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Constitutional Court overturns sections of disputed law on church registration

The constitutional court on Tuesday annulled passages of the law on the registration of Hungary’s churches by the parliament, the court said. The top court’s decision is with retroactive effect. The court said it had made the decision because the law failed to stipulate that detailed reasons must be provided when a request for church status is refused, no deadlines are specified for the parliament’s actions, and no possibility of legal remedy is offered. The top court also stated that granting church status by parliamentary vote can result in political deicisions. At the same time, it did not question the parliament’s right to prescribe detailed conditions for acquiring church status. However, the court said parliament could also introduce more effective legal means to filter out organisations that in reality do not pursue religious activities.