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GYLA appeals against the restrictive norm of public participation in making environmental decisions during a state of emergency

2020-04-14 10:58
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On April 13, GYLA and its chairman appealed to the Constitutional Court against the Ordinance of the Government, according to which public participation in making environmental decisions has been restricted during a state of emergency.

GYLA disputes the paragraph 5 of Article 13 of Ordinance No 181 of March 23, 2020, of the Government of Georgia “On the Approval of Measures to be Implemented in connection with the Prevention of the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia”, according to which, administrative proceedings (in the course of which public reviews envisaged by the Code could not take place/will be held to prevent the possible spread of Novel Coronavirus) initiated to issue a scoping opinion and environmental decision, envisaged by “Environmental Assessment Code” (hereinafter referred to as –the Code), shall be carried out without holding of a public review. The public may participate in administrative proceedings and submit its opinions and comments in writing or/and in electronic form in accordance with the rules established by the Code.

The right to participate in the adoption of decisions related to environment and environmental protection is protected by Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia. The mentioned right may be restricted only by law. According to the Constitution, the restriction of the right guaranteed by Article 29 is inadmissible during a state of emergency. Thus, the Government of Georgia did not have a right to restrict public participation in making environmental decisions by an Ordinance (which does not constitute a “law” for the purposes of Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia).

Correspondingly, at the Constitutional Court GYLA claims that the appealed norm does not meet the formal criteria for restricting the first paragraph of Article 29 of the Constitution, which is why it should be recognized as unconstitutional. In order to consider the mentioned claim substantially, GYLA is also asking the Constitutional Court to discuss the issue of acceptance and substantive consideration in an accelerated manner.