a) Armenia / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 15-01-2008 / e) DCC-723 / f) On the conformity with the Constitution of Article 73.2 of the Law on State Pensions / g) Tegekagir (Official Gazette) / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
General Principles - Vested and/or acquired rights.
Fundamental Rights - Equality - Scope of application - Social security.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Non-retrospective effect of law - Social law.
Fundamental Rights - Economic, social and cultural rights - Right to a pension.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Under the principle of prohibition of the retrospective effect of a law making a person's legal status worse, it is inadmissible to restrict or eliminate rights that have been envisaged on the basis of norms previously in force. The above principle, in conjunction with the principle of legal security, aims to ensure respect towards legitimate expectations.
The Human Rights' Defender has disputed the conformity of the provision of Article 73.2 of the Law on State Pensions with Article 42.3 of the Constitution. He pointed out that the disputed provision had worsened the legal status of citizens, and that it had been implemented with retrospective effect.
The Constitutional Court conducted a systematic analysis of the provisions of the above Law. It expressed concern over the requirement for additional documentation when recalculating pensions on the basis of the disputed provision, and the elimination of privileged pensions for those who have worked under particularly difficult and potentially harmful conditions.
Before the Law on State Pensions came into force, persons with particularly difficult and potentially harmful working conditions expected to receive a privileged pension. The new legislation swept away this privilege, and failed to deal with the expectations of those who had worked under such conditions already to receive a privileged pension. The principle of prohibition of the retrospective effect of a law worsening the legal status of a person, coupled with the principle of legal security, aims to ensure respect of legitimate expectations.
The Constitutional Court also noted that the prescribed regulation of Article 73 of the Law could give rise to an issue over the principle of equality. The way in which the norm under dispute defines the order of recalculation, and the problem over the provision of additional documentation, constitutes a differentiated approach towards the order of calculation of the labour record gained in the same period and under the same conditions. A situation could arise where persons who worked under the same conditions and during the same time period can receive different amounts of pension. According to jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights, such a difference in approach is discriminatory in the absence of objective and reasoned justification.
In terms of "discriminatory approach", a formal circumstance such as the need to provide additional documents to substantiate one's labour record is not, in the Constitutional Court's view, an objective, legitimate and reasonable justification. The Constitutional Court considered the disputed provision to be in contravention of the Constitution and invalid.