07. Nov 2016, 021-02-34/2016-02
MINISTRY OF LABOR, EMPLOYMENT, VETERANS’ AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
-Alexander Vulin, Minister-
Dear Mr. Vulin,
The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality was addressed by the Association of Serbian Banks p.u. by letter 0204 no. 125 / 3-2016 of March 15, 2016 and an electronic letter dated March 29, 2016, as well as by the Bank Poštanska štedionica a.d, Belgrade by an electronic letter dated March 1, 2016. These letters point out that the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, more precisely its amendments, introduced certain solutions that are unclear, and cause confusion about the regularity of bank’s daily operations with clients who are persons with disabilities.
The confusion is caused by the application of Arts. 34 and 34a of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with Article 103 of the Law on Promissory Notes and Art. 164-210 of the Law on Extra-judicial Proceedings, which banks are obliged to abide by. Namely, Article 103 of the Law on Promissory Notes prescribes that the signature of a blind person on a promissory note, as well as on the power of attorney issued for the purpose of promissory note debt, is valid only if verified by the court it in the manner prescribed by Article 102 of the Law on Promissory Notes. It is also stated that blind persons, as well as other persons who, due to a certain degree or type of disability, cannot personally sign a promissory note or power of attorney for the purpose of a promissory note debt, or any other written document in which they take on an obligation at the expense of their property, undertake this action in accordance with the provisions of Art. 164-210 of the Law on Extra-judicial Proceedings.
Regarding this issue, the Association of Serbian banks p.u. addressed the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs, as the authorized initiator of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities and the competent body for interpreting the provisions of Arts. 34 and 34a of this law.
In response, the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs, in its letter No. 011-00-242 / 2016-15 dated March 21, 2016, addressed to the Association of Serbian Banks p.u., gave its opinion on the application of the aforementioned provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, regarding the signing of promissory notes and the approval for account debiting, that is, signing related to formal legal affairs and written agreements by persons with disabilities, according to which, persons with disabilities cannot use a stamp in such cases, as the stamp cannot replace the signature as an essential element of the legal transaction.
The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality believes that the amendments to the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, which enable the use of a stamp containing personal identity information, or a stamp with engraved signature, represent an advancement in the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities who, due to the permanent consequences of physical or sensory impairment or illness, are not able to sign personally.
However, the provisions of Article 34 of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities stipulate that public authorities (state bodies, territorial autonomy bodies, local self-government bodies, organizations entrusted with exercising public authority, as well as legal entities established or financed wholly or predominantly by the Republic of Serbia, territorial autonomy or local self-government) are obliged to allow persons with disabilities, in the proceedings before these authorities, to sign documents with a stamp containing personal identity information or with a stamp with engraved signature (paragraph 2). Paragraph 3 of the same Article stipulates that documents representing a form of contract or some other legal transaction cannot be signed in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article, but in accordance with the regulations governing the verification of signatures and the verification of documents. The provision of Article 34a prescribes the obligation for all legal and natural persons referred to in Article 13 of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities to enable a person with permanent consequences of physical or sensory impairment or illness to use the services by signing, where necessary, with the seal containing personal identity information or with the stamp with engraved signature, without prescribing the exception provided for in Article 34, paragraph 3 of the Law.
Bearing in mind the above, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, pursuant to Article 33, paragraph 9 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, recommends to the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs to take all necessary measures and actions in order to resolve the uncertainties in the implementation of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, and problems persons with disabilities face in achieving full equality, especially in the area of accessibility of services, as well as to launch an initiative for harmonization of all regulations with this anti-discrimination law.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY
 “Official Gazette of RS”, no. 33/06 and 13/16
 “Official Gazette of the FPRY”, no. 104/46, “Official Gazette SFRY”, no. 16/65, 54/70 and 57/89 and “Official Gazette of FRY”, No. 46/96
 “Official Gazette of SRS “, no. 25/82 and 48/88, “Official Gazette of RS”, no. 46/95 – other Law, 18/05 – other Law, 85/12, 45/13 – other Law, 55/14, 6/15 and 106/15 – other Law