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On 30 September 2021, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation published Judgement No. 42-П/2021 adopted in accordance with Article 47.1 of the Federal Constitutional Law “On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation”
On 30 September 2021, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation cancelled the payment for weather forecast.
The case on the review of constitutionality of Article 17, parts 1 and 3 of the Federal Law “On meteorological service”; items 3, 4 and 5 of the Regulation on information services in the sphere of meteorology and monitoring of pollution of the natural environment was considered in connection with the complaint of OOO “Valmaks”. The Judgement is based on the previously expressed legal positions of the Court.

Factual Background
In 2019, the Ministry of Ecology of the Chelyabinsk region has checked effectiveness of measures taken by OOO Valmaks (manufacturer of furniture fittings) as regards protection of environment, and obliged the applicant company to reduce emission of hazardous substances into atmosphere, and to this end – to conclude an agreement on receiving forecasts of unfavourable meteorological conditions. The manufacturer decided that forcible conclusion of agreement was unlawful, and challenged it in courts. The Commercial court of Chelyabinsk region and higher instance courts did not support the applicant’s position.

Position of the Court
All the factories and entrepreneurs which activities have negative impact on the environment are obliged to redress the damage done (guided also by principles of environmental usage for a fee, “user pays”). In particular, in order to reduce dangerous emissions into the atmosphere, usage of unfavourable meteorological conditions forecasts is foreseen. The Law “On meteorological service” provides for different types of such information: general free information and specialised information provided under a contract with user. At that, there is no clear distinction between these types of information, and only specialised information is indicated to be provided under contracts.
Since information on unfavourable meteorological conditions in certain territory and the list of individualised sources of emissions are usually found on the Internet, there is uncertainty as regards necessity of these generally accessible information for entrepreneurs, or need for specialised information (subject to provision under contracts) – illustrated by the case of the applicant. Therefore, the challenged provisions potentially allow for arbitrary interference with private issues.
Information on unfavourable meteorological conditions must not be created in anyone’s interests, and must not be prepared for a fee since it is created with the aim to pursue public goals. The legal regime of such information must not be used for commercialising the state activity.
Contradictions in legal regulation create conditions for administrative arbitrariness and selective justice, thus weakening the guarantees for protection of rights and freedoms. Therefore, the challenged provisions are not in conformity with the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The legislator and the Government of the Russian Federation must introduce necessary amendments thereto.

Press Service of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation

30 September 2021

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