Opposition by a public officeholder on significant grounds – in this case third-party interests – to the full or partial disclosure of his declaration of assets and income
Status of members of legislative bodies
Transparency of political activities
Right to private life
RULING Nº 470/96
14 of March of 1996
Subjectively, the fundamental right to privacy must be recognised for the holders of public office as well as other citizens.
Objectively, in respect of its content, this right does not cover only the most intimate aspect of personal life but also includes other aspects of privacy including «material», economic or property aspects.
Whereas the holders of public office cannot be denied the constitutional right to privacy just because they hold office, nonetheless they cannot enjoy that right in exactly the same way as any other citizen.
On the other hand, any limitations or restrictions on their fundamental right to privacy must respect relevant constitutional requirements, in particular the principle of proportionality and respect for the very essence of the right.
Revealing economic or property-related information to the public is a limitation or restriction on the right to privacy of the holders of public office. This restriction is not without justification in respect of the constitutional values of transparency or «confidence» in political activity, especially since this particular case related to property-related information registered in public records and to the global value of income appearing in the annual income tax declaration of physical persons.
Under existing legislation any citizen may consult the property- related and income declarations which the holders of public office must submit to the Constitutional Court. In such cases, however, on grounds such as the interests of other persons, the holder of a public office may oppose consultation, and it is for the court to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to uphold the objection.
In this particular case, a member of parliament opposed access to his income declaration on the grounds of «principle»: the right to protection of privacy in personal and family life since his property, in its entirety, was also his place of personal and family residence.
The Constitutional Court decided unanimously that the grounds cited were not «a relevant ground» to oppose public access to his property and income declaration.