Acquisition of Legal Personality and Registration

Cârmuirea Spirituală a Musulmanilor din Republica Moldova v Moldova (decision), 14 June 2005 [ECtHR]

Case no 12282/02

1.  The applicant organisation complains under Articles 9 and 11 of the Convention about the refusal to register their denomination. (...)

The Court notes that the proceedings brought by the applicant against the Government were unsuccessful due to the applicant's failure to observe the registration procedure as provided for by the Religious Denominations Act. In particular, the domestic courts found that the applicant had failed to submit to the Government a document containing the fundamental principles of its religion.

The applicant does not complain, and the Court does not find, any indication that the law in question was unreasonable or arbitrarily applied against the applicant.

The Court considers that the requirement to obtain registration under the law in force at the material time served the legitimate aim of allowing the Government to ensure that the religious organisations aspiring to their official recognition by the State were acting in accordance with the law, did not present any danger for a democratic society and did not carry out any activity directed against the interests of public safety, public order, health, morals or the rights and freedoms of others.

The applicant organisation was denied registration due to its failure to present to the Government a document setting out the fundamental principles of their religion. Without such a document the State could not determine the authenticity of the organisation seeking recognition as a religion and whether the denomination in question presented any danger for a democratic society. The Court does not consider that such a requirement is too onerous and thus disproportionate under Article 9 of the Convention.

In such circumstances, the failure properly to seize the domestic authorities amounts to non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

It follows that this part of application must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

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