The Czech Constitutional Court canceled the controversial legal provision concerning the taxation of the financial compensation of assets confiscated by the Communist regime. The taxation was approved by the government with the support of KSČM (the Communist Party) and SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy). President Miloš Zeman signed the proposal in May. According to the Constitutional Court, however, the additional reduction of financial compensation for the wrongs caused by the Communist regime defies the fundamental principles of a democratic rule of law.
Furthermore, the Constitutional Court stated that the so-called tax on financial compensation was not a tax at all as it was rather a reduction in compensation attributed to churches and religious societies. If the Court did not intervene, the taxation law would come into effect in January 2020.
Judge Rapporteur Jaromír Jirsa stressed that no other group of restituents after 1989 had to experience the same difficulties as the churches, i.e., the state revoking their restitution rights. The Constitutional Court also argued that financial compensation has another purpose as it should prepare churches and religious societies for economic separation from the state in the future, Jirsa added.
Commenting on the verdict, MP Pavel Kováčik (KSČM) stated that the Communist party respects the decision of the Constitutional Court. “However, we consider referring the case to the European institutions,” added Kováčik.
On the contrary, representatives of ODS (Civic Democratic Party) and KDU-ČSL (Christian Democrats) welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court. ODS Chairman Petr Fiala stressed that the Court “has restored the rule of law and reversed the previous shameful decision.” According to Marek Výborný, Chairman of the KDU-ČSL, the verdict is “good news confirming that our constitutional system works and that we are a democratic country.”