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Current Household Register System Will Be Repealed

Posted February. 03, 2005 23:00,   


The Constitutional Court ruled that the household register system (hojuje) was “unconstitutional.”

The Judicial Committee of the Constitutional Court (Chief judge: Kim Young-il) made a decision on Thursday on the case brought before the court by the Seoul Western District Court that the household register system was “incompatible with the constitution,” saying, “The current patriarchal family registration system violates the constitutional guarantees on the rights of human dignity and gender equality in family affairs.”

The targets of the court’s ruling was Article 778, which defines “the head of a family” in Civil Law, Clause 1 of Article 781, which regulates registration of children, and Clause 3 of Article 826, which is about responsibilities between a husband and wife. These were ruled as unconstitutional by six out of nine judges.

The current law relating to the household register system will be in effect until a new law is passed in the National Assembly, and controversy over the household register system is actually settled.

“We admit the effect of the existing law until a revision is made, because a verdict of unconstitutionality upon the structural provisions of household register system will leave a legal vacuum in proving identity and relationship,” added the Judicial Committee.

On the other hand, a few judges, including Kim Young-il, Kwon Sung, and Kim Hyo-jong, ruled that Article 778 in the Civil Law, which defines household register system on the basis of traditional culture, was constitutional. Opinions vary in part on Clause 1 of Article 781 and Clause 3 of Article 826.

Sang-Rok Lee Ji-Seong Jeon myzodan@donga.com verso@donga.com