Constitutional court freezes cuts to pensions

The Sala IV constitutional court has suspended a central government directive that would put a top on what are considered luxury pensions.

Victor Morales Mora, the labor minister, announced earlier this month that pensions for 910 former public officials will be limited to 10 times the lowest public base salary.

This is considered a money-saving action by the central government but a challenge was not long in coming.

The Poder Judicial said that the constitutional court was acting on an appeal by a man who received a pension. The man appealed, in part, based on a law protecting senior citizens, said the Poder Judicial.

The court suspended the decree temporarily while it studies the appeal. This action is equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case rather than rejecting it out of hand. The case still is undecided.

The constitutional court magistrates voted unanimously to consider the case.

The appeal was expected because there did not seem to be any legal basis for changing the amount of the pension that already had been awarded to an individual.

The current administration did so to save money, and it also is beginning to establish a track record of changing the rules that it considered incorrect even if they have been in force for some time.

There is a long tradition in Costa Rican law that the government cannot take back a benefit that it already has awarded even if that was done in error.

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