Legge 24 gennaio 1990, n.IV
Ungheria: Act on the Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Churches
Act IV/1990 on the Freedom of Conscience and Religion and the Churches, 24 gennaio 1990.
Churches, denominations and religious communities in Hungary are entities of prominent importance capable of creating values and commu¬nities. In addition to their efforts falling within the sphere of religious life, they also play a significant role in the nation’s life through their cultural, educational, teaching, social and health care activities, and by fostering national identity.
For the enforcement of the freedom of conscience and religion, for promoting attitudes which respect others’ convictions and realise the principle of tolerance, and as a guarantee thereof, for the purpose of ensuring the independence of churches and regulating their relationship with the State, in harmony with the Constitution and the international conventions of the Republic of Hungary, Parliament hereby creates the following Constitutional Act:
RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION
The freedom of conscience and religion is a fundamental human right of freedom due to everyone, the undisturbed exercise of which is guaranteed by the Republic of Hungary.
1. The right of the freedom of conscience and religion includes the free choice or acceptance of a religion or other conscientious convictions, and the freedom for everyone to manifest, or to abstain from manifesting, to exercise or to teach their religion and conviction in public or in private, either individually, or together with others, through religious acts and cer¬emonies or in other ways. [Section 60, subsection (2) of the Constitution]
2. Religion or other conscientious convictions may also be spread through the means of mass communication. In this case, the provisions of the Act on Information shall be applied.
1. Nobody may be discriminated against or favoured by any privileges on the grounds of their religion, convictions and the manifestation or exercise thereof
2. No details regarding religious and other convictions may be entered in state (official) records. Only the person concerned or, after his death, a direct line relative may be provided with information on such details already entered in such records.
Nobody may be prevented from exercising their freedom of conscience and religion, however, the exercise of this right shall not exempt anyone from satisfying their obligations as citizens, unless an Act provides otherwise.
Parents and guardians are entitled to decide on the moral and religious education of their minor children, and to provide for it appropriately.
Individual and collective worship shall be rendered possible for those taken care of in social, health care, children’s and youth protection institutions, as well as for those in custody in penal institutions.
Persons in military service may freely exercise their religion, in harmony with the rules and regulations of the military organisation and the fulfilment of the obligation of defence.
1. Those following the same religious beliefs may, for the purpose of exercising their religion, set up a religious community, religious denomination or church (hereinafter together referred to as church) with a self-government.
2. Churches may be established for the purpose of pursuing all religious activities which are not contrary to the Constitution and do not conflict with the law.
(Registration of Churches)
1. The church shall be registered by the county court competent according to its seat or by the Metropolitan Court (hereinafter together referred to as Court), if
a) the church has been founded by at least one hundred private individuals,
b) the church has approved its charter,
c) the church has elected its bodies of administration and representa¬tion, and
d) the founders have issued a declaration whereby the organisation established by them satisfies the contents of Section 8.
2. The charter or internal laws and regulations of a church (hereinafter referred to as charter) shall contain at least the following: name, seat and organisational structure of the church, if an organisational unit of the church is a legal entity, the name thereof.
3. The name of a church may not be the same as or confusingly similar to the name of an already registered church.
1. The person entitled to represent the church may submit the claim regarding the registration of the church.
2. The valid charter and the declaration defined in section 9, subsection (1), point d), shall be attached to the application. The name of the person(s) entitled to represent the church shall also be communicated.
The registration of a church may be rejected if it does not satisfy the contents of Section 8 or if the founders failed to meet the conditions defined in Sections 9 and 10.
1. The court shall decide on the registration of a church within sixty days of the receipt of the report outside legal proceedings.
2. lf the charter of a church is amended in respect of the contents of Section 9, subsection (2), or if a new person becomes entitled to represent the church, the representative shall report such changes to the court within thirty days of the changes.
1. A church shall gain the status of legal entity through registration% and its status of legal entity shall terminate as of the day of the resolution by deletion from the register.
2. The church and, if the charter provides so, the organisational unit of the church with an independent body of representation (organisation, institution, parish, etc.) shall be legal entities.
3. An independent organisation of a church set up for religious pur¬poses (religious order, etc.) shall become a legal entity if, based on the report of its representative, it is registered by the court. The seat of the organisation and the organisations of administration and representation thereof shall be communicated in the report. A declaration of the competent church organisation whereby the organisation has been established according to the rules of the church and operates within the framework of the church shall be attached to the report. The contents of Section 12, subsections (1) and (2) shall duly apply to registration in other respects.
(Associations of Churches)
1. An association created by churches shall be registered by the court if the founding churches have approved its charter, have elected its bod¬ies of administration and representation, and the person entitled to repre¬sent it has submitted a claim for the registration of the association to the court. The association shall gain the status of legal entity through registration.
2. The charter of an association of churches shall provide for the pur¬pose, name, seat and organisation of the association. An association of churches may not be founded for the primary purpose of pursuing eco¬nomic and entrepreneurial activities.
3. The court shall refuse to register an association of churches if the objectives thereof are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution or any other Act, or if the founders failed to satisfy the provisions of sub¬sections (1) and (2).
4. Concerning the issues not regulated in subsections (1) to (3), the rules relating to churches shall duly apply to the registration, operation, supervision and termination of the association of churches.
(Relationship between the Churches and the State)
1. In the Republic of Hungary churches shall operate separately from the State. [Section 60, subsection (3) of the Constitution]
2. No state pressure may be applied in the interest of enforcing the internal laws and regulations of a church.
3. Churches shall be endowed with the same rights and same obligations.
1. The State may not establish an organisation for the control and supervision of the churches.
2. In case of violation of the law by a church legal entity, the Public Prosecutor shall institute legal proceedings against such a church legal entity.
(Education, Social and Health Care Activities of Churches)
1. A church legal entity may pursue all educational, teaching, cultural, social, health care activities, as well as activities related to sports and children’s or youth protection, which are not reserved by law exclusive¬ly for the State or for a state agency (institution). Within the sphere of these activities, the church legal entity may establish and maintain institutions.
2. A church legal entity may provide religious education in public education institutions on a non compulsory basis (as an optional subject) according to the demand of the students and parents.
(Financial Management of Churches)
1. The assets of church legal entities shall be composed primarily of the donations and other contributions of natural persons, legal entities and organisations without a legal entity, as well as of the fees paid for church services. A church legal entity may, without a separate licence, collect donations in the manner defined in the internal laws and rules of the church.
2. A church legal entity, for the purpose of creating the economic con¬ditions necessary for the realisation of its objectives, may pursue eco¬nomic and entrepreneurial activities, may establish companies in accor¬dance with the rules relating to social organisations (Sections 70 to 73 of the Civil Code), may set up economic associations and may participate therein.
3. It may not be regarded as an economic and entrepreneurial activi¬ty if a church legal entity
a) maintains cultural, educational, teaching, social and health care, children’s and youth protection institutions,
b) produces and sells publications and objects of piety necessary for religious life,
c) partially utilises buildings that were originally used for church pur¬poses,
d) maintains a cemetery.
1. In accordance with the provisions of a separate Act, the State shall provide a rate of subsidies from the central budget corresponding to that received by similar state institutions, defined in a normative way, for the operation of the educational, teaching, social and health care, sports, children’s and youth protection institutions of a church legal entity, and subsidies shall be granted from the funds allocated for the above pur¬poses.
2. State subsides, funding other activities not mentioned in subsection (1) of a church legal entity may be granted in accordance with the provisions of the Act on the Financial Conditions of Religious and Public Purpose Activity of the Churches.
(Deletion of Churches from the Register)
1. Upon the request of the supreme organisation of the church in Hungary, the court shall delete the church from the register in case of the merger thereof with another church or the division thereof into two or more churches, or if the church is declared dissolved. This provision shall duly apply also in the case of a legal entity registered in accordance with Section 13, subsection (3), with the proviso that deletion from the register may also be requested by the competent church organisation, in addition to the legal entity, in the case of the withdrawal of the declaration provided for registration.
2. Upon the petition of the Public Prosecutor, the Court shall delete the church or church legal entity from the register, the activities of which are contradictory to Section 8, subsection (2), if the church fails to terminate such activities even in spite of a warning to that effect.
3. The Court shall declare a church terminated and shall delete it from the register if it abandons its activities and does not provide for its assets.
4. lf violation of the law occurs in the course of the operation of an organisational unit of the church or of the independent organisation established according to Section 13, subsection (3), the warning defined in subsection (2) shall be forwarded by the Court to the supreme organisation of the church in Hungary.
1. In case of a merger with another church or the division of a church into two or more churches, the assets of the church shall be transferred to the ownership of the legal successor church. In the case of division, the ratios of the divided assets shall be determined by the church.
2. lf a church has been dissolved or has been declared terminated by the Court, after satisfying the claims of the creditors, its assets shall be used for the purposes defined in Section 17, subsection (1) or for other public purposes.
3. lf a church has been dissolved or has been declared terminated by the court, and did not provide for its assets within ninety days of termi¬nation, and if a church has been deleted from the register on the basis of Section 20, subsection (2), a foundation (foundations) shall be set up from the assets, the purpose of which shall be determined by the Government which shall simultaneously appoint the founder. lf the mag¬nitude of the assets does not enable the establishment of a foundation, the assets shall be transferred to the ownership of the State and utilised for public purposes. In both cases, the method of utilisation of the assets shall be made public.
Based on the proposal of the Minister of Education, by June 30, 1990, the court shall provide for the registration of organisations already operating as legally recognised churches and religious orders at the coming into force of this Act, and shall inform the registered organisations thereof.
1. This Act shall come into force on the day of its promulgation.
2. The Government is hereby authorised to define the rules of financial accounting, the keeping of records and reporting, as well as the establishment of the profit from economic and entrepreneurial activities of church legal entities receiving state subsides and pursuing taxable activities.
3. The Minister of Justice is hereby authorised to establish the procedural rules of the registration of churches.
4. With the coming into force of this Act, the following legislation shall become void:
Act XLIII/1895 on the Freedom of Religion,
Act XXXIII/1947 on the termination of the differences existing between the accepted and recognised religious denominations, which differences discriminated the recognised denominations,
Law Decree No. 5/1949 on Religious Education, the provisions, still in force, of Law decree No. 22/1957 on the State Approval Necessary for Occupying Church Positions,
Law Decree No. 14/1989 on the State Approval Necessary for Occupying Certain Church Positions, and the Termination of the State Church Office,
Law Decree No. 17/1989 on the Operation of Religious Orders,
Government Decree No. 21/1957 (III.24.) on Religious Education and Ministry of Education Instruction No. 39/1957 (M. K. 5.) issued for the implementation thereof.