constitutional Court issued a ruling on May 18 that found some provisions of an amendment to the Act on Social Services to be in violation of the constitution. Based on this decision, Slovakia’s local and regional governments can no longer prefer their facilities over private facilities for the provision of social services to citizens, the SITA newswire reported.

The Constitutional Court agreed with arguments put forward by a group of 45 MPs led by opposition deputy Monika Gibalová from the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH). The MPs asked the court to examine whether certain provisions of the Act on Social Services which require local and regional governments to provide preferentially through their own facilities violated the Slovak Constitution.

The Constitutional Court agreed with the basis of one argument put forward in the MP’s motion and rejected two other arguments.

In practice the court’s ruling means that those who require social services will again be able to choose the provider they prefer and not be subject to a contrary decision by a local or regional government.

The court’s ruling stated that the challenged provisions caused inappropriate restriction of access to non-public providers of social services and to their main business activity and had the consequence of affecting private entities’ right to conduct business or other gainful activities which are guaranteed by the Slovak Constitution. The court found that restricting this right was not justified by any legitimate public goal, SITA wrote.

Parliament has an opportunity to modify the provisions of the Act on Social Services in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s decision. If it does not do so within six months after the decision is published in the Court’s Collection of Rulings, the challenged provisions will become invalid.

According to SITA, the Constitutional Court rejected the arguments of the group of MPs that the amendments also violated the principle of equality and non-discrimination as well the European Social Charter.


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