The constitutional court of Georgia satisfied the claim of religious minorities and abolished the provision of the Tax code, which assumes the liberation of the Georgian Orthodox Church from the payment of VAT during the construction of temples, their restoration and painting, “Interfax-Religion” with reference to the statement on the website of the court.
Representatives of several religious confessions have appealed to the constitutional court against the Parliament of Georgia on the appropriateness of the liberation of the Orthodox Church from paying VAT in March 2017, tells the Week.
The lawsuit was filed by the Evangelical-Baptist Church of Georgia, “Church – word of life”, “Christ Church”, “Church of the evangelists of the faith Georgia,” TRANS-Caucasian Union of Christians-seventh-day Adventist, “the Apostolic administration of Latin Catholics of the Caucasus”, the Union of Muslims of Georgia and the “Church of the Holy Trinity”.
They protested against the fact that from VAT during the construction of temples, their restoration and painting, were released by the GOC.
In turn, the Respondent – the Parliament of Georgia, referred to the fact that this rule is recognition of the special role of the GOC in the country’s history.
In the end, the constitutional court of Georgia considered that compare religious associations are equal, and the manifestation of special relationship evidence of the approach on religious grounds.
“The court noted that the special role of the Georgian Orthodox Church is its historic contribution and does not serve to create in the future a privileged legal status for the Orthodox Christian religion”, – stated in the message of the constitutional court.
The court indicated that because the tax benefit is part of the legal relationship, the privileged position of the Patriarchate of Georgia in this case is not based on the historical contribution of the GOC, and is the goodwill of the state.
“The constitutional court considers that the unequal treatment of the disputed regulations are not rationally related to the legitimate purpose and represents a discriminatory regulation. Accordingly, the normative meaning of the disputed norm, which releases only the Patriarchate of Georgia from the payment of VAT during the construction of temples and churches, their restoration and painting, recognized unconstitutional in accordance with article 14 of the Georgian Constitution (prohibition of discrimination)”, – stated in the court decision.
The decision of the constitutional court will come into force on 31 December 2018.