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Constitution of Poland (1997)

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1

3Preamble

4Having regard for the existence and future of our Homeland,

5Which recovered, in 1989, the possibility of a sovereign and democratic determination of its fate,

6We, the Polish Nation -all citizens of the Republic,

7Both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty,

8As well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values as arising from other sources,

9Equal in rights and obligations towards the common good -Poland,

10Beholden to our ancestors for their labours, their struggle for independence achieved at great sacrifice, for our culture rooted in the Christian heritage of the Nation and in universal human values,

11Recalling the best traditions of the First and the Second Republic,

12Obliged to bequeath to future generations all that is valuable from our over one thousand years' heritage,

13Bound in community with our compatriots dispersed throughout the world,

14Aware of the need for cooperation with all countries for the good of the Human Family,

15Mindful of the bitter experiences of the times when fundamental freedoms and human rights were violated in our Homeland,

16Desiring to guarantee the rights of the citizens for all time, and to ensure diligence and efficiency in the work of public bodies,

17Recognizing our responsibility before God or our own consciences,

18Hereby establish this Constitution of the Republic of Poland as the basic law for the State, based on respect for freedom and justice, cooperation between the public powers, social dialogue as well as on the principle of subsidiarity in the strengthening the powers of citizens and their communities.

19We call upon all those who will apply this Constitution for the good of the Third Republic to do so paying respect to the inherent dignity of the person, his or her right to freedom, the obligation of solidarity with others, and respect for these principles as the unshakeable foundation of the Republic of Poland.

20Chapter I. The Republic

21Article 1

22The Republic of Poland shall be the common good of all its citizens.

23Article 2

24The Republic of Poland shall be a democratic state ruled by law and implementing the principles of social justice.

25Article 3

26The Republic of Poland shall be a unitary State.

27Article 4

281. Supreme power in the Republic of Poland shall be vested in the Nation.

292. The Nation shall exercise such power directly or through their representatives.

30Article 5

31The Republic of Poland shall safeguard the independence and integrity of its territory and ensure the freedoms and rights of persons and citizens, the security of the citizens, safeguard the national heritage and shall ensure the protection of the natural environment pursuant to the principles of sustainable development.

32Article 6

331. The Republic of Poland shall provide conditions for the people's equal access to the products of culture which are the source of the Nation's identity, continuity and development.

342. The Republic of Poland shall provide assistance to Poles living abroad to maintain their links with the national cultural heritage.

35Article 7

36The organs of public authority shall function on the basis of, and within the limits of, the law.

37Article 8

381. The Constitution shall be the supreme law of the Republic of Poland.

392. The provisions of the Constitution shall apply directly, unless the Constitution provides otherwise.

40Article 9

41The Republic of Poland shall respect international law binding upon it.

42Article 10

431. The system of government of the Republic of Poland shall be based on the separation of and balance between the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

442. Legislative power shall be vested in the Sejm and the Senate, executive power shall be vested in the President of the Republic of Poland and the Council of Ministers, and the judicial power shall be vested in courts and tribunals.

45Article 11

461. The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom for the creation and functioning of political parties. Political parties shall be founded on the principle of voluntariness and upon the equality of Polish citizens, and their purpose shall be to influence the formulation of the policy of the State by democratic means.

472. The financing of political parties shall be open to public inspection.

48Article 12

49The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom for the creation and functioning of trade unions, socio-occupational organizations of farmers, societies, citizens' movements, other voluntary associations and foundations.

50Article 13

51Political parties and other organizations whose programmes are based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of nazism, fascism and communism, as well as those whose programmes or activities sanction racial or national hatred, the application of violence for the purpose of obtaining power or to influence the State policy, or provide for the secrecy of their own structure or membership, shall be prohibited.

52Article 14

53The Republic of Poland shall ensure freedom of the press and other means of social communication.

54Article 15

551. The territorial system of the Republic of Poland shall ensure the decentralization of public power.

562. The basic territorial division of the State shall be determined by statute, allowing for the social, economic and cultural ties which ensure to the territorial units the capacity to perform their public duties.

57Article 16

581. The inhabitants of the units of basic territorial division shall form a self-governing community in accordance with law.

592. Local government shall participate in the exercise of public power. The substantial part of public duties which local government is empowered to discharge by statute shall be done in its own name and under its own responsibility.

60Article 17

611. By means of a statute, self-governments may be created within a profession in which the public repose confidence, and such self-governments shall concern themselves with the proper practice of such professions in accordance with, and for the purpose of protecting, the public interest.

622. Other forms of self-government shall also be created by means of statute. Such self-governments shall not infringe the freedom to practice a profession nor limit the freedom to undertake economic activity.

63Article 18

64Marriage, being a union of a man and a woman, as well as the family, motherhood and parenthood, shall be placed under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.

65Article 19

66The Republic of Poland shall take special care of veterans of the struggle for independence, particularly war invalids.

67Article 20

68A social market economy, based on the freedom of economic activity, private ownership, and solidarity, dialogue and cooperation between social partners, shall be the basis of the economic system of the Republic of Poland.

69Article 21

701. The Republic of Poland shall protect ownership and the right of succession.

712. Expropriation may be allowed solely for public purposes and for just compensation.

72Article 22

73Limitations upon the freedom of economic activity may be imposed only by means of statute and only for important public reasons.

74Article 23

75The basis of the agricultural system of the State shall be the family farm. This principle shall not infringe the provisions of Articles 21 and 22.

76Article 24

77Work shall be protected by the Republic of Poland. The State shall exercise supervision over the conditions of work.

78Article 25

791. Churches and other religious organizations shall have equal rights.

802. Public authorities in the Republic of Poland shall be impartial in matters of personal conviction, whether religious or philosophical, or in relation to outlooks on life, and shall ensure their freedom of expression within public life.

813. The relationship between the State and churches and other religious organizations shall be based on the principle of respect for their autonomy and the mutual independence of each in its own sphere, as well as on the principle of cooperation for the individual and the common good.

824. The relations between the Republic of Poland and the Roman Catholic Church shall be determined by international treaty concluded with the Holy See, and by statute.

835. The relations between the Republic of Poland and other churches and religious organizations shall be determined by statutes adopted pursuant to agreements concluded between their appropriate representatives and the Council of Ministers.

84Article 26

851. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland shall safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the State, and shall ensure the security and inviolability of its borders.

862. The Armed Forces shall observe neutrality regarding political matters and shall be subject to civil and democratic control.

87Article 27

88Polish shall be the official language in the Republic of Poland. This provision shall not infringe upon national minority rights resulting from ratified international agreements.

89Article 28

901. The image of a crowned white eagle upon a red field shall be the coat-of-arms of the Republic of Poland.

912. White and red shall be the colours of the Republic of Poland.

923. "Dabrowski's Mazurka" shall be the national anthem of the Republic of Poland.

934. The coat-of-arms, colours and national anthem of the Republic of Poland shall be subject to legal protection.

945. Details concerning the coat-of-arms, colours and national anthem shall be specified by statute.

95Article 29

96Warsaw shall be the capital of the Republic of Poland.

97Chapter II. The Freedoms, Rights, and Obligations of Citizens

98General Principles

99Article 30

100The inherent and inalienable dignity of the person shall constitute a source of freedoms and rights of persons and citizens. It shall be inviolable. The respect and protection thereof shall be the obligation of public authorities.

101Article 31

1021. Freedom of the person shall receive legal protection.

1032. Everyone shall respect the freedoms and rights of others. No one shall be compelled to do that which is not required by law.

1043. Any limitation upon the exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights may be imposed only by statute, and only when necessary in a democratic state for the protection of its security or public order, or to protect the natural environment, health or public morals, or the freedoms and rights of other persons. Such limitations shall not violate the essence of freedoms and rights.

105Article 32

1061. All persons shall be equal before the law. All persons shall have the right to equal treatment by public authorities.

1072. No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason whatsoever.

108Article 33

1091. Men and women shall have equal rights in family, political, social and economic life in the Republic of Poland.

1102. Men and women shall have equal rights, in particular, regarding education, employment and promotion, and shall have the right to equal compensation for work of similar value, to social security, to hold offices, and to receive public honours and decorations.

111Article 34

1121. Polish citizenship shall be acquired by birth to parents being Polish citizens. Other methods of acquiring Polish citizenship shall be specified by statute.

1132. A Polish citizen shall not lose Polish citizenship except by renunciation thereof.

114Article 35

1151. The Republic of Poland shall ensure Polish citizens belonging to national or ethnic minorities the freedom to maintain and develop their own language, to maintain customs and traditions, and to develop their own culture.

1162. National and ethnic minorities shall have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.

117Article 36

118A Polish citizen shall, during a stay abroad, have the right to protection by the Polish State.

119Article 37

1201. Anyone, being under the authority of the Polish State, shall enjoy the freedoms and rights ensured by the Constitution.

1212. Exemptions from this principle with respect to foreigners shall be specified by statute.

122Personal Rights and Freedoms

123Article 38

124The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being.

125Article 39

126No one shall be subjected to scientific experimentation, including medical experimentation, without his voluntary consent.

127Article 40

128No one may be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The application of corporal punishment shall be prohibited.

129Article 41

1301. Personal inviolability and security shall be ensured to everyone. Any deprivation or limitation of liberty may be imposed only in accordance with principles and under procedures specified by statute.

1312. Anyone deprived of liberty, except by sentence of a court, shall have the right to appeal to a court for immediate decision upon the lawfulness of such deprivation. Any deprivation of liberty shall be immediately made known to the family of, or a person indicated by, the person deprived of liberty.

1323. Every detained person shall be informed, immediately and in a manner comprehensible to him, of the reasons for such detention. The person shall, within 48 hours of detention, be given over to a court for consideration of the case. The detained person shall be set free unless a warrant of temporary arrest issued by a court, along with specification of the charges laid, has been served on him within 24 hours of the time of being given over to the court's disposal.

1334. Anyone deprived of liberty shall be treated in a humane manner.

1345. Anyone who has been unlawfully deprived of liberty shall have a right to compensation.

135Article 42

1361. Only a person who has committed an act prohibited by a statute in force at the moment of commission thereof, and which is subject to a penalty, shall be held criminally responsible. This principle shall not prevent punishment of any act which, at the moment of its commission, constituted an offence within the meaning of international law.

1372. Anyone against whom criminal proceedings have been brought shall have the right to defence at all stages of such proceedings. He may, in particular, choose counsel or avail himself -in accordance with principles specified by statute -of counsel appointed by the court.

1383. Everyone shall be presumed innocent of a charge until his guilt is determined by the final judgment of a court.

139Article 43

140There shall be no statute of limitation regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

141Article 44

142The statute of limitation regarding actions connected with offences committed by, or by order of, public officials and which have not been prosecuted for political reasons, shall be extended for the period during which such reasons existed.

143Article 45

1441. Everyone shall have the right to a fair and public hearing of his case, without undue delay, before a competent, impartial and independent court.

1452. Exceptions to the public nature of hearings may be made for reasons of morality, State security, public order or protection of the private life of a party, or other important private interest. Judgments shall be announced publicly.

146Article 46

147Property may be forfeited only in cases specified by statute, and only by virtue of a final judgment of a court.

148Article 47

149Everyone shall have the right to legal protection of his private and family life, of his honour and good reputation and to make decisions about his personal life.

150Article 48

1511. Parents shall have the right to rear their children in accordance with their own convictions. Such upbringing shall respect the degree of maturity of a child as well as his freedom of conscience and belief and also his convictions.

1522. Limitation or deprivation of parental rights may be effected only in the instances specified by statute and only on the basis of a final court judgment.

153Article 49

154The freedom and privacy of communication shall be ensured. Any limitations thereon may be imposed only in cases and in a manner specified by statute.

155Article 50

156The inviolability of the home shall be ensured. Any search of a home, premises or vehicles may be made only in cases and in a manner specified by statute.

157Article 51

1581. No one may be obliged, except on the basis of statute, to disclose information concerning his person.

1592. Public authorities shall not acquire, collect nor make accessible information on citizens other than that which is necessary in a democratic state ruled by law.

1603. Everyone shall have a right of access to official documents and data collections concerning himself. Limitations upon such rights may be established by statute.

1614. Everyone shall have the right to demand the correction or deletion of untrue or incomplete information, or information acquired by means contrary to statute.

1625. Principles and procedures for collection of and access to information shall be specified by statute.

163Article 52

1641. Freedom of movement as well as the choice of place of residence and sojourn within the territory of the Republic of Poland shall be ensured to everyone.

1652. Everyone may freely leave the territory of the Republic of Poland.

1663. The freedoms specified in paras. 1 and 2 above may be subject to limitations specified by statute.

1674. A Polish citizen may not be expelled from the country nor forbidden to return to it.

1685. Anyone whose Polish origin has been confirmed in accordance with statute may settle permanently in Poland.

169Article 53

1701. Freedom of conscience and religion shall be ensured to everyone.

1712. Freedom of religion shall include the freedom to profess or to accept a religion by personal choice as well as to manifest such religion, either individually or collectively, publicly or privately, by worshipping, praying, participating in ceremonies, performing of rites or teaching. Freedom of religion shall also include possession of sanctuaries and other places of worship for the satisfaction of the needs of believers as well as the right of individuals, wherever they may be, to benefit from religious services.

1723. Parents shall have the right to ensure their children a moral and religious upbringing and teaching in accordance with their convictions. The provisions of Article 48, para. 1 shall apply as appropriate.

1734. The religion of a church or other legally recognized religious organization may be taught in schools, but other peoples' freedom of religion and conscience shall not be infringed thereby.

1745. The freedom to publicly express religion may be limited only by means of statute and only where this is necessary for the defence of State security, public order, health, morals or the freedoms and rights of others.

1756. No one shall be compelled to participate or not participate in religious practices.

1767. No one may be compelled by organs of public authority to disclose his philosophy of life, religious convictions or belief.

177Article 54

1781. The freedom to express opinions, to acquire and to disseminate information shall be ensured to everyone.

1792. Preventive censorship of the means of social communication and the licensing of the press shall be prohibited. Statutes may require the receipt of a permit for the operation of a radio or television station.

180Article 55

1811. The extradition of a Polish citizen shall be prohibited, except in cases specified in paras 2 and 3.

1822. Extradition of a Polish citizen may be granted upon a request made by a foreign state or an international judicial body if such a possibility stems from an international treaty ratified by Poland or a statute implementing a legal instrument enacted by an international organisation of which the Republic of Poland is a member, provided that the act covered by a request for extradition:

183 1.was committed outside the territory of the Republic of Poland, and

184 2.constituted an offence under the law in force in the Republic of Poland or would have constituted an offence under the law in force in the Republic of Poland if it had been committed within the territory of the Republic of Poland, both at the time of its commitment and at the time of the making of the request.

1853. Compliance with the conditions specified in para. 2 subparas 1 and 2 shall not be required if an extradition request is made by an international judicial body established under an international treaty ratified by Poland, in connection with a crime of genocide, crime against humanity, war crime or a crime of aggression, covered by the jurisdiction of that body.

1864. The extradition of a person suspected of the commission of a crime for political reasons but without the use of force shall be forbidden, so as an extradition which would violate rights and freedoms of persons and citizens.

1875. The courts shall adjudicate on the admissibility of extradition.

188Article 56

1891. Foreigners shall have a right of asylum in the Republic of Poland in accordance with principles specified by statute.

1902. Foreigners who, in the Republic of Poland, seek protection from persecution, may be granted the status of a refugee in accordance with international agreements to which the Republic of Poland is a party.

191Political freedoms and Rights

192Article 57

193The freedom of peaceful assembly and participation in such assemblies shall be ensured to everyone. Limitations upon such freedoms may be imposed by statute.

194Article 58

1951. The freedom of association shall be guaranteed to everyone.

1962. Associations whose purposes or activities are contrary to the Constitution or statutes shall be prohibited. The courts shall adjudicate whether to permit an association to register or to prohibit an association from such activities.

1973. Statutes shall specify types of associations requiring court registration, a procedure for such registration and the forms of supervision of such associations.

198Article 59

1991. The freedom of association in trade unions, sociooccupational organizations of farmers, and in employers' organizations shall be ensured.

2002. Trade unions and employers and their organizations shall have the right to bargain, particularly for the purpose of resolving collective disputes, and to conclude collective labour agreements and other arrangements.

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