HCLU has turned to the Parliament regarding the non-existent Tölgyessy-committee

In the press conference following the government’s cabinet meeting on March 21st, 2007, Zoltán J. Gál State Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office has informed the public that: „the Prime Minister has appointed three legal experts to prepare the amendment of the Act on Right to Assembly. The task of the experts was to examine whether the draft ensures fundamental human rights and to make sure that it complies with international human rights treaties.” The government, relying on the draft prepared by the legal experts and the findings of the Gönczöl-committee has begun the preparation of the amendment on the Act on Right to Assembly.

In December of 2006 HCLU has requested from the Prime Minister to make public the documents prepared by the legal experts. In a letter of reply, the Public Relations Department of the Prime Minister has denied access on the grounds of the documents being preparatory-data and has stated in the letter: „The well-known expert committee has in fact completed the study of the modification of the Act on Right to Assemly and have turned over their standpoint to the Prime Minister.”

After this, the HCLU has sued for access to the draft. During the preparatory phase of the procedure the Prime Minister has stated, the reason for denying access to the document does not lie in it being preparatory-data, but that it does not exist. In this document you can read: „The expert-committee appointed by the defendant has not formed, therefore the draft prepared by the expert-committee can not exist either.”

Plaintiff and unsuccessfull HCLU has resigned it’s right to appeal, therefore the verdict stands. The Metropolitan Court has stated: „the Prime Minister has no obligation to hand over to the HCLU the requested document as it does not exist. It is clear from Péter Tölgyessy’s (one of the appointed experts) testimony during the trial, that not only did the constitutional jurists not prepare the draft for the modification of the Act on Assembly, but the expert committee has not formed either.

According to the Constitution, the Republic of Hungary is an independent, democratic state. In the chapter regarding the government it says: „the government for it’s actions is accountable to the Parliament.” It is clear from the proceedings that the Prime Minister and the State Secretary representing the government has, at the press conference and also in their letter written to the Speaker of the House informed of such a committee and it’s findings which do not even exist.

Regarding the above matter, the HCLU has asked the parliamentary parties to take action and to use all tools provided them in the Constitution’s article 39, to ascertain whether there is any consequence in Hungary, if a competent authority acting in the name of the government makes untruthful statements to the public in an official letter denying access to public information.

 

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