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MPs seek revamp of highways law

MEMBERS of parliament from the Civic Conservation Party (OKS) have proposed revamping the highway legislation that was found to be unconstitutional by Slovakia’s Constitutional Court. The law, which had taken effect at the end of 2007, permitted extraordinary measures to be taken by the government to acquire land for highways, particularly for construction of the D1 highway from Bratislava to Košice and the R1 from Nitra to Banská Bystrica.

MEMBERS of parliament from the Civic Conservation Party (OKS) have proposed revamping the highway legislation that was found to be unconstitutional by Slovakia’s Constitutional Court. The law, which had taken effect at the end of 2007, permitted extraordinary measures to be taken by the government to acquire land for highways, particularly for construction of the D1 highway from Bratislava to Košice and the R1 from Nitra to Banská Bystrica.

MP Ondrej Dostál from OKS delivered the draft revision to parliament on March 4 along with his colleagues Peter Zajac, Peter Osuský and František Šebej, the SITA newswire wrote.

“The submitted draft revision omits from the law regulations which the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional as well as regulations which are closely connected with them,” said Dostál, as cited by SITA. “Demonstrating the ownership right or another right to the land will be a precondition for starting construction also in the case of construction of highways and dual-carriage ways.”

“The law was adopted during the term of the Robert Fico government under the pretext of accelerating highway construction so that the government could meet Fico’s promise and complete the highway between Bratislava and Kosice by 2010,” said Dostál. “The law interfered with property rights of land owners and limited the rights of participants of related construction proceedings in a harsh way. A group of the then-opposition deputies challenged the law with the Constitutional Court,” Dostál said about why and how the challenge was made to the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court ruled on January 26 that neither the state nor any other body can start building highways on property that it does not have full title to. The court wrote that the law prohibited rightful owners, de facto, from use of their property; put inappropriate pressure on all owners along proposed highways; and violated citizens’ rights to undisturbed use of their private property. Slovakia’s parliament must decide whether to change the problematic provisions of the law. If parliament takes no action the provisions ruled unconstitutional by the court will become invalid.

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