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Article 1 - Human dignity
Article 24 - The rights of the child
Key facts of the case:
The Municipal Council of Dve mogili appealed the ruling of the lower Administrative Court – Ruse (Административен съд Русе), by which the provision of Decree-Law №10, art. 10, para. 2.4 was revoked. The District Prosecutor’s Office protested against art.10, para. 2.4. of the Decree-Law №10 on payment of one-off aid for childbirth to support socially disadvantaged families and victims of road accidents, industrial accidents, fires and natural disasters, which included a condition for receiving the grant: “both parents should have secondary education /minimum 10th grade/, and when the origin of the father is not established, only the mother”. The Administrative Court Ruse has considered that the goal set with the adoption of the disputed text is to improve the situation of the newborn child by supporting his family / mother, i.e. that the child's interest is paramount. According to the court decision, parent(s)’ educational qualification is not a prerequisite for the protection of child’s best interest. For this reason, the Administrative court Ruse ruled that the disputed text is not in accordance with the law, as it introduces discriminatory requirement. The Municipal Council of Dve mogili claimed that the adoption of the disputed texts did not violate the Protection against Discrimination Act and that it is in his power to determine a financial incentive for parents who have completed a certain level of education.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
The Supreme Administrative Court had to discuss whether the Administrative court – Ruse rightfully repealed Decree-Law №10, Art. 10, para. 2.4 on the grounds of non-compliance with the Protection against Discrimination Act.
Outcome of the case:
According to the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court, the decision of the Administrative Court – Ruse is correct and the protested provision of the Decree-Law is in contradiction with art. 4, para 1 and para 2 of Protection Against Discrimination Act, as a discriminatory requirement has been introduced to people receiving one-time aid for childbirth based on education criteria. Thereby, the application of the discriminatory requirement would lead to direct discrimination. The Supreme Adminstrative Court upheld the contested decision of the Adminstrative Court – Ruse.
Social protection and social advantages are explicitly included in the scope of Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, and the EU Charter of Fundamental rights, Art. 1 provides that human dignity is inviolable and it must be respected and protected. Art. 24 prescribes the right to children “to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being”, and that “in all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child's best interests must be a primary consideration”. As the Administrative Court – Ruse correctly noted, the purpose of childbirth assistance is mainly related to the protection of the child. Every child, regardless of who their parents are and the level of their education, should have an equal opportunity for financial assistance at birth, if such financial assistance is provided by local authorities.
Социалната закрила и придобивки изрично са включени в приложното поле на Директива 2000/43/ЕО на Съвета от 29 юни 2000 година относно прилагане на принципа на равно третиране на лица без разлика на расата или етническия произход, а приложимата при това положение Харта на основните права на Евро-пейския съюз в чл. 1 определя, че човешкото достойнство е ненакърнимо и трябва да се зачита и уважава. Член 24 предвижда право на децата "на закрила и на грижите, необходими за тяхното благоденствие", както и че "при всички действия, които се предприемат от публичните власти или частни институции по отношение на децата, висшият интерес на детето трябва да бъде от първостепенно значение". Както правилно сочи и Административен съд Русе, целта на подпомагането при раждане на дете е свързана най-вече със закрилата на детето. Всяко дете, независимо кои са родителите му и колко са образовани, следва да има равна възможност за парична помощ при своето раждане, ако подобна парична помощ е предви-дена от местните власти.