Consult, reduction of former senators’ annuities: inadmissible legitimacy issues raised by the Senate Guarantee Council

The new discipline of annuities of former senators (reduced due to the application of the contributory regime also to treatments accrued before 2012 and already in use) and its compatibility with the general principles on social security, established by the Constitution, cannot be reviewed by the Constitutional Court. The redetermination of annuities is in fact arranged with a minor regulation of the Senate (the resolution of the Council of the Presidency of the Senate of 16 October 2018, n. 6), which is not included among the acts with the force of law, submitted, pursuant to art . 134 of the Constitution, at its own judgement. On the other hand, it can be directly reviewed by the self-declaration bodies of the Senate, in the context of a procedure of a substantially jurisdictional nature, in compliance with the right of defense and the right to be heard. This is what we read in sentence n. 237 filed today (editor Maria Rosaria San Giorgio), in which the Constitutional Court declared the inadmissibility of the questions of constitutional legitimacy raised by the Senate Board of Trustees, against the aforementioned resolution, in contrast with the articles 2, 3, 23, 36, 38, 53, 67, 69 and 117 of the Constitution.

However, the Court specified that the emoluments, due at the end of the elective office, «investing an essential component of the economic treatment of the parliamentarian, contribute to ensuring all citizens equal right of access to the related function” and avoid “the risk that the performance of the parliamentary munus, […] may remain deprived of adequate social security protection”. Since its inception, the annuity has had a special regime, defined with internal regulations of the Chambers. The Constitutional Court states that its provision by law would ensure “a desirable homogeneity of the discipline concerning the status of parliamentarian”, as well as guaranteeing that that normative act could be scrutinized by the Court itself.

The questions of constitutional legitimacy raised against the rule of law were also declared inadmissible (article 26, paragraph 1, letter b, of law no. 724 of 1994) which limited itself to suppressing any special tax regime for life benefits due to former parliamentarians. No reasons were provided – the Court observed – as to why it was deemed necessary to apply a provision concerning the tax treatment of annuities, in a judgment in which the redetermination in a pejorative sense of annuities already enjoyed by senators is contested .