Contract between the municipality of Vidin and a private
Lyubov Guseva vs. the Municipality of Vidin I
2nd Instance Court – Supreme Administrative Court, 5th Division, Case No. 8751/03
Ms. Lyubov Guseva, a member of the board of directors of the Animal Protection Society in Vidin, filed an information request to the Mayor of Vidin, demanding access to the contract between the municipality of Vidin and Chistota Ltd. The requested contract pertained to the activities of the private company, financed from the municipality budget, regarding the limiting of the population growth of stray dogs in Vidin.
The Mayor of Vidin refused to disclose the requested information, stating that it fell under the scope of the third party interest exemptions. A letter by the executive director of Chistota Ltd., signifying his dissent to the information disclosure due to bad relations with the requestor, was attached to the mayor’s written refusal.
Lubov Guseva challenged the refusal before the Regional Court of Vidin (RCV), grounding her complaint in the fact that no permission was required from the private company as the specified activity was financed by public funds and the company responsibilities under the contract were in public interest. Therefore, Ms. Guseva quoted Article 31, Paragraph 5 of the Access to Public Information Act in her complaint.1
The Regional Court of Vidin reversed the refusal of the mayor and ordered him to provide access to the requested information. In its judgment, the court stated that the mayor’s refusal on the basis of the third party dissent was contrary to the law since the mayor’s assumption that the requested information was pertaining to third party interests had been wrong. The requested information had fallen under the scope of Article 31, Paragraph 5 of APIA and thus it was public.
The mayor appealed against the decision of the RCV before the Supreme Administrative Court. The higher instance court upheld the ruling of the regional court, developing the arguments about the unlawfulness of the mayor’s refusal.
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