JUDGEMENT ON RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL IN NURTEN ESEN’S APPLICATION
The Second Section of the Constitutional Court in its meeting on 10/06/2015 held in its judgement on individual application of Nurten Esen (App. No: 2013/7970) that the applicant’s right to a reasoned decision under the scope of right to a fair trial was violated as the applicant’s claims in her petition were not sufficiently responded.
The applicant’s arm was amputated after the traffic accident on 16/6/2008.
The applicant applied to SGK Istanbul Provincial Directorate on 8/7/2008 and requested for invalidity pension. The applicant was referred to the hospital by SGK on 16/2/210 and was put on invalidity pension beginning from April 2010 as per the report issued on 5/3/2010.
The applicant applied to SGK Istanbul Provincial Directorate on 18/5/2010 and stated that she was put on pension in April 2010 although she applied on 8/7/2008. She also requested that she be paid pension beginning from her application date.
SGK Istanbul Provincial Directorate notified the applicant that she was put on pension as of April 2010, the month following the report certifying her invalidity.
The applicant filed an action at Istanbul 8th Labor Court and stated that, although she applied for invalidity pension on 8/7/2008, she was put on invalidity pension beginning from 1/4/2010; that she was not paid pension for a period of 20 months and no response was given with regards to her application. She requested for the payment of an amount equal to her pension of 20 months non-paid due to SGK’s negligence.
In its judgment dated 31/5/2012, the court of first instance dismissed the case by stating that, in accordance with Article 56 of Law Nr. 506, the applicant was put on pension beginning from the first month following the date of report and that such action is in accordance with law. This judgment was upheld with the writ of 10th Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation on 23/5/2013.
The applicant stated that, although she requested for invalidity pension by applying to SGK on 8/7/2008, she was put on invalidity pension on 1/4/2010; that she was not paid invalidity pension for a 20 month period from the date application until the assignment of the pension; that SGK took no action during this period of time and that the court dismissed the case filed by her. The applicant alleged that her right to social security and the principle of social justice were violated.
The Court's assessment
The applicant’s allegations on the violation of her right to social security and the principle of social justice were examined by the Constitutional Court under the scope of right to a fair trial.
The Court emphasized that one of the elements of the right to a fair trial is that the decisions of the court are reasoned, and if the claims of the applicant as regards to procedure or merits which require a separate and clear response are left unanswered, this will cause a violation of right. The Court also stated that the courts are obliged to indicate the basis on which they predicate their decisions in a sufficiently clear manner and that, if the claims and defenses which are asserted in a clear and concrete way during the trial are effective on the result of the case, then it is necessary that these matters which are directly related to the case be responded to by the courts with a reasonable justification. The Court also stated that the responses given to the claims and defenses must be logical and consistent.
The Constitutional Court noted that, if the court does not provide relevant and sufficient answers about an issue influential on the result of the case, this may cause violation of right to a reasoned decision under the scope of right to a fair trial.
In the incident which is subject matter of the application, the applicant applied to SGK on 8/7/2008 and requested for invalidity pension but she was referred to hospital by SGK on 16/2/2010 and was put on invalidity pension beginning from 1/4/2010.
In the case that the applicant filed by stating that she must be paid invalidity pension for the 20 month period between the date of her application to SGK until the date she was assigned pension, the court did not discuss whether the defendant took any action during the time period alleged by the applicant or whether there is any negligence attributable to the defendant during this period and the court made no assessments on these issues. The Constitutional Court concludes that the applicant’s right to a reasoned decision was violated as the court of first instance dismissed the case by stating that the action of the relevant authority is in accordance with Article 56 of Law nr. 506.
Consequently, the Court ruled that the applicant’s right to a reasoned decision under the scope of right to a fair trial has been violated.
This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.