Judgment of the Constitutional Court of 18 May 2012 № 12-П on the review of constitutionality of provisions of part 2 of Article 20.2 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses, paragraph 3 of part 4 of Article 5 and paragraph 5 of part 3 of Article 7 of the Federal law “On Assemblies, Meetings, Demonstrations, Manifestations, and Picketing” in connection with the complaint of the citizen S.A.Katkov

Legal issue: whether the contested provisions are constitutional, since they allow bringing the organiser of public action to administrative responsibility, if the actual number of participants of the given public action has exceeded the one declared in the notice on its holding.

Ratio decidendi: the Court deemed the contested provisions to be not contradictory to the Constitution, but gave them a binding interpretation, according to which an administrative responsibility of the organiser of a public action is possible only if such excess occurred due to his fault and created a real danger for public order and/or security, the security of participants of this public action, the persons who did not take part in it, and to property of natural and legal persons. The contrary would mean the possibility of unjustifiable bringing the organiser of a public action to an administrative responsibility for actions of other persons who lawfully exercise their constitutional right to assemblies, which would contradict the presumption of innocence, lead to an objective imputation and hereby to unjust court decisions.

Dissenting opinion:
  • The contested provisions ought to be held unconstitutional, because they from the very start put the organisers and participants of a peaceful action into the position of a guilty party, which violates the constitutional right of citizens to judicial protection.

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Subject area:
Public Law administrative liability freedom of assemblies and associations