D. 1974, 432 Case Société anonyme « Librairie François Maspéro »
02 November 1973
Translated by:
Tony Weir
Professor Sir B. S. Markesinis

D. 1974, 432
Case Société anonyme « Librairie François Maspéro »

2 November 1973

On the decree of 6 May 1939:

Given that the decree of 6 May 1939, amending article 14 of the Law on the Press of 29 July 1881 and made pursuant to the Law of 19 March 1939 which gave the government special powers, was never ratified by the legislature, that no legislative force was conferred on the decree by the subsequent legislative amendments of the Law of 29 July 1881 nor by the reference to that Law in article 7 of the Law of 16 July 1949 on publications designed for juveniles, with the result that the legality of the decree may be raised before the administrative judge;

Given that the Law of 19 March 1939 granted special powers to the government and gave it authority until 30 November 1939 to introduce by decree measures necessary for the national defence; that article 14 of the Law of 29 July 1881, as modified by the decree of 6 May 1939, gave the Minister of the Interior power to prohibit the circulation, distribution or sale of any imported journal, periodical or other publication, whether in a foreign language or in French, and that the powers granted to the Minister of the Interior were so defined as to involve no unlawful subdelegation of the powers conferred on the government by the Law already cited;

On the legality of the decision under attack:

Although the publisher of Tricontinental, the review published in France which is the subject of the measure under attack, is a French company the publication must be regarded as originating abroad in the sense of article 14 of the Law of 29 July 1881 as amended: the French edition of the review bears the same title as the review published in Cuba and claims to be “the theoretical organ of the executive secretariat of the organisation of solidarity between the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America”; the two publications appear very similar, and almost all the articles which appeared in the French edition are translations of articles published in the Cuban Tricontinental, distribution of which is prohibited in France; furthermore the French publisher has in the first French edition that it reproduced word for word the most important articles of the prohibited Cuban edition, and the review sometimes bears to be the French edition of that foreign publication, sometimes the edition in French of articles contained therein;

Given that it emerges from the dossier that no serious misapprehensions of fact underlay the decision of 27 January 1969 whereby the Minister prohibited the circulation, distribution and sale of this review, and that therefore the view of the Minister of the Interior as to the danger which the review presented, not being affected by manifest error, cannot be questioned in the administrative tribunals;

Given that finally the alleged détournement de pouvoir has not been established…Dismisses the application.

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