Court appeals




Access to all regulations, related to public registers in the Municipality of Razgrad

Association “Center for NGOs in the town of Razgrad” vs. The Municipality of Razgrad

1st Instance Court – Regional Court of Razgrad, Administrative Case No. 78/2004
2nd Instance Court – Supreme Administrative Court, 5th Division, Administrative Case No. 3169/2005

The Association “Center for NGOs in the town of Razgrad” submitted an information request to the mayor of the town, demanding access to all the regulations, related to public registers in the Municipality of Razgrad—what was their number, their names and procedures for exploitation.

The mayor did not respond to the FOI request at all but required the NGO to produce a document of its court registration. The association did not present such verification since they considered such a requirement unjustified. The NGO challenged the tacit refusal of the mayor before the Regional Court of Razgrad.

The Regional Court dismissed the complaint and denied justice, assuming that failing to comply with the mayor’s requirements, the NGO did neither have the right to information, nor the right to complain.

The NGO appealed the denial of the regional court to hear the case before the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).

The Supreme Administrative Court disagreed with all the reasoning of the Regional Court. The supreme justices rejected the decision of the lower instance court and referred the case file back for reconsideration. The Supreme Administrative Court affirmed that the right to information was a fundamental civil right. In particular, it stated that everyone, even non-formal organizations, was entitled to that right and that no public institution was allowed to meet FOI request with silence. The Access to Public Information Act (APIA) lacked any requirement that an organization, seeking access to public information, needs to prove its legal status. Such a requirement could be senseless since under Article 41 of the Constitution of Bulgaria, “Everyone has the right to seek and obtain information.” Furthermore, every organization is constituted of members by definition and each member as a natural person has the right to access public information.

English Version • Last Update: 22.03.2006 • © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP