Administrative court case 8518/2002 in front of the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria

With the assistance of AIP, a citizen Ivaylo Ganchev has won administrative court case 8518/2002 before the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria. He appealed a refusal of the Minister of Science and Education (MSE) to provide copies of documents in relation to renting a section of the lobby of the premisses of Ministry. Violating the procedures of the State Property Act and the Regulation on its Implementation, the Minister had given a section of the lobby to a private company, which had placed there advertising banners.

Initially, the Minister claimed that no information could be disclosed to the requestor, because orders of the Minister and other documents, related to this case had already been sent to the State Archives. As a legal ground for refusal he referred to the provision of art. 8 para. 2 of the Access to Public Information Act (APIA), according to which APIA cannot be applied to information kept in the State Archives.

We turned towards the Director of the State Archives, requesting information on the documents of the MSE kept in the archives. It turned out, that the last documents sent form the MSE to the archives were dated in 1991. After presenting this information in a court session, the lawyer of the Ministry admitted that actually no orders had been issued by the Minister and no contract had been signed for renting sections of the lobby to a private company.

Considering these factual circumstances, SAC with Decision No 2383 from 17.03.2003 reversed the refusal of the Minister and ordered him to provide an answer to the request in accordance to Art. 33 APIA. (which states that: If the body does not have the requested information and is not aware of its location, it shall notify the applicant accordingly within 14 days).

In his decision SAC notes that the requestee has mislead the requestor and tried to hide his wrongdoings.

English Version • Last Update: 02.04.2003• © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP