Ruling of the Constitutional Court of 16 July 2015 № 1787-О on the refusal to admit for consideration the petition of the local organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses of Birobidzhan

Legislation in question: Paragraph 3 of Article 1 and Article 13 of the Federal law “On Counteraction of Extremist Activity”

Legal issue: Whether the contested rules admit the possibility of several contradicting court decisions on the recognition of certain texts as being extremist, and whether there was be a duty to bring the respective religious organisation to participation in the case?

Ratio decidendi: Contrary to the opinion of the applicant, the judicial recognition of certain texts as being extremist may not be grounded upon the subjective perception of such information materials by certain persons. Whereas the verification of the conclusion of a court regarding the extremist nature of certain information material, as being connected to determination and investigation of factual circumstances of a particular case, is outside the purview of the Constitutional Court.

Dissenting opinion:
  • There were grounds to admit the petition for consideration. Overcoming the legal force of judicial decision by way of filing essentially identical suits in various courts (either intentionally or not) is impeded by the existent legislative mechanisms, such as the division between courts which is based on the horizontal jurisdiction (Art 33, Civil Procedure Code) and giving the judicial act a prejudicial significance (Art 134, Civil Procedure Code). Still, cases when such rules are violated and there are several mutually exclusive decisions, do take place, and they cannot be regarded as normal in a rule-of-law State. The Constitutional Court did not answer why among two contradictory decisions it is the one which has been delivered against the applicant and, by the same token, in his absence and even without expert examinations should be preferred – in spite of the other decision in his favour, which came into legal force.

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Subject area:
Court Proceedings civil procedure constitutional proceedings res judicata (preclusion)