Access to Public Information, Defamation / Reputation
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The Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg held that housing companies have to disclose budgetary and other information concerning their activities. Information can only be withheld if it falls under an exemption stipulated by law. The Court reasoned that according to Article 29 of the Constitution, everyone is free to seek and receive information and further, that Article 161 of the Housing Code stipulates that housing companies must provide free access to budgetary and other information concerning their activities.
This case analysis was contributed by Right2Info.org
The applicant, Ms. Djulia Zanni, was dissatisfied with the service provided by the Zhilkomservis No. 3 housing company, a private entity, responsible for maintaining the apartment complex where she lived. She asked the company to provide a full report on its activities in her apartment from 2007-2010. The information requested included a list of works performed and services provided by the company, their costs and provision dates, as well as information on the spending and budget of the company, which was made up partly from government support and partly from contributions of citizens. The company did not reply to the request and Zanni appealed the mute refusal to court.
After summarizing the facts of the case, the Court turned to listing the applicable law. First, the Court stressed that according to Article 29 of the Constitution, everyone is free to seek and receive information. Additionally, the Court reiterated that Article 161 of the Housing Code also stipulates that housing companies must provide free access to budgetary and other information concerning their activities. Furthermore, Article 162 of the Housing Code obligates housing companies to annually report on their activities, unless service contracts state otherwise.
The Court explained that the standard for information disclosure by apartment management companies was set in the Russian Federation Oder No. 731 issued on September 23, 2010, and according to which, information that could be disclosed includes services provided and their costs. The order obligates a company to disclose information upon a written or an electronic request.
On the basis of the law, the Court fully allowed the claim in full and ordered the housing company to provide reports about its activity.
Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.
The Court expands freedom of expression because it orders a housing company to abide by the existing law on freedom of information and disclosure.
Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.
Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.
Let us know if you notice errors or if the case analysis needs revision.