By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – José Celso de Mello Filho, oldest member of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), has decided to bring to the plenary session of the Supreme Court a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Workers Party (PDT) which questions the decree that blocked 30 percent of the general budgets of federal institutes and universities.

José Celso de Mello Filho is currently the oldest member of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil and is, therefore, referred to as the dean of the Court.
José Celso de Mello Filho is currently the oldest member of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil and is, therefore, referred to as the Dean of the Court.

He has also given ten days for President Jair Bolsonaro to provide information regarding the cuts.

Celso de Mello is not going to analyze the request for an injunction (provisional decision) to suspend the decree because “he understood that the eleven Court Members must directly define the case.”

There are at least five lawsuits in the Federal Court questioning the budget cuts for universities and institutes, and two more inquiries in the Supreme Court, in the hands of Minister Marco Aurélio Mello. On Wednesday (eighth), he denied one of the requests.

The lawsuit currently before Celso de Mello, proposed by the PDT, says that the decree with the cuts is against the Constitution because it aims to restrict freedom of thought and promote “ideological policing.” According to the party, the decree damages the right to education.

“Education is a right that everyone shares and falls under the responsibility of the State. (…) Their goal, contrary to what many people think, is not only to prepare the citizen for the job market but also to help them develop as human beings so that they can contribute to society”, said the PDT.

The Ministry of Education reported that the blocking of 30 percent in federal tuition would be valid for all universities and all institutes.

The announcement was made after critical reactions to the cutting of funds to three universities that had been the scenes of public demonstrations: Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and Universidade Federal da Bahia (Ufba).

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