Rosen Bosev vs. the National Assembly
First Instance Court – administrative case No. 584/2009, ACSC, Second Division, 36 panel
On January 12, 2009 Rosen Bosev, journalist from Capital weekly filed a request to the Chair of the National Assembly seeking the list of consultants who provided advice for drafting two draft bills (of the Ministry of Interior Act and for drafting a new Act – the Reserve Forces within the National Security System of the Republic of Bulgaria Act. He was also interested what their remuneration was.
With a letter as of January 19, 2009 the Secretary General of the National Assembly informed the requestor that the information may be received from the Council of Ministers, as it had introduced the draft bills.
Despite the letter, the journalist brought a complaint before the ACSC against silent refusal of the Chair of the National Assembly.
Developments in the Court of First Instance:
The case was heard in an open court session and was scheduled for judgment.
With decision as of January 8, 2010 an ACSC panel repealed the silent refusal of the Chair of the National Assembly and sent back the case for reconsideration according to the binding instructions f the court. The justices pointed out that during the proceedings documents from the Registrar Office of the Parliament were presented evidencing that the draft bills were introduced by certain MPs and not by the Council of Ministers as the Secretary General firstly has asserted. In this regard the ACSC panel noted that according to the Rules of procedure of the National Assembly, additional expenses of MPs for assistance, consultations, expert opinions incurred in connection with their work are covered by the budget of the Parliament. Consequently, information related to the legislative initiative of MPs and all financial documents associated with it are kept in the Registrar Office of the National Assembly. Following this conclusion, the court ruled that an obliged body shall always issue an explicit motivated written decision on the access to information request. The decision has not entered into force yet.