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President requests constitutional review of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety

President Bronisław Komorowski will apply to the Constitutional Tribunal for the preventive review of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety and Counteracting Alcoholism, announced Krzysztof Hubert Łaszkiewicz, Secretary of State at the Presidential Chancellery during the Thursday’s press briefing.

The Secretary noted that there was a strong prima-facie case for calling the amendment unconstitutional. He added that the Parliament limited the constitutional right of the President to consider the newly adopted law within 21 days. Mr Łaszkiewicz explained that the President decided to send the act to the Tribunal under the procedure of the preventive review because according to the amendment’s provisions, it was to enter into force on 17 January 2013, which was well before the expiry of the President’s consideration period.

“We are pleased with the President’s decision”, says Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President. In the course of the legislative works on the amendment in the Sejm and the Senate, the HFHR submitted two legal opinions, indicating a number of irregularities in the proposed legislative modifications.

The President will ask the Tribunal to review the constitutionality of the provisions introducing an open-ended catalogue of immobilisation techniques that may be used against clients of sobering stations. “Our opinions criticised the introduction of these provisions to the amendment to the Act”, says Barbara Grabowska, an HFHR lawyer.

The original purpose of the amendment to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety was to implement an April 2012 Constitutional Tribunal’s decision. However, the Parliament added new, constitutionally dubious elements to the law. Despite this, both chambers of the Parliament adopted the amendment, being aware that it may be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates human rights laws.

The worrying fact is that the amendment designed to implement a Constitutional Tribunal’s decision was adopted at the eleventh hour, in spite of a long, ninety-day time-limit for its enactment.


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