a)  Hungary / b)  Constitutional Court / c) / d)  08-07-2016 / e)  13/2016 / f)  On the ban on protesting in front of the Prime Minister’s house / g)  Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 2016/106 / h) .
Keywords of the systematic thesaurus:
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Freedom of assembly.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Inviolability of the home.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Protest, ban / Prime minister, residence.
The constitutional right to freedom of assembly is not violated by a police ban on staging demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister’s house and the Supreme Court headquarters, but the existence of contradictory laws on the subject is unconstitutional.
1. In December 2014 people affected by adverse interest rates from foreign currency denominated loans held protests around Budapest. Some of the protests were to have taken place in front of the Prime Minister’s Budapest residence and at the Supreme Court headquarters, but police prevented that from happening. A private individual who had participated in a series of demonstrations held in December 2014 by troubled foreign-currency loan holders challenged the constitutionality of police and court bans. A petition was filed with the Constitutional Court, arguing that the police action violated the constitutional rights of citizens to assemble. The applicant claimed that banning demonstrations at the Prime Minister’s residence and at the Supreme Court headquarters violated the constitutional right to peaceful assembly.
II. The Constitutional Court held that the protestors’ constitutional right to freedom of assembly was not violated but, rather, lawfully curtailed by the police, because holding the demonstration would have interfered with the rights and freedoms of others (namely the Prime Minister). The Court noted that demonstrations could be held at other sites apart from the banned premises. The Court decision in question was not unconstitutional.
Concerns were, however, raised over the legal regulations concerning the constitutional right to assembly and the right to privacy. No legal framework currently exists to guide the police on how to act when faced with a clash between the fundamental rights of the right to a home and freedom of movement and the right to demonstrate. The Court ruled that Parliament should enact appropriate legislation by the end of 2016 to assist the police and the courts in cases of such conflict.
The Constitutional Court decision also requires the police to write to organisers suggesting alternative locations when a demonstration is banned. To date the police have left organisers to choose new locations.
III. Judge Ágnes Czine attached a concurring opinion; Judges Salamon and Stumpf attached dissenting opinions to the decision.
- no. 3/2013, 14.02.2013, Bulletin 2013/1 [HUN-2013-1-002];
- no. 75/2008, 29.05.2008, Bulletin 2008/2 [HUN-2008-2-004].