“The prohibition of social service workers from joining political groups is unconstitutional… Ban on political party membership is constitutional.”


Constitutional Court view. material photo

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Military Service Act, which prohibits social service personnel from joining political organizations, is against the Constitution. The meaning of ‘political group’ is unclear, and it is to the point that it is excessive to completely ban their social activities. However, the Constitutional Court judged that banning social service personnel from joining a ‘party’ was necessary to maintain political neutrality and ensure commitment to work. On the 25th, the Constitutional Court ruled that the constitutional complaint was unconstitutional by judges 6 (unconstitutional) to 3 (constitutionality) in the judgment of the Constitutional Court, which was filed by a social service worker on the 25th, saying that Article 33 (2) of the Military Service Act was unconstitutional. Mr. A was called up as a social worker in March 2019 and worked at a municipal library. The Military Service Act stipulates that ‘If a social service worker commits an act with a political purpose, such as joining a political party or other political organization, a warning is given, and the service is extended by 5 days for each additional number of warnings’. In response, Mr. A filed a constitutional complaint, saying, “The Military Service Act, which forbids the political actions of social service personnel, infringes on basic rights.” The Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prohibit “acts with political purposes, such as joining other political groups,” among the provisions of the Military Service Act. “The meaning of ‘other political groups’ is unclear and does not conform to the principle of clarity. It is for the reason that it is not possible to derive a standard that can distinguish a ‘political group’ from a ‘non-political group’.” The Constitutional Court also said, “It can even ban social service personnel from social activities, such as joining groups that have nothing to do with guaranteeing political neutrality. Considering the status and authority of social service personnel in charge of supporting simple administrative tasks, it is difficult to see that there is a risk of undermining political neutrality even if they are allowed to act with a political purpose.” The Constitutional Court, however, found that the prohibition of ‘partisan membership’ among the provisions of the law was constitutional. The Constitutional Court said, “Banning social service personnel from joining a political party is an appropriate means to maintain political neutrality and ensure their commitment to work. After the period of service, membership in a political party is allowed, so it cannot be seen that basic rights are excessively infringed.” By Son Hyun-soo, staff reporter [email protected]


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