Şengül Kayan Başvurusu
Şengül Kayan, Application No: 2013/1614, 3 April 2014 [Impact of Attitudes in Private Life on Professional Life – Article 20 of the Turkish Constitution – Violation – Retrial]
The applicant was working as a warehouse official in Penal Institution. She was dismissed from civil service as a result of a disciplinary investigation initiated by the Ministry of Justice Disciplinary Board upon receiving unverified information about some of her pictures on the Internet under the caption of “A female guardian’s love adventures at Silivri” on the ground of her infamous and disgraceful acts. Her action towards the cancellation of the disciplinary penalty and compensation of her loss was dismissed by the first instance court. After the rejection of her appeal by the Council of State, the applicant filed a complaint before the Constitutional Court claiming that the decision dismissing her from civil service upon receiving unverified information about some of her pictures on the Internet was in breach of the rights defined in Articles 10, 20 and 38 of the Constitution.
B) Judgment and Reasoning of the Court
First of all, the Constitutional Court considered that the dismissal of the applicant from civil service on the ground of certain aspects of her private life constituted an interference with her “right to respect for private life”. The related disciplinary measure was based on Article 125(1)(E)(g) of the Law no. 657 carrying the legitimate aim of “enabling the public services to be duly performed…”. However, there were no evidence showing that the subject matter acts and actions were publicized by the consent of the applicant and the complaints raised against the applicant were not related with the performance of her duties, but with her private life. Moreover, since this discipline penalty given against the applicant would not have consequences only on her career life, but also on her main means of living. In the light of these considerations, the Court concluded that there is no proportionality between the public interest pursued by the disciplinary measure and the damage given to the applicant by the limitation brought against her fundamental rights and freedoms. Thus, the Court found that the right to respect for private life guaranteed under Article 20 of the Turkish Constitution has been violated, and ordered a retrial.
C) Significance of the Judgment
The Şengül Kayan judgment is significant in its evaluation with regard to the consequences of sexually explicit images on the career life of public servants.