The plenary of the Council of State debated today the applications of the Atheist Union and parents of students, who requested the annulment of two decrees of the Minister of Education on certificates of secondary education, and especially on the section that provides that the students’ religion should be included in the school leaving certificates, education certificates, etc.
At the start of the hearing in the plenary session of the Council of State, the advocate of the Atheist Union requested that the religious symbols should be removed from the courtroom. The court, with an interlocutory judgment, rejected the Union’s request, 24 votes to 3.
In particular, in the plenary session of the Council of State, chaired Aikaterini Sakelaropoulou, Rapporteur Marlena Tripolitsioti, who is Councilor, asked, among other things, whether the keeping of a record of education certificates and diplomas of secondary education, in which the religion is indicated, is contrary to the law on the protection of personal data, EU Law, and the Convention on Human Rights.
At the same time, the lawyer of the Union argued that the indication of the religious affiliation on the senior school-leaving certificate infringed the personal data protection, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the religious freedom, adding that the school-leaving certificate will be useful for the students throughout their professional careers.
Moreover, the Union’s advocate invoked the decision of the Council of State on the removal of religion from identity cards.
On her part, the representative of the Legal Council of the State raised the question of whether it was legitimate for the Union to file an application for annulment on the matter in question, much more so when the parents who had applied to the Council of State were not members of that Union.
She argued that the indication of the religious affiliation on the school-leaving certificate of the student did not infringe any right of religious freedom, but rather Article 16 of the Greek Constitution referred to the development of religious consciousness.
The Council of State reserved its decision.