Czech court upholds return of property to churches
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Czech court upholds return of property to churches
Brno - Churches will get property and compensation of 134 billion crowns as the Czech Constitutional Court (US) only deleted a single word from the law on the return of property to churches that was challenged by the opposition today.


The court only modified a single clause of the legislation. It defines the property wrongs, citing the nationalisation and expropriation executed in contradiction with the regulations of the day and without the payment of a fair compensation.

The court deleted the word "fair."

As a result, the return of property to churches will probably not refer to the nationalised property for which the church already received some compensation.

The opponents of the legislation did not succeed with their last objection to the presence of judge-rapporteur Miloslav Vyborny whose mandate expires today.

Lawyer Karol Hradela claimed that Vyborny had already ceased to be the judge on Sunday.

After a deliberation, the court ruled that the interpretation was wrong and Vyborny stayed in the courtroom.

In the past, the US repeatedly called on the government to settle the property relations with churches.

Under the law, which the Chamber of Deputies passed last November, churches are to be returned land and real estate, confiscated from them by the communist regime, worth 75 billion and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. The largest sum, 47 billion crowns, would go to the Roman Catholic Church.

At the same time the payment of state subsidies they now receive will be gradually stopped. It now amounts to some 1.5 billion crowns annually, but it will be gradually lowered until it is completely terminated after 17 years.

The government is of the view that the return of property to churches amounted to the final settlement of the Communist legacy.

However, the leftist opposition has a number of reservations about the deal.

Its cancellation has been proposed by senators from the opposition Public Affairs (VV) and then by deputies from the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Communists (KSCM).

The opponents of the deal have criticised the volume of the acknowledged property as well as the definition and distribution of the financial compensation.

They also argued that the legislation breaches the principle of the secular state, preferring a group of churches to others.

They said the property in question did not belong to ecclesiastical legal entities at least since the reforms introduced under Emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) because they only administered it, while the state had the final say.

The US did not find any violation of the constitution.

Author: ČTK

Czech court upholds return of property to churches

Send me the pillow... The one that you dream on.
2013 Jun 04 04:46

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