Collective appeals are understood as petitons, including electronic ones. Citizens, individual entrepreneurs, legal entities have the right to file petitions to national and local authorities, as well as to state owned enterprises. Foreign citizens and stateless persons on the territory of the Republic of Belarus enjoy the right to appeal on an equal footing with citizens of Belarus. The petition must contain the first name, surname and father's name (or name - in the case of legal persons and other entities), the address of the applicant and e-mail in case of electronic petition. Anonymous complaints are not considered.
Despite the fact that all types of petitions are legally equivalent, the law provides increased attention and special control for collective petitions, under the condition that they deal with issues related to a public interest, and sometimes even large social groups. Thus, paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the Law provides that consideration of petitions signed by 30 or more citizens to be considered on site, unless otherwise provided by these petitions.
Types of petition in Belarus
- According to the content of the petition:
According to the form:
- Request – application for assistance in the implementation of the rights, freedoms and (or) legal interests of the applicant, not related to their violation, as well as a report on violations of legislative acts, shortcomings in the work of public Authorities;
- Proposal - recommendation on improving the activities of public Authorities, organizations, individual entrepreneurs, improving the legal regulation of relations in public affairs and public life, addressing issues of economic, political, social and other spheres of governance and public life;
- Complaint - a demand to restore the rights, freedoms, legitimate interests of the applicant, violated by the actions (inaction) of organizations, citizens, including individual entrepreneurs.
According to the number of signatories:
- Oral – set out on personal reception. It should be noted that the law does not provide for telephone calls, moreover, even the obligation to receive telephone calls is not legally fixed;
- Written – sent: on hand, by mail, at personal reception, by making comments and / or suggestions in the book of comments and suggestions;
- Electronic – a petition received at the organization's email address or placed in a special section on the organization's official website in the global computer network Internet.
- Individual – one signatory appeal;
- Collective – the petition of two or more signatories on the same issue (several issues).
Handwritten and electronic petitions have absolutely the same legal status in the case of collection of signatures in accordance with the law.
Obligations of the authorities
The petition must be submitted to the lowest-level state body with the relevant competence. If petition issue is not in the competence of addressed state body, there are the following options:
- within five working days, the state body should forward the petition to the relevant state body and notify the applicant about it within the same period;
- within five working days, leave the petition without consideration on the merits and notify the applicant about it, explaining relevant administrative procedure and state body to address the issue with.
Written or electronic petitions must be considered not later than fifteen days, and petitions requiring additional examination and verification not later than one month, unless another period is established by legislative acts.
The response of the state body to the petition or the decision to leave the petition without consideration on the merits may be appealed to the higher-level state body. If the state body has a superior, then without referring to it, the applicant does not have the right to appeal to the court. If there is no higher-level state body, the complaint can be appealed to the court at once.
The written answer of authority regarding the petition demands is
- to be set out in the language of reference;
- to be justified and motivated, if necessary with references to the norms of acts of legislation;
- to contain specific language that refutes or confirms the arguments of the applicants.
In addition, written responses to complaints about actions (inaction) of state body should contain an analysis and assessment of these actions (inaction), information on measures taken in case of recognition of complaints as justified.
Nevertheless, the authorities are not obliged to satisfy the demands and proposals of the petition, nor are they obliged to publish a response to the appeal. The only public archive of petitions and responses is the civic database of the project "Convenient City".
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