Judgment of the Constitutional Court of 27 December 2012 № 34-П on the review of constitutionality of the provisions of Item “в” of Section 1 and Section 5 of Article 4 of the Federal Law “On the Status of a Member of the Council of Federation and the Status of a Deputy of the State Duma” in connection with the request of a group of deputies of the State Duma

Legal issue: constitutionality of a pre-term and lacking preliminary judicial review termination of powers of a deputy of State Duma, on the grounds of his violation of “incompatibility requirements”, that is, restrictions upon paid activities other than his work as a deputy.

Ratio decidendi: the Court refused to pronounce the contested norms as unconstitutional, but gave them a binding interpretation, according to which:

  • prohibition against teaching, academic or another creative activity of a deputy in case of its being financed from foreign sources should not entail pre-term  termination of powers of the deputy, if he has shown reasonable care and caution as regards the matters of its financing and could not for objective reasons to be aware from which sources it came;
  • the deputy of State Duma may not be a member of governing bodies in any commercial organisation and even take part in the general meeting of shareholders of a commercial company. If his withdrawal from taking part in the work of shareholders’ general meeting is impossible without damage to the company or his property interest as a shareholder, he must arrange  a trust management for his shares and other securities;
  • preliminary judicial review with respect to a decision on pre-term termination of powers of a deputy of State Duma is not a must. At the same time, such decision may be appealed against in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which should review its legality and reasonableness in short order (as a matter of priority). Before a judgment by the Supreme Court is delivered, the person who was deprived of the status of a deputy should continue to enjoy parliamentary immunity.

Dissenting opinion:
  • Justice Kokotov, dissenting, opined that the rule, which allows the exclusion of a deputy from the State Duma, ought to be held unconstitutional.

  • Justice Gadzhiev, concurring, focused on contradictions in the legislation related to the solution of the conflict of interests problem.

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Subject area:
Public Law State Duma judicial protection judicial review