a) Hungary / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 17-01-2001 / e) 2/2001 / f) / g) Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2001/6 / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Institutions - Executive bodies - Powers.
Institutions - Federalism, regionalism and local self-government - Basic principles - Autonomy.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Local government, competence / Tolerance, zone, designating / Sexual offence.
A legislative amendment giving the Interior Minister the right to decree the location of so-called tolerance zones, areas where prostitution would be permitted, is unconstitutional.
The President of the Republic asked the Constitutional Court for a preliminary review of the constitutionality of the amendment authorising the Interior Minister to designate tolerance zones for prostitutes. A law on organised crimes, enacted in June 1999, obliged local governments of bigger localities to designate tolerance zones for prostitutes within six months. However, since then, none of them implemented that obligation. An amendment to the law adopted in September 2000 authorised the Interior Minister to designate the zones for five years, if the localities failed to do so by the deadline. In the President's view, designating the tolerance zone is a local affair. If this right is entrusted to the Interior Minister, then the powers of local authorities will be curtailed.
According to the Court, the disputed regulation formally left legislative jurisdiction with the local government but de facto withdrew it under certain conditions. It was essentially a tool that could significantly limit local autonomy, by, in effect, overruling local government decrees. Consequently such a regulation violated the rule of law and the certainty of law.