a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 25-04-1997 / e) 22/1997 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 35/1997 / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Sources - Techniques of review - Concept of constitutionality dependent on a specified interpretation.
General Principles - Relations between the State and bodies of a religious or ideological nature.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Freedom of worship.
Fundamental Rights - Economic, social and cultural rights - Right to education.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
School, church, state budgetary contribution / School, denominational.
It is a constitutional requirement that in addition to the compulsory budgetary contribution, the state or the local authority should provide schools owned by the church with additional financial assistance in proportion as these schools assume duties which would otherwise be carried out by the state or the local authority.
The petitioner initiated an ex post facto review of a provision of the Public Education Act ("the Act") according to which the amount of financial assistance provided by the state and local authorities to schools not owned by the state or local authorities depends on the level of duties fulfilled by this kind of school which would otherwise be carried out by the state or the local authorities. Under these provisions, the state can provide these schools with additional assistance besides the compulsory budgetary contribution. The compulsory budgetary contribution defined by the Act covers only 63-64 per cent of the expenses of the operation of these schools, the rest of this expenditure should be covered by the church itself. For schools not owned by the state or local authorities, there is a possibility to conclude a public education agreement with the Government. As a result of this agreement, education will be free of charge. It is possible to conclude such an agreement with the Government if the schools owned by the church undertake duties which would otherwise be carried out by the state or local authorities. The decision whether to provide these schools with additional financial assistance is therefore at the discretion of the local authority or the Minister of Culture and Public Education.
The Constitutional Court held that this provision of the Act could be interpreted unconstitutionally due to the discretionary power the state has in this case. Therefore it can be applied only in accordance with the constitutional requirement declared by the Court in its current decision.