May 19, 2013
SRA officially owns Palermo fairground
The federal Civil and Commercial Court officially recognized the Argentine Rural Society (SRA) as the “owner” of the Palermo fairgrounds, and for this reason suspended the presidential decree which had declared null and void the sale of the building under former President Carlos Menem in 1991.
The ruling was originally signed January 4, but was handed in after court hours, leading to its official announcement yesterday.
Government sources said yesterday that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration would appeal the ruling on the basis of the court’s “incompetence”, and seek to have the case transferred to the Administrative Litigation court, as the case referred to a decree and as such an administrative act.
Regarding the jurisdictional question, the judges behind the ruling stated that their court had accepted the case as “it covered the sale of private state property and that the norms that affects its resolution are the civilian norms that regulate the area.”
The government is also set to present an extraordinary lawsuit to demand the involvement of the Supreme Court against the injunction and overturn the court’s decision.
However, the Supreme Court is apparently not expected to act in the immediate future, according to sources, and will only do so in February when judicial activities are resumed and the court has its full complement of seven justices.
According to the ruling, which was written on January 4 but published yesterday, judges Graciela Medina, Francisco de las Carreras and Ricardo Guarinoni considered “it is logical to state that the owner of the Palermo fairground is the SRA, according to the testimony signs on May 27, 1992, before the Notary General of the National Government.”
“It cannot be ignored that there is a certain risk that, if the judicial holiday is not cancelled (which it was), both the right of ownership invoked by the (SRA) as well as the fundamental aim of the denied injunction would be frustrated,” added the judges with regards to the SRA claim.
The judges also stated that “the national government lacks, in principle, the legitimacy required to recover an asset it sold over 20 years ago in a unilateral act. Even if the price was ‘a betrayal’, as the government describes it, the state must turn to the judiciary to overturn what it considers to be damaging.”
In this context, according to the ruling, the judges stated that “the contract cannot be rescinded simply as a result of (the decree).”
Through this ruling, the court overruled Decree 2552/12 through which the government expropriated the property.
—Herald with DyN,