[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Portal of the Judiciary, Court of Administrative Justice
[Date:] 30 Dey 1397 [20 January 2019]
Decision of the Committee of Experts
Case reference: H-‘A 96/800
Re: Annulment of the Statute of Commission for Sects and Religions in the Province of Mazandaran pertaining to the closure of commercial units belonging to [the members of] the perverse Bahá’í sect, number 207/M7958/11, dated 10 Aban 1395 [31 October 2016]
Decision date: Sunday, 30 Dey 1397 [20 January 2019]
Court order number: 9709970906010348
Committee of Experts for General and Administrative Affairs
File number: H-‘A 96/800 Court order number: 9709970906010348
Date: 30 Dey 1397 [20 January 2019]
Appellant: Mr. Shahriar Foroughian
Respondent: Governorate of Mazandaran and Office of Amaken Supervision of Public Places of Sari
Reasons submitted by the appellant to annul the regulation—subject of the appeal:
The appellant has put forth his grievance, by way of a judicial request, and proffered the following in support of his request:
1. The subject of appeal is contrary to the provisions of Articles 14, 19, 20, 22, 24, 28, 37 and 40 of the Constitution, which stipulates the observance of fairness and justice with non-Muslims, equity, protection of the rights of its citizens, protection of occupation, non-investigation of one’s beliefs, freedom of work and the principle of presumption of innocence, and it rejects constraining others or violating the public interest.
2. This statute is also inconsistent with Articles 27, 28 and 37 of the Trade Union Act, and in light of the fact that the provisions of the statute are contrary to the referenced items of the Trade Union Act, and the fact that the status has not been endorsed by the Provincial Security Council, its ratification is beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission for Sects and Religions.
3. The status in question is in contrast with the blessed verses of Al-Baqarah [2:42] and Ali ‘Imran [3:71].
The text of the appealed regulation:
As per page 3 of the file records—the decision made by the provincial prosecutor and the governorate authorities pertaining to the non-closure of commercial units of Bahá’ís on special days, as per the provisions of the statute.
Summary of defence submitted by the respondent:
1. Pursuant to Article 28(e) of the Trade Union Act, the failure of commercial units to perform their duties causes their closure, and pursuant to Article 17 of the said Act, tradesmen/shop owners are obliged to observe all disciplinary laws and regulations, and at the time of obtaining a business licence must undertake to observe the bylaws of Amaken Supervision of Public Places, and are obligated to cooperate with the disciplinary force. The sealing of the commercial unit of the appellant was due to his failure to observe the above legal provisions and is in line with the enforcement of the statutes dated 8 Aban 1395 [29 October 2016] and 31 Tir 1396 [22 July 2017] of the Security Council. Moreover, some time after the sealing of the commercial units belonging to [the members of] the perverse Bahá’í sect, for the purpose of obtaining undertakings from them, efforts were made to remove the seals. However, this appellant refused to provide such an undertaking to guarantee that this would not be repeated.
2. Articles 22, 26 and 27 of the Constitution relate to the recognized freedom of legal parties and organizations; the perverse sect of Baha’ism, due to the lack of a constitution and legal charter, is not subject to the freedom specified in these articles. Furthermore, endorsing freedom of belief, speech and expression does not permit distorting the public mind, and any action that is against public order, national security and the interest of the society is against the laws of the Constitution, and the coordinated actions of the shop owners in closing their commercial units are a clear true example of this.
The ruling of the Committee of Experts for General and Administrative Affairs:
Subsequent to a careful review of the file records, based on the fact that letter number 5930/100/97, dated 23 Tir 1397 [14 July 2018], issued by the honourable Secretariat of the Guardian Council, stipulates that “the record of the grievance is not recognized to be against Sharia”, in enforcement of the provisions of Articles 84.2 and 87 of the Formation and Procedure of Court of Administrative Justice Act, ratified 1392 , it is found that there is no merit to annulling the subject statute from the Sharia perspective.
Pursuant to various judicial standards, including Articles 17 and 28(e) of the Trade Union Act, Article 8 of the executive bylaws and Article 28 of the Trade Union Act, as well as para 15 of the criteria of the disciplinary force pertaining to commercial units, ratified 23 Shahrivar 1389 [14 September 2010], tradesmen/shop owners are obliged to abide by and comply with state laws and bylaws, including disciplinary rules and regulations issued by relevant legal authorities, and failure of commercial units to respect the regulations indicated in the Trade Union Act will result in the closure of the commercial unit for a period of one week to six months. As per statute number 207/M7958/11, dated 10 Aban 1395 [31 October 2016], of the Commission for Sects and Religions in the Province of Mazandaran, pertaining to the sealing of commercial units belonging to [the members of] the perverse Bahá’í sect, it is within the governing laws and regulations and the interpretation of the codified laws and their execution, and is not inconsistent with the law or outside the jurisdiction [of the Commission for Sects and Religions]. Accordingly, pursuant to Article 84.2* of the Formation and Procedure of Court of Administrative Justice Act, ratified 1392 , the appeal is hereby dismissed.
This ruling can be appealed within 20 days after issuance to [be reviewed by] the head of the Court of Administrative Justice or ten honourable judges of the Court [of Administrative Justice].
Seyyed Kazem Mousavi
Head of Committee of Experts for General and Administrative Affairs
Court of Administrative Justice
*previously referred to as 84(b)