A court returns the Gold Medal of the province of Seville to former Francoist minister José Utrera Molina


The Contentious Administrative Court number seven of Seville has finally admitted the appeal filed by the family of the former minister of the dictatorial era and former civil governor of Ciudad Real, Burgos and Seville José Utrera Molina, against the adopted agreement in December 2016 by the plenary session of the Seville Provincial Council, definitively revoking the gold medal that said institution had awarded him in 1969. Thanks to this appeal, the court declares the contested agreement void for having “dispensed with” the Provincial Council “from the legally established procedure as the prior favorable opinion of the Council of State or equivalent advisory body of the Autonomous Community did not act in the file”.

Utrera Molina defines himself "Falangist" and praises Franco for defending his Seville gold medal

Utrera Molina defines himself as a “Falangist” and praises Franco for defending his gold medal in Seville

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In this sentence issued on December 23 and collected by Europa Press, the court deals with an administrative contentious appeal promoted by the family of the aforementioned president of the Franco era against the decision of the Seville Provincial Council to withdraw the gold medal that it had awarded in 1969 to José Utrera Molina.

The exalted Francoist office, which died five months after withdrawal of said distinction, previously presented a brief of allegations before the Diputación de Sevilla against the withdrawal of the Gold Medal of the Province. In the statement of defense, the father-in-law of former PP Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón defines himself as a “Falangist.” And he praises dictator Francisco Franco without complexes as “an exceptional man” and the former leader of Spanish fascism, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as an example “of nobility.”

After the Diputación de Sevilla definitively approved the withdrawal of the medal on December 29, 2016, that is, just four years ago, the family of José Utrera Molina appealed such plenary agreement through the Administrative Litigation, although initially the Court of the Contentious Administrative number seven declared the “inadmissibility” of the appeal, understanding that “the revocation or withdrawal of honors and distinctions lacks binding legal effectiveness, neither for the recipient of the same nor for third parties”, noting that in this case it would be “rights that are extinguished after the death of the person to whom said distinction was granted.”

Likewise, the court determined that the aforementioned plenary agreement was “a declaration of intentions of a political nature, lacking administrative content.”

However, after raising the matter to the family of José Utrera Molina to the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia (TSJA), said instance resolved that “the death of the initial litigant does not constitute a supervening cause of inadmissibility nor does it deprive the process of effectiveness”, in addition to that “the resolution subject to appeal is not limited to making political assessments, but cites Law 52/2007 as legal protection, which recognizes and extends rights and establishes measures in favor of those who suffered persecution or violence during the Civil War and the dictatorship, the Regulation of Local Entities and the Regulation of Honors and Distinctions of the Provincial Council, which implies an act dictated in accordance with said norms and not a mere declaration of intentions “.

Given the case, the TSJA ordered the aforementioned court to resolve “the merits” of the litigation raised by the relatives of the aforementioned minister from the Franco era, from which this new sentence derives.

In such judgment, the Contentious Administrative Court number seven estimates the appeal filed by the aforementioned family against the plenary agreement of the Seville Provincial Council regarding the definitive withdrawal of the gold medal that had been awarded in 1969 to Utrera Molina, assessing the thesis of the same in the sense that the Regulation of Honors and Distinctions of the Provincial Council stipulates that “these honors and distinctions may be revoked, through the ex officio review procedure (…) when for any motivated circumstance the beneficiaries discredit the honor or distinction imposed “, but according to the common administrative procedure.

Although the representation of the Diputación wielded Law 52/2007, which recognizes and extends rights and establishes measures in favor of those who suffered persecution or violence during the Civil War and the dictatorship, the Court indicates that the Honors Regulation and Distinctions from the provincial institution “refers to the ex officio review procedure regulated” by the Law of the Common Administrative Procedure of the Administrations, which requires “prior favorable opinion from the Council of State or equivalent consultative body of the Autonomous Community, if any”.

“After examining the administrative file, we have to give the reason to the appellant because the defendant Administration dispensed with the procedure legally established by not acting in the file the prior favorable opinion of the Council of State or equivalent consultative body of the Autonomous Community, if any , reason for which it is necessary to uphold the present appeal and declare the nullity of the appealed resolution “, concludes the court.

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