25. 03. 2016
The Defender originally inquired into the procedure of the Ministry of the Interior in performing supervision of the constitutionality and lawfulness of municipal ordinances issued by Varnsdorf and Litvínov. Municipal ordinances issued by Varnsdorf and Litvínov prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages in certain public spaces, bringing one’s own articles for sitting, barbecuing etc. in certain public spaces and, in the whole area of the affected towns, prohibit sitting on curbs, walls and other structural elements not intended for sitting.
The Defender believes that the ban on consumption of alcoholic beverages in certain public spaces is in accordance with the law. Bringing one’s own articles for sitting and relaxation to certain public spaces is also generally in accordance with the law.
However, the Defender was alarmed by the fact that the Ministry did not see the unlawfulness of the ordinance stipulating a general ban on sitting on things not intended for sitting in all public spaces in the whole area of the towns. Any person sitting down e.g. on a curb or a low wall or railing in front of the school would be committing an infraction (a violation of the ordinance). The Defender considers such a regulation completely absurd. Sitting on things other than benches is not a harmful activity. Combating vandalism by prohibiting all people from engaging in activities not leading to vandalism is disproportionate. For instance, a mother watching her child play in a sandbox that lacks a bench nearby would be forced to stand the whole time.
As the Defender was unable to ensure remedy either through the Ministry of the Interior or via communication with the above-specified towns, she resorted to using the special powers vested in her and applied to the Constitutional Court with an application to annul the relevant parts of the aforementioned generally binding municipal ordinances.