Romania 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2003)

Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. Common Provisions

Article 15. Universality

  1. All citizens enjoy the rights and freedoms granted to them by the Constitution and other laws and have the duties stipulated by them.
  2. The law produces legal effects only for the future, with the exception of more favorable criminal or administrative laws.

Article 16. Equality of Rights

  1. Citizens are equal before the law and before public authorities, with no privileges and with no discrimination.
  2. No one is above the law.
  3. Access to public, civil, or military offices and honors is granted, in accordance with the law, to persons of Romanian citizenship with a domicile in the country. The Romanian State shall guarantee equal opportunities for men and women to accede to such offices and honors.
  4. After Romania’s accession to the European Union, the Union’s citizens who comply with the requirements of the relevant organic law have the right to vote and to stand as candidates in the elections to the local public administration bodies.

Article 17. Romanians Citizens Abroad

Romanian citizens abroad shall enjoy the protection of the Romania state and shall fulfill their duties, except those which require their presence in the country.

Article 18. Aliens and Stateless Persons

  1. Aliens and stateless persons residing in Romania shall enjoy the general protection of persons and property guaranteed by the Constitution and other laws.
  2. The right to asylum is granted and withdrawn in the conditions defined by the law, on observance of the international conventions and treaties to which Romania is a party.

Article 19. Extradition and Expulsion

  1. A Romanian citizen may not be extradited or expelled from Romania.
  2. By derogation from the provisions of paragraph 1, Romanian citizens can be extradited under the international agreements Romania is a party to, in accordance with the law and on the basis of reciprocity.
  3. Aliens and stateless persons may be extradited only on the basis of an international convention or under conditions of reciprocity.
  4. Expulsion and extradition shall be decided upon by the organs of justice.

Article 20. International Human Rights Treaties

  1. Constitutional provisions on the rights and freedoms of citizens shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and with other treaties and pacts to which Romania is a party.
  2. In case of an inconsistency between domestic law and the international obligations resulting from the covenants and treaties on fundamental human rights to which Romania is a party, the international obligations shall take precedence, unless the Constitution or the domestic laws contain more favorable provisions.

Article 21. Free Access to Justice

  1. Any person may appeal to the organs of justice for the protection of his/her rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests.
  2. No law may impede the exercise of this right.
  3. All parties shall be entitled to a fair trial and to the resolution of their cases within a reasonable time.
  4. Special administrative jurisdictions are elective and free of charge.

CHAPTER II. Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

Article 22. The Right to Life and to Physical and Mental Well-Being

  1. A person’s right to life and to physical and mental well-being are guaranteed.
  2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to any kind of inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.
  3. Capital punishment is prohibited.

Article 23. Individual Freedom

  1. Individual freedom and personal security are inviolable.
  2. The search for, detention, or arrest of a person is allowed only in cases specified by law and according to the procedure established by law.
  3. The period of detention may not exceed 24 hours.
  4. Preventive custody shall be ordered by a judge and only in the course of criminal proceedings.
  5. In the course of criminal proceedings, preventive custody may be ordered for a maximum period of 30 days, which may be extended for further periods of up to 30 days each; the overall length of the custody shall not exceed a reasonable term, and not last longer than 180 days.
  6. After the lawsuit has begun, the court is obliged, in accordance with the law, to check, on a regular basis and no later than 60 days, the lawfulness and grounds of the preventive custody, and to order at once the release of the defendant if the grounds for the preventive custody no longer exist and if the court finds no new grounds which could justify the extension of the custody.
  7. The decisions by a court of law on preventive custody are subject to the legal proceedings provided for by law.
  8. The person detained or arrested shall be promptly informed, in the language which he/she understands, of the reasons for his/her detention or arrest and of the charges against him, as soon as possible; he/she will be informed of the charges only in the presence of a counsel chosen by him or appointed by the judge.
  9. The release of a detained or arrested person shall be mandatory if the reasons for the detention or arrest have ceased to exist, as well as in other circumstances defined by the law.
  10. A person under preventive arrest has the right to ask for provisional release, under judicial control or on bail.
  11. A person is considered innocent until the final pronouncement of the sentence.
  12. Punishment can be imposed or executed only on a legal basis and in the conditions defined by the law.
  13. Sanctions which deprive a person of its freedom can only be based on criminal grounds.

Article 24. The Right to Defense Counsel

  1. The right to defense counsel is guaranteed.
  2. Throughout the trial, the parties have the right to be assisted by a chosen or court appointed counsel.

Article 25. Free Movement

  1. The right to free movement in the country and abroad is guaranteed. The law determines the conditions for the exercise of this right.
  2. Every citizen is assured of the right to establish his/her domicile or residence anywhere in the country, to emigrate, as well as to return to the country.

Article 26. Private and Family Life

  1. Public authorities shall respect and protect private and family life.
  2. Every person is free to do whatever he/she wants to do, as long as he/she does not violate the rights and freedoms of other persons, public order, or the standards of public morality.

Article 27. Inviolability of Domicile

  1. The domicile and the residence are inviolable. No one may enter or stay in the domicile or residence of a person without the latter’s consent.
  2. A derogation from the provisions of paragraph 1 may be made, in accordance with the law, for the following purposes:
    1. in order to execute an arrest warrant or a court decree;
    2. in order to remove a threat to a person’s life, physical integrity, or property assets;
    3. in order to defend national security or public order;
    4. in order to prevent the spread of an epidemic.
  3. Searches may only be ordered by a judge and have to be carried out in the terms and forms established by the law.
  4. Searches during night time shall be prohibited, except in cases of a flagrante delicto.

Article 28. Confidentiality of Correspondence

The confidentiality of letters, cables, and other mail, and of telephone conversations and other means of communication is inviolable.

Article 29. Freedom of Conscience

  1. Freedom of thought and opinion, as well as the freedom of religious belief, may not be restricted in any way. No one can be forced to adopt an opinion or to espouse a religious belief contrary to his/her convictions.
  2. Freedom of conscience is guaranteed; it must be expressed in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.
  3. All religions are free and organized in accordance with their own statutes, under the terms defined by the law.
  4. All forms, means, acts, or actions of religious enmity are prohibited in the relationship between the cults.
  5. The religious sects are autonomous in relation to the state and enjoy its support, which includes measures facilitating religious assistance in the Army, in hospitals, penitentiaries, asylums, and orphanages.
  6. Parents or guardians have the right to ensure, in accordance with their own convictions, the education of minor children for whom they are responsible.

Article 30. Freedom of Expression

  1. The freedom to express ideas, opinions, and beliefs, and the freedom of creation in any form-orally, in writing, through images, by means of sound, or by any other means of public communication-are inviolable.
  2. Censorship of any kind is prohibited.
  3. Freedom of the press also includes the freedom to establish publications.
  4. No publication may be banned.
  5. The law may oblige the mass media to account publicly for the sources of their financing.
  6. The exercise of the freedom of expression shall be without prejudice to the dignity, honor or privacy of an individual, or to his/her right to his/her own image.
  7. Any defamation of the country and the nation; any incitement to a war of aggression, to ethnic, racial, class or religious hatred, any incitement to discrimination, territorial separatism or public violence as well as any obscene acts contrary to public morals shall be prohibited by law.
  8. The civil responsibility for any information or creation made public will be borne by the editor or the producer, author, or organizer of an artistic show, by the owner of the means of reproduction, the radio station, or the television station under the terms established by the law. Indictable press offenses shall be established by the law.

Article 31. The Right to Information

  1. A person’s right to have access to any information of public interest may not be curtailed.
  2. Public authorities are under a duty to provide citizens with correct information concerning public affairs and matters of personal interest falling within their respective jurisdiction.
  3. The exercise of the right to information shall be without prejudice to measures which are taken to protect the youth or national security.
  4. The public and private mass media organs must ensure that public opinion receives correct information.
  5. The public services of radio and television are autonomous. They must guarantee that significant social and political groups have the right to broadcast. The organization of these services and the monitoring of their activity by Parliament are regulated by organic law.

Article 32. The Right to Education

  1. The right to education is ensured through compulsory general education, high school and vocational education, higher education, and other forms of instruction and advanced training.
  2. The language of instruction, on all levels, is the Romania language. Under the conditions of the law, an international language can also be the language of instruction.
  3. The right of members of ethnic minorities to learn their mother tongue and the right to be taught in this language are guaranteed; the means of exercising these rights are established by law.
  4. State education shall be free in accordance with the law. The State shall grant social scholarships to children or young people coming from disadvantaged families or state institutions, as stipulated by the law.
  5. Education at all levels shall take place in state, private, or confessional institutions, according to the law.
  6. The autonomy of universities is guaranteed.
  7. The state will ensure freedom of religious education in accordance with the specific requirements of each faith. In the state schools, religious education is organized an guaranteed by law.

Article 33. Access to culture

  1. The access to culture is guaranteed in accordance with the law.
  2. A person’s freedom to develop his/her spirituality and to get access to the values of national and universal culture shall not be limited.
  3. The State has to make sure that spiritual identity is preserved, national culture is supported, arts are stimulated, cultural legacy is protected and preserved, contemporary creativity is developed, and Romania’s cultural and artistic values are promoted throughout the world.

Article 34. The Right to Health Care

  1. The right to health care is guaranteed.
  2. The state is obliged to take measures to ensure hygiene and public health.
  3. The organization of the medical care and social insurance systems in case of illness, accidents, childbirth, and recovery, the supervision of the exercise of the medical professions and of paramedical activities, as well as other measures for the protection of the individual’s physical and mental health are established by law.

Article 35. Right to a Healthy Environment

  1. The State recognizes the right of every person to a healthy, well-preserved and balanced environment.
  2. The State shall provide the legislative framework for the exercise of such right.
  3. Natural and legal persons have a duty to protect and improve the environment.

Article 36. The Right To Vote

  1. Citizens who are 18 years of age or older as of election day have the right to vote.
  2. Retarded or mentally-disturbed persons deprived of the right to vote, as well as persons sentenced by final judicial decision to the loss of voting rights, do not have the right to vote.

Article 37. The Right To Be Elected

  1. Citizens entitled to vote, who fulfill the conditions specified in Article 16, paragraph 3, have the right to be elected, unless they are prohibited from forming political parties in accordance with Article 40, paragraph 3.
  2. Candidates must be at least 23 years of age by or on election day to be elected to the Chamber of Deputies or to the local public administration bodies, at least 33 years of age to be elected to the Senate, and at least 35 years to be elected to the office of President of Romania.

Article 38. Right to Be Elected to the European Parliament

After Romania’s accession to the European Union, Romanian citizens shall have the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament.

Article 39. Freedom of Assembly

Meetings, demonstrations, parades, or any other form of assembly are free and may be organized and held only in a peaceful manner, without any kind of weapons.

Article 40. Freedom of Association

  1. Citizens may freely establish and adhere to political parties, trade unions, employers’ associations and other forms of association.
  2. Parties or organizations which by their objectives or activities militate against political pluralism, the principle of rule of law, or the sovereignty, integrity, or independence of Romania, are unconstitutional.
  3. Judges of the Constitutional Court, people’s advocates, judges and prosecutors, active members of the Armed Forces, policemen and other categories of civil servants determined by an organic law shall not be members of political parties.
  4. Associations of a secret nature are prohibited.

Article 41. Labor and the Social Protection of Labor

  1. The right to work shall not be restricted. Everyone has the right to freely choose his/her profession, trade or occupation, as well as work place.
  2. All employees are entitled to measures of social protection. Such measures concern employees’ safety and health, working conditions for women and young people, the establishment of a national minimum wage, the weekly time off, paid annual holidays, work under difficult or special conditions, and other specific situations, as defined by law.
  3. The maximum duration of a working day is 8 hours on average.
  4. Women receive the same pay as men for equal work.
  5. The right to collective bargaining and the binding nature of collective agreements are guaranteed.

Article 42. The Prohibition of Forced Labor

  1. Forced labor is prohibited.
  2. The following do not constitute forced labor:
    1. activities in the military service or activities which, in accordance with the law, are carried out in lieu thereof due to religious or conscience-related reasons;
    2. work which is carried in normal conditions by a person which has received a sentence during detention or conditional release;
    3. activities necessary in order to deal with a natural disaster or some other danger, or which result from normal civil obligations established by law.

Article 43. The Right to Strike

  1. Employees have a right to strike to protect their professional, economic, and social interests.
  2. The law establishes the conditions and limits for the exercise of this right as well as the guarantees required for the maintenance of essential public services.

Article 44. Right to Private Property

  1. The right to property and the financial claims against the state are guaranteed. The content and limitations of these rights are defined by law.
  2. Private property shall be equally guaranteed and protected by the law, irrespective of who owns it. Foreign and stateless persons may acquire private property of land only under the terms resulting from Romania’s accession to the European Union and from other international agreements to which Romania is a party, on the basis of reciprocity and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant organic law, as well as by lawful inheritance.
  3. No one may be deprived of his/her property, except for a reason of public interest, specified by law, with just and prior compensation.
  4. Nationalizations and all other forcible transfers of assets into public ownership based on the owner’s social, ethnic, religious or political status or other discriminatory features are prohibited.
  5. The public authorities may use any land for projects in the public interest, with the obligation of compensating the owner for resulting damages to the soil, plants, buildings, or any other damage caused by them.
  6. In the case of dispute, the compensations provided for in paragraphs 3 and 5 will be determined by mutual agreement with the owner or by the organs of justice.
  7. The right to own property implies an obligation to comply with duties related to environmental protection and ensuring good neighborliness and to carry out other obligations which, by law or tradition, are incumbent upon the property owner.
  8. Legally acquired property cannot be confiscated. Property is presumed to have been acquired legally.
  9. Any item intended for, used in or resulting from a crime or infringement of the law may be confiscated only in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Article 45. Economic Freedom

The free access to an economic activity, to free enterprise and to their exercise in the terms defined by the law are guaranteed.

Article 46. The Right of Inheritance

The right of inheritance is guaranteed.

Article 47. The Standard of Living

  1. The state is obliged to take measures for economic development and social protection which will ensure that citizens have a decent standard of living.
  2. Citizens have the right to pensions, paid maternity leave, medical care in public health centers, unemployment benefits, and other forms of public or private social security, as provided by the law. Citizens have the right to social assistance in accordance with the law.

Article 48. The Family

  1. The family is based on a freely consented marriage by the spouses, their full equality, and the right and duty of the parents to raise, educate, and instruct their children.
  2. The conditions in which marriages may be contracted, dissolved, and annulled are established by law. A religious marriage ceremony can be celebrated only after the civil ceremony.
  3. Children born outside marriage enjoy equal rights as those born in marriage.

Article 49. Protection of Children and Youth

  1. Children and youth will enjoy special protection and assistance in realizing their rights.
  2. The state shall grant benefits for children and provide aid for the care of sick or handicapped children. Other forms of social protection for children and youth shall be determined by law.
  3. The exploitation of minors and their employment in activities which might be harmful to their health or morals or which might endanger their life or normal development are prohibited.
  4. Minors under the age of 15 cannot be hired as employees.
  5. Public authorities have the duty to contribute to ensuring conditions for the free participation of the youth in the political, social, economic, cultural, and sports life of the country.

Article 50. Protection of Disabled Persons

Disabled persons shall enjoy special protection. The State shall ensure the implementation of a national policy of equal opportunities, disability prevention and treatment, so that disabled persons can take part effectively in community life, while respecting the rights and obligations of their parents or legal guardians.

Article 51. The Right to Petition

  1. Citizens have the right to address petitions to public authorities solely in the name of the signers of the petitions.
  2. Legally constituted organizations have the right to petition exclusively in the name of the collectivity which they represent.
  3. The exercise of the right to petition is exempt from tax.
  4. Public authorities have the obligation to respond to petitions by the deadlines and under the conditions specified by law.

Article 52. The Rights of Persons Suffering Damage at the Hands of Public Authority

  1. Any person whose rights or legitimate interests have been infringed by a public authority, through an administrative act or as a result of the failure to have a request resolved within the period prescribed by law, is entitled to have the right in question or the legitimate interest recognized and the act annulled and to receive compensation for the damages.
  2. The conditions and limitations for the exercise of this right will be determined by statutory law.
  3. The State is financially liable for any damages caused by judicial errors. The State liability is established under the terms defined by the law and does not exclude the liability of those judges who have acted in bad faith or were grossly negligent.

Article 53. Restrictions on the Exercise of Certain Rights or Freedoms

  1. The exercise of certain rights or freedoms may be restricted only by law and only if this is necessary, as the case may be, to defend national security, public order, health, or public morals, or the rights and freedoms of citizens; to investigate a crime; or to prevent the consequences of a natural calamity, a disaster or a particularly severe catastrophe.
  2. The restriction can only be imposed if it is necessary in a democratic society. The measure must be proportionate to the situation which caused it, has to be applied in a non-discriminatory manner and may not eliminate the right or freedom in question.

CHAPTER III. Basic Duties

Article 54. Loyalty to the Country

  1. Loyalty to the country is a sacred duty.
  2. Citizens entrusted with public functions and military men are responsible for faithfully fulfilling their duties and, for this purpose, will take the oath required by law.

Article 55. The Defense of the Country

  1. Citizens have the right and obligation to defend Romania.
  2. The terms for the fulfillment of the military duties are established by organic law.
  3. Citizens may be conscripted from the age of 20 and up to the age of 35, except for volunteers, under the terms established by the organic law.

Article 56. Financial Contributions

  1. Citizens are under obligation to contribute to public expenditure by means of fees and taxes.
  2. The legal tax system must ensure a just distribution of fiscal duties.
  3. Any other levies are prohibited, apart from those determined by law in exceptional circumstances.

Article 57. The Exercise of Rights and Freedoms

Romanian citizens, foreign citizens, and stateless persons must exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms in good faith, without violating the rights and freedoms of others.

CHAPTER IV. The People’s Attorney

Article 58. Appointment and Role

  1. The People’s Attorney is appointed for a five-year-term, for the purpose of defending the rights and freedoms of individuals. The deputies of the People’s Attorney shall have specialized fields of activity.
  2. The People’s Attorney and his/her deputies shall not perform any other public or private functions, with the exception of teaching functions in the higher education system.
  3. The organization and functioning of the office of People’s Attorney shall be regulated by organic law.

Article 59. Exercise of functions

  1. The People’s Attorney shall exercise his/her functions ex officio or at the request of persons whose rights and freedoms have been infringed, within the limits established by law.
  2. Public authorities are under obligation to provide the necessary support to the People’s Attorney in the exercise of his/her duties.

Article 60. Report to Parliament

The People’s Attorney reports to the two chambers of Parliament annually or at their request. The reports may contain recommendations concerning legislation or other measures designed to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens.