In order to safeguard their rights and interests, every individual and legal entity, in addition to the established legal protection in a judicial and/or administrative procedure, may exercise their rights through the submission of a Petition or Proposal, a procedure that offers certain advantages but is not widely known and remains unfamiliar to a certain portion of individuals and legal entities in general.
The purpose of this text is to briefly explain the procedure for submitting a petition or proposal, based on the fact that practice has shown that every individual and legal entity can protect some of their rights and interests by filing a petition, which does not require a fee. Therefore, any person can achieve the realization of their rights without delay or lengthy procedures and without imposing an additional financial burden.
In accordance with Article 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, every citizen has the right to submit petitions to state authorities and other public services and receive a response from them. The citizen cannot be held accountable or suffer adverse consequences for the opinions expressed in the petitions, unless they have committed a criminal offense through them.
In addition to the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, the Law on Handling Petitions and Proposals provides further advancement and depth in protecting the rights of every individual and legal entity. It regulates the procedure for submitting and handling petitions and proposals to state authorities and other public services in a more comprehensive manner.
Every petitioner or proposer cannot be held accountable or suffer any adverse consequences for submitting a petition or proposal, including expressing opinions and views, unless they have committed a criminal offense with the petition or proposal.
The petition should include facts and evidence that can establish the truthfulness of the allegations. The submitted petition or proposal must not be derogatory or use vulgar language towards the authority to which it is submitted. The petition or proposal cannot be submitted anonymously, unless it involves a matter of public interest established by law.
A petition or proposal is any written or oral communication from the petitioners to the authorities responsible for handling petitions or proposals, aimed at protecting and realizing their rights and interests, public interests established by law, or initiating other initiatives of public interest, apart from those written or oral communications (requests for initiating a procedure to realize rights or legal interests, initiatives for conducting inspections or other forms of supervision) whose content entails a request from the petitioner for initiating a procedure regulated by a special law.
The state authority responsible for handling petitions and proposals is obligated to provide a response to the petitioner regarding the merits and results of the proceedings within a period of 15 days, or for complex matters, within a period of 30 days from the receipt of the petition or proposal.
If, during the handling of the petition or proposal, it is determined that the rights of the petitioner have been violated, or harm has been caused to them, or if the established public interest has been infringed upon by an act, action, or measure, the authority responsible for handling the petition or proposal will notify the competent authority and request the necessary measures to be taken in accordance with the law to rectify the violation of rights or the harm caused.
Furthermore, the Law also provides for monetary fines – penalties for the responsible state authority and the authorized person/manager of the state authority if the petitioner does not receive a response within 15 days, or for complex matters within 30 days from the day of submitting the petition or proposal. We emphasize that the petitioner can also address the Ombudsman of the Republic of North Macedonia and request additional protection of their rights and interests, especially if the state authority acts contrary to the provisions of the law.