A Case Initiated with regard to Publishing the Data of the Debtors of Child Support Payments
On 27 July 2015 the 2nd Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On the Compliance of Section 51 of “Maintenance Guarantee Fund Law” with Article 96 of the Republic of Satversme”.
The Contested Norm
Section 51 of “Maintenance Guarantee Fund Law” provides:
“(1) The Administration of the [Maintenance Guarantee] Fund shall publish the information about the debtor (name, surname, the second part of the personal identity code and the year of birth) on the home page of the Fund’s Administration, if:
- the submitter has agreed to it and the Fund’s Administration has not received information from state or local government institution that the publishing of the respective data could harm the interests of the child;
- the debtor is not a disabled person or a person, who, due to temporary loss of capacity for work, has not worked for more than six months, and the incapacity for work has been discontinued, or one year within the period of three years, when the incapacity for work reoccurs intermittently;
- Information about the debtor shall be published with the aim of protecting the right’s of the child and promoting fulfilment of parents’ obligation – paying the child support, as well as responsible and honest fulfilment of commitments.
- The Cabinet of Ministers shall establish the procedure, in which the Fund’s Administration shall publish and delete information on a debtor.”
The Norm with Higher Legal Force
Article 96 of the Satversme: “Everyone has the right to inviolability of his or her private life, home and correspondence.”
The Facts of the Case
The case has been initiated upon the application submitted by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman had requested the Saeima, both prior to and following the adoption of the contested norm, to eliminate deficiencies in the contested norm, since it, allegedly, places disproportional restrictions upon persons’ right to the inviolability of private life.
It is admitted that the restriction upon the fundamental rights established by the contested norm has a legitimate aim – to promote fulfilment of parents’ obligations; however, it is called into question, whether such restriction upon the right to inviolability of private life would help reaching this aim. The Ombudsman notes, inter alia, that the debtors of child care payments predominantly are persons without income and valuable property; moreover, their inability to fulfil a court’s judgement on collecting child care payments had been recognised in a procedure established by law.
The Ombudsman notes that third persons do not have legal grounds for getting to know personal data of the debtors of childcare payments. It could lead to, among other things, illegal processing of personal data, for example, identity theft. Whereas the range of persons and institutions (for example, state and local government institutions, credit institutions, bailiffs), which have the right to familiarize themselves with the information on debtors at the disposal of the Maintenance Guarantee Fund, had already been defined in regulatory enactments.
The Constitutional Court has requested the institution, which adopted the contested act, – the Saeima – to submit a written reply on the facts of the case and legal substantiation by 28 September 2015.
The term for preparing the case is 27 December 2015. The Court shall decide upon the type of procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
Linked case: 2015-18-01