Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka
z dnia 27 listopada 2018 r.
Application no. 4588/16
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 27 November 2018 as a Committee composed of:
Georges Ravarani, President,
Péter Paczolay, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 18 December 2015,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
1. The applicant, Mr Gábor Herman, is a Hungarian national, who was born in 1950 and lives in Budapest. He was represented before the Court by Mr A. Grád, a lawyer practising in Budapest.
2. The Hungarian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Justice.
A. The circumstances of the case
3. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
4. The applicant was employed as civil servant. On 31 July 2012 he started receiving old-age pensions. It was disbursed to him alongside his salaries until 30 June 2013. As of 1 July 2013, the disbursement of the applicant's pension was suspended pursuant to an amendment of the 1997 Pensions Act (see Fábián v. Hungary [GC], no. 78117/13, § 13, 5 September 2017). The suspension lasted until 1 July 2015 when the applicant eventually terminated his employment.
5. The applicant appealed against the administrative decision ordering the suspension, but the second instance pension authority upheld the decision on 23 August 2013. He did not challenge the final administrative decision in court.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
6. The relevant domestic law and practice as well as comparative–law material were set out in paragraphs 19 to 43 of the Fábián judgment (cited above).
7. Under Article 14 of the Convention read in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 the applicant complained of having been discriminated against vis-à-vis old-age pensioners working in the private sector. Relying on Article 13 of the Convention, he also complained of the alleged absence of an effective domestic remedy.
8. He argued that the suspension of disbursement of his pension constituted a "continuing situation".
9. The Government contested the applicant's arguments. They submitted, in particular, that the application had been lodged out of time.
10. The Court reiterates that the concept of a "continuing situation" refers to a state of affairs in which there are continuous activities by or on the part of the State which render the applicant a victim. Complaints which have as their source specific events which occurred on identifiable dates - like the adoption of legislation - cannot be construed as referring to a continuing situation. The fact that an event has significant consequences over time does not mean that the event has produced a "continuing situation" (see Posti and Rahko v. Finland, no. 27824/95, §§ 39-40, ECHR 2002-VII).
11. The Court considers that applicant's complaints have at their source a specific event, notably the introduction of the prohibition of "double income" by the amendment of the 1997 Pension Act and the suspension of disbursement of his old-age pension as of 1 July 2013 (see paragraph 4 above; see also, mutatis mutandis, Fábián, cited above, § 98).
12. In such circumstances, the impugned measures cannot be construed as having produced a "continuing situation", notwithstanding the consequences which they could have over time.
13. It follows that the Government's preliminary objection must be accepted and the application, which was introduced on 18 December 2015, must be rejected for non-compliance with the six-month time-limit pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
Declares the application inadmissible.
Done in English and notified in writing on 20 December 2018.