The Constitutional Court ordered on November 2 a temporary suspension of the application of a clause in Georgia’s civil procedure code, which allows a court of first instance in civil matters to order an immediate enforcement of a decision even if the verdict is appealed.
The decision stems from a complaint lodge with the Constitutional Court by Rustavi 2 TV lawyers in parallel to the ongoing court battle over the broadcaster’s ownership, which is currently adjudicated in the Tbilisi City Court after one of Rustavi 2 TV’s former owners, Kibar Khalvashi, filed a civil lawsuit trying to reclaim his shares in the television channel.
Fearing that the plaintiff, Kibar Khalvashi, may seek an immediate enforcement of the court verdict if the decision is in his favor, Rustavi 2 TV lawyers filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court challenging the clause in Georgia’s civil procedure code which allows for an immediate enforcement of the court decision in certain instances even if the verdict is appealed to a higher court by one of the parties in dispute.
In addition, Rustavi 2 TV lawyers requested that the Constitutional Court suspend application of the disputed clause in the civil code (subparagraph ‘f’ of part 1 of article 268) as an interim measure pending its decision on the merits of their complaint. The Constitutional Court accepted this request by the Rustavi 2 TV lawyers.
The decision means that even if Khalvashi wins court battle over Rustavi 2 TV ownership, he will not be able to request that the judge to order an immediate enforcement of the verdict. The Constitutional Court’s interim measure applies not only to Rustavi 2 TV dispute, but to all other similar civil disputes, which might be currently adjudicated in courts.
Rustavi 2 TV head, Nika Gvaramia, hailed the Constitutional Court’s decision as an important “victory”, which is a “deadly blow” to ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, whom Gvaramia accuses of trying to take over the broadcaster with the help of Khalvashi.
“We have never intended to ask for an immediate enforcement of the verdict,” said Paata Salia, a lawyer representing Kibar Khalvashi, “it was Rustavi 2 TV, which was speaking about it. We have never demanded it.”