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On the conditions under which persons are insured by state funds and compensation payment upon their injury or death in the line of duty

Case No. 8/97

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF

THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

R U L I N G

 

On the compliance of Item 4 of the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty approved by government resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991 with Article 48 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police

 

Vilnius, 3 December 1997

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zigmas Levickis, Augustinas Normantas, Vladas Pavilonis, Jonas Prapiestis, Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius, Teodora Staugaitienė, and Juozas Žilys

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Audrius Jakutis, a deputy head of the Legal Division at the Headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, acting as the representative of the Government, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 20 November 1997, considered case No. 8/97 subsequent to the petition submitted to the Court by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Item 4 of the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty approved by government resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991 was in compliance with Article 48 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

On 25 February 1997, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the petitioner, was considering a civil case subsequent to an appeal of the plaintiff A. Čipkienė concerning the 3 January 1997 decision of the Vilnius Regional Court. By its ruling, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether Item 4 of the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty approved by government resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1992, No. 8-212) was in compliance with Article 48 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 2-22).

II

The request of the petitioner is based on the following arguments.

Article 48 of the Law on the Police provides that in the event that a police official dies while performing his service duties, his family shall be paid a one-off compensation equivalent to a ten-year salary of the deceased. Neither this article nor Chapter 6 entitled “Social Guarantees of Police Officials” of the same law provides for any reservations under which such a compensation may not be paid. By its resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991, the Government approved the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty (hereinafter referred to as the Conditions). Item 4 of the Conditions as approved by the government resolution regulated the events not insured against when insurance amounts and compensation are not to be paid. As Article 48 of the Law on the Police does not provide for any situations or conditions under which compensation may not be paid, the petitioner doubts whether Item 4 of the Conditions established by the said government resolution is in conformity to Article 48 of the Law on the Police.

III

In the course of preparation of the case for the judicial investigation, an explanation of A. Svetulevičius, a secretary at the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, and A. Jakutis, the representative of the party concerned, was received. Therein it is stated that in its Resolution “On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police” of 11 December 1990, the Supreme Council-Reconstituting Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania obligated the Government to review and establish the procedure for providing officials of the prosecutor’s office, those of the systems of the interior and national defence with apartments, as well as the procedure for paying work remuneration, additional pay and compensation (for injury or death on duty, material damage due to service etc.) by orientating oneself towards respective then valid and undergoing the process of preparation laws of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as social guarantees which were being applied to employees of the system of the interior. Chapter 6 of the Law on the Police provides for social guarantees of police officials. Paragraph 2 of Article 46 of the said chapter prescribes that the scope of social guarantees shall be established by means of laws of the Republic of Lithuania, and the procedures of application thereof shall be established by the Government.

It is stated in the explanation that a right was delegated to the Government to establish procedure for application of social guarantees (as well as compensation). Therefore, the impugned resolution cannot in essence contradict the Law on the Police, as the same law was in force, while by its resolution the Supreme Council-Reconstituting Seimas obligated the Government to approve the aforesaid procedure. An analogous procedure is established by Article 25 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Functionaries, as well as the Government Resolution “On the Approval of the Regulations for Compensation Payments for Functionaries Who Died or Suffered Injuries in the Line of Duty” of 31 January 1996. Item 8 of these regulations also provide for cases when compensation is not to be paid.

The explanation points out that a substatutory legal norm may neither replace the law itself nor create legal norms of new nature which by their power would compete with the norms of the law. It also notes that Item 4 of the Conditions as established by the impugned resolution does not compete with the norms of the Law on the Police. The said item does not reduce the circle of entities to whom the norms of the law are applied, nor does it change in essence the obligation of the state to pay a compensation for the family of a deceased official, while it merely obligates the officials to observe the requirements of the Law on the Police and other valid laws. Article 35 of the Law on the Police provides for general professional duties of police officials. Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the said law stipulates that police officials shall be personally responsible for their own actions and decisions, and the consequences thereof. Article 48 of the Law on the Police does not define as to what is deemed to be the performance of professional duties or an event insured against. The events insured against are defined only by Item 3 of the Conditions established by the impugned resolution. Only the provision of Item 3 of the Conditions stipulating that “<...> events (provided they occur when the insured person is performing professional duties or moving to or from work <...>)” provided the plaintiff with an opportunity to state in the civil case that the death of her husband was in the line of duty. In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, Item 4 of the Conditions established by the impugned resolution is in compliance with Article 48 of the Law on the Police.

In the court hearing A. Jakutis, the representative of the party concerned, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the explanation.

IV

In the course of preparation of the case for the judicial investigation, an explanation of J. Beinortas, Deputy Chairman of Seimas Social Affairs and Labour Committee, was received wherein it is stated that Item 4 of the Conditions approved by the impugned resolution is grounded on the norms of Article 31 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Security Department, those of Article 51 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on National Defence Service, those of Item 4 of the Seimas Resolution “On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police”, however, the events not insured against as well as other conditions which by all means would be analogous to those presently established by the Government must be provided for by law.

In the course of the preparation of the case for the judicial investigation, an explanation of M. Gruodis, Head of the Court Expertise Division at the Ministry of Administration Reforms and Municipal Affairs, acting as the specialist, was also received. Therein it is stated that Item 4 of the Conditions established by the impugned resolution is grounded on the norm of the law, however certain subitems of this item contradict Article 48 of the Law on the Police.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. On 11 December 1990, the Supreme Council-Reconstituting Seimas passed the Law on the Police. Article 48 of the said law prescribes:

In the event that a police official dies while performing his service duties, his family shall be paid a one-off compensation equivalent to a ten-year (120 months) work remuneration of the deceased.

A police official who sustains personal injuries in the line of duty shall be compensated the equivalent of the work remuneration covering the period from one to five years (from 12 to 60 months), depending on the gravity of the sustained injury.

Police officials shall be compensated for material damages encountered in the line of duty.”

By Item 4 of its Resolution “On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police” of 11 December 1990, the Supreme Council-Reconstituting Seimas obligated the Government to review and establish the procedure for providing officials of the prosecutor’s office, those of the systems of the interior and national defence with apartments, as well as the procedure for paying work remuneration, additional pay and compensation (for injury or death on duty, material damage in the line of duty etc.) by orientating oneself towards respective then valid and undergoing the process of preparation laws of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as social guarantees which were being applied to employees of the system of the interior.

By its resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991, the Government approved the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty. According to Subitems 1 and 2 of Item 1 of the Conditions, officials of the Ministry of the Interior, those of the Republic and municipal police service and other offices of the interior (anti-fire, reformatory affairs, security, etc.), as well as cadets of the Lithuanian Police Academy and law schools of further learning at the Ministry of the Interior, members of the territorial reserve of police commissariats who are doing practice or working on probation and fulfilling official duties in the police shall be sustained by the means of the Budget of the Lithuanian State, the budgets of municipalities, as well as those of enterprises, offices and organisations. In other subitems other categories of persons subject to insurance are listed. They are: prosecutors, officials of the Ministry of National Defence, officers of national defence in the active military service, re-enlistees who have not retired from service, persons in active military service, officials and volunteers of the voluntary national defence service, officials of the State Security Department etc.

The Conditions provide that the health and life of the aforementioned persons shall be insured. The Conditions also define what shall be regarded as events insured against. These are such events which occur when the insured person is performing professional duties, when he is going to or from work, or at the time when the person was not at work provided the court or the investigation establishes that these events are linked with his duties, as well as when they occur during the time of studies or exercise of the insured person and which either harm the health of or cause the death to the insured person. These are: trauma due to an accident, or an attempt on the life and health of the insured person, as well as any other instant event when against his will a physical force (chemical, thermal, that of poisonous gases, or any other physical effect) acts against the body of the insured person; accidental acute poisoning through food (as well as getting infected through food with infectious diseases which are pointed out in the acute infectious intestine diseases list approved by the Ministry of Health), medicines, poisonous plants, as well as acute or chronic poisoning through chemical substances; negative consequences due to either erroneous diagnosing or the application of measures of treatment and prophylaxis (medical injections among them) after the events insured against; the getting of a foreign body into respiratory organs, anaphylactic shock, the drowning or freezing of an insured person.

However, upon the death or injury of the insured person, compensation is paid or damages suffered are compensated not in all cases. Item 4 of the Conditions prescribes:

Events shall not be categorised as events insured against and insurance amounts and compensation shall not be paid in the case that:

the insured person has suffered from his own deed wherein the investigation or the court established the features of an intentional crime, or in the case that this deed is linked with an administrative violation of law;

the insured person has suffered in the state of intoxication through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances;

the insured person has suffered while driving a means of transport or any other auto-vehicle without a corresponding certificate, or upon giving over to another person to drive a means of transport who was intoxicated through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances or who had not any corresponding certificate;

the insured person has committed suicide, or has attempted to commit suicide or has injured himself intentionally;

either the health of the insured person has broken down or he has died due to disease or war.”

The petitioner who was considering the case at law regarding compensation payment after the death of a police official who during an accident was drunk had doubts whether provisions of Item 4 of the Conditions were in compliance with Article 48 of the Law on the Police wherein neither situations nor conditions under which compensation may not be paid are provided for.

2. The police of the Republic of Lithuania is an executive institution ensuring law and order and operating within the system of the interior of the country. The main tasks of the police are prevention of crimes and other violations of law, detection and investigation of crimes, protection of public order, peace and security, protection of civil rights, freedoms and property, protection of the state border, as well as, within its powers, environmental protection. Furthermore, the police accomplishes supervision of traffic safety, renders immediate and other social assistance to the community. It protects Lithuanian citizens and organisations, as well as other persons who are in the territory of Lithuania.

The competence of a state institution is accomplished by persons who work in it. The legal status of persons serving in the police is determined by the goals, tasks of the activity and accomplished functions of the police as a state institution.

The police official is a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who serves and holds a valid post in the police, and who carries out police functions. He, at all times and places, has the same legal status and position as a governmental representative. The honour, dignity, life, health, rights, and freedoms of a police official are protected by means of laws of this country. Police officials comprise policemen/policewomen and police functionaries. The persons indicated in Paragraph 4 of Article 5 of the Law on the Police are also deemed to be police officials. The peculiarities of the legal status of police officials are conditioned by the character of their professional activity, therefore, the laws establish special conditions and procedure for their admittance to or dismissal from service, as well as the rights and duties of such officials, their responsibility and social guarantees.

Certain requirements and conditions are raised for persons who wish to serve in the police. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who are 18 years of age or over, who have a command of the national language, and who, by their educational, professional and physical qualifications, personal qualities, and state of health, are capable of performing the duties of a police official, may join the police on a voluntary and selective basis. The service in the police is based on the discipline prescribed by service regulations.

When performing his duties, a police official follows the laws and other normative legal acts regulating police service, therefore, all citizens, enterprises (i.e. state, private and other), institutions and organisations (and their officials) must comply with the demands of a police official. If lawful demands of a police official are not complied with, the official has the right to use force, but only to the extent necessary, and after all other measures of persuasion and the like prove to be ineffective.

The service in the police is linked with certain requirements for the official himself. He must behave and act as a representative of authority, protect legitimate interests of citizens, society and the state, his actions must be legally grounded. A police official is addressed by the people who await and hope for his assistance. Therefore, under the chapter entitled “The Code of Honour of Officials” of the Statute of the Service in the System of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, a police official must “never forget that citizens will, at all times and places, regard the official as a representative of authority, while by his appearance, conduct in service and mode of life they will judge of the entire system of the police and the interior service”. A police official must comply with the requirements of this code of honour. Any violation of the said requirements should be condemned, and it incurs moral and disciplinary responsibility.

Alcoholism—a universally recognised social evil—is remarkably incompatible with the service of a police official. Drunk police officials discredit the police service, undermine public confidence in the police, not to mention their inability to properly perform the duties commissioned to them. To avoid these consequences, legal and educational measures are necessary.

The Law on the Police provides for general and special rights and duties of police officials. All police officials have general professional rights and duties. The special professional rights and duties are granted to police officials who perform special police functions as provided by law.

General professional rights of police officials, for instance, are: the right to demand that citizens who are violating law and order cease their unlawful actions; the right to check personal documents upon suspecting that a citizen or official has violated the law and notifying that person thereof; the right to bring offenders to the police or other official premises; the right to use, in cases provided for by law, firearms, special equipment, and methods of combat wrestling, etc.

In order to characterise the activity of a police official, general professional duties of police officials are of no less importance. A police official, at all times and places, must: take urgent measures, upon witnessing a crime or any other violation of the law being committed, or upon receiving a report from a citizen or an official concerning such an act, to stop the crime or violation that is being committed; take measures to apprehend persons guilty of committing a crime or other violation of the law and to bring them to police quarters upon receiving a report from a citizen or official concerning the commission of such a deed; report information concerning socially harmful deeds to the police upon the knowledge of such deeds, take measures to protect the scene of the incident, and ascertain witnesses of the crime; ensure the protection of the rights, legal interests, and health of persons who are arrested and brought to police quarters, and provide first aid to victims of law violations and persons who are in a helpless state; take all possible measures to save the property of citizens, the state, public organisations, and other organisations in the event of natural calamity, catastrophe, accidents, or other emergency situations, etc. In carrying out their duties, police officials must respect and preserve the dignity of people, and must ensure and protect their rights and freedoms.

Thus, the activity of a police official is a specific one. Due to such a peculiarity of their work, police officials encounter transgressors of law and dangerous offenders. They make use of firearms in cases provided for by law. To perform professional duties successfully under an extreme situation, one needs personal courage and determination while special knowledge and skills are not always of help. Time and again, the life, health or property of a police official who performs his service duties are endangered, therefore, the laws establish certain guarantees to ensure his protection.

On the one hand, the laws provide for penal and administrative responsibility for impeding a police official to perform his duties or attempt at his honour, dignity or life. For example, one may mention responsibility provided for by Article 2011 of the Criminal Code for resistance against a police official or police supporter, as well as that provided for by Article 2031 for an attempt on the life of a police official or police supporter, that provided for by Article 187 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law for non-compliance with a lawful demand of a police official, as well as that for the insult to his honour and dignity, etc. On the other hand, special social guarantees are provided for police officials: provision with flats, a prolonged yearly vacation, additional pay supplementing remuneration, the right to receive compensation for expenditures for the accommodation in a sanatorium and treatment therein etc. under the procedure established by law and by other legal act. A one-off compensation equivalent to a ten-year (120 months) work remuneration paid in the event that a police official dies while performing his service duties as provided for by Article 48 of the Law on the Police should also be categorised as a social guarantee. Alongside, the law prescribes that a police official who sustains personal injuries in the line of duty shall be compensated the equivalent of the work remuneration covering the period from one to five years (from 12 to 60 months), depending on the gravity of the sustained injury.

The norm of Article 52 of the Constitution, which provides that the state shall guarantee the right of citizens to old age and disability pension, as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of breadwinner, and other cases provided by law, also conditions the establishment of compensation for the death or injury of a police official. By the said norm, social assistance, one type of which is compensation in the event of the death or injury of a police official, is deemed to be that of the status of a constitutional value. It is important to ensure it effectively, therefore, the rendering of such social assistance is established by law. The obligation of the state is to guarantee sufficient measures for the implementation and protection of this right.

One should note that the legislature, by establishing the compensation in the event of the death of a police official in Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Law on the Police, has defined the condition, which is “performing service duties” in a most general form under which the right appears to the said payments. Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the said article which establish compensation payment to a police official who has suffered injury or material damage use the formulation “in the line of duty”. Thus, under the law, compensation shall be paid in every case when the cause of the death or injury of a police official was no other than performance of his service duties or his service in the police.

Taking account of these circumstances, the Constitutional Court will investigate the compliance of Article 48 of the Law on the Police with Item 4 of the Conditions.

3.1. By approving the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty, the Government was accomplishing the 11 December 1990 resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituting Seimas which had obligated it to review and establish the procedure for providing officials of the prosecutor’s office, those of the systems of the interior and national defence with apartments, as well as the procedure for paying work remuneration, additional pay and compensation along with other social guarantees. Such was the commissioning of the legislature for the executive.

In the Conditions by which the implementation of the norms of the law had to be ensured one had to particularise the procedure for covering persons by insurance by state funds against the death or injury in the line of duty. Article 48 of the Law on the Police contains an imperative norm: the right to compensation appears upon the death of a police official who was performing service duties, or his injury in the line of duty. The law does not establish any other conditions. However, Item 4 of the Conditions provides for cases under which compensation to police officials or other indicated persons are not to be paid. These are the cases when the insured persons suffered in the state of alcoholic or narcotic intoxication, or that caused by any other toxic substances; when the features of an intentional crime have been established in their deed etc. Thereby by the said item of the Conditions other regulation of compensation for police officials is established than that provided for by the Law on the Police.

The Constitutional Court, in assessing the relation between a law and a substatutory act, has noted many a time that the norms of the law are implemented by substatutory act, however, such a legal act may not replace the law itself nor may it create new legal norms of a general character which would compete by their power with those of the law. Thereby the constitutional principle of the supremacy of laws in respect to substatutory acts is ensured.

One should note that the impugned norms were adopted before going into effect of the present Constitution. Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania of 6 November 1992 provides that laws, other legal acts, or parts thereof which were in effect on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective provided they do not contradict the Constitution and this Law. The legislature, as well as the executive, is obligated by this norm to review the legal acts adopted before while taking account of the norms of the Constitution, and to ensure a harmonious hierarchical system of legal acts which regulate the same relations. Therefore, the legislature had to take into consideration Article 52 of the Constitution guaranteeing social security for citizens which must be ensured by law. One may neither establish nor limit the conditions for the emergence of this right or its scope by means of the substatutory regulation of these relations.

The constitutional status of social rights, alongside, does not deny the right of the legislature to establish certain conditions of their emergence and certain limitations on the said rights. For instance, Article 10 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Provisional Law on Repaying Damages Pertaining to Accidents in Work or Vocational Disease consolidates a provision that the damages for a person who has suffered damage shall not be paid in the case that: the cause of an accident is intoxication through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances which is not linked with a technological process; the damage occurred in the process of committing an intentional crime by the aforesaid person; the damage occurred when the aforesaid person performed a job independently without the permission (consent) of the employer or the farmer or when the job was being performed not to the advantage of the employer or the farmer; the aforesaid person was striving for the accident intentionally. In this case the Government could particularise and concretise certain conditions established by law. In the impugned case there was not any proper regulation established by law. The Government regulated these relations by substatutory act. Thus, there was a violation of the constitutional principle of the legal protection of persons’ social rights.

On the grounds of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Item 4 of the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty approved by government resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991 to the extent that it establishes events not insured against for police officials contradicts, as to its form, Article 48 of Law on the Police.

3.2. In addition, the Constitutional Court notes that the aforesaid Conditions, unlike Article 48 of the Law on the Police, Paragraph 1 whereof uses the notion “while performing service duties” while Paragraphs 2 and 3 whereof use the notion “in the line of duty”, use the only notion “in the line of duty” in all cases. Due to such a diversity of the notions used in the law and the substatutory act, there may occur problems when one applies these norms.

The norm of Subitem 1 of Item 4 provides that events shall not be categorised as events insured against and insurance amounts and compensation shall not be paid in the case that the insured person has suffered from his own deed wherein the investigation or the court established the features of an intentional crime, or in the case that this deed is linked with an administrative violation of law. In defining the event not insured against, the Government used the notions “a deed which has the features of an intentional crime” and “a deed which is linked with an administrative violation of law”. The system of valid laws defines crimes, as well as administrative violations of law, as dangerous deeds. On performing the said deeds, one violates certain values. One of the goals of the law and order institutions is to prevent unlawful deeds of such a character. The measures of criminal or administrative responsibility are applied to persons who have been recognised guilty for committing a crime or administrative violation of law. Such are dire effects for the contempt of the prohibitions of the law. Professional activity of police officials by which one attempts to prevent crimes and other violations of law, as well as to detect and investigate them, is incompatible with any violation of law. However, for example, under penal law the notion “a deed which has the features of an intentional crime” would include both indispensable defence and an indispensable necessity. These deeds correspond to the features of a crime, even though in their content they are not dangerous and are beneficial to society. Therefore, the formulation contained by the Conditions is defective as it assesses deeds of a different character in the same manner. Moreover, the significance of committing a crime through negligence has not been assessed in establishing either the existence or absence of an event insured against.

The notion “a deed which is linked with an administrative violation of law” is used in this item of the Conditions. The content of this notion is not clear. It is not clear whether one has in mind an administrative violation of law or the actions which are linked with it in one or another way. The actions which might be of a different character should, perhaps, be assessed differently from legal standpoint. This is another essential deficiency in the formulation of the norm.

Subitem 2 of Item 4 of the Conditions prescribes that events shall not be categorised as events insured against in the case that the insured person has suffered when he was in the state of intoxication through alcohol, narcotic or toxic substances.

It is evident that drunkenness of a person or his intoxication through narcotic or toxic substances negatively affects the human being. He is incapable of controlling himself, he perceives the occurring situation inadequately, co-ordination of his actions and his self-possession are slackened. Due to such intoxication, various negative effects frequently occur, due to this laws are violated, therefore, legal norms negatively assess such a human state. For example, Item 10 of Article 41 of the Criminal Code provides that when a criminal punishment is being given, the fact that the crime has been committed by a drunk person, or who was intoxicated through narcotic or toxic substances shall be held an aggravating circumstance. Article 10 of the Provisional Law on Repaying Damages Pertaining to Accidents in Work or Vocational Disease prescribes that the damages for a person who has suffered injury shall not be paid in the case that the cause of an accident is intoxication through alcohol, narcotic or toxic substances which is not linked with a technological process.

In general, however, a negative attitude toward intoxication through alcohol, narcotic or other substances does not deny the fact that there must be a causal relationship between the deed and its effects. Therefore, it is important to establish in every case whether the consequences for which a person is responsible are causally related to the intoxication of a person. The consequences provided for the aforesaid norm of Article 10 of the Provisional Law on Repaying Damages Pertaining to Accidents in Work or Vocational Disease occur in the case that it was the intoxication of a person that caused the accident. Penal laws, too, grant the court the right not to recognise the intoxication of a culprit as an aggravating circumstance in the case of certain crimes depending on their nature.

The Government, while formulating the norm of Item 4 of the Conditions, used the notion “has suffered in the state of intoxication through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances”. This notion means that the absence of an event insured against is linked with such an objective fact, where the insured person was intoxicated through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances. After such unreserved treatment of the significance of the state of an insured person, the establishment of the causes which have brought about harmful effects becomes senseless.

According to the doctrine of causation, drunkenness could be the direct cause for occurrence of an event not insured against. Then the effects would appear due to this reason but never because of performing service duties or the service itself. Of course, such a provision should not be applied in the case that the person who has suffered damage was intoxicated against his will. However, the present wording of the impugned subitem allows not paying compensation regardless of any direct causes of the death or injury. It is sufficient that during the death or injury the person who has suffered damage was intoxicated through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances.

Under Subitem 3 of Item 4 of the Conditions, events shall not be categorised as events insured against and insurance amounts and compensation shall not be paid in the case that “the insured person has suffered while driving a means of transport or any other auto-vehicle without a corresponding certificate, or after giving over to another person to drive a means of transport who was intoxicated through alcohol, narcotics or toxic substances or who had not any corresponding certificate”.

The part of the said subitem which establishes that an event shall not be categorised as an event insured against in the case that the person who has suffered damage has suffered while driving a means of transport or any other auto-vehicle without a corresponding certificate links the occurrence of negative effects with one of traffic rules violations. However, under such a wording of this norm, compensation would not be paid even in such cases when the insured person has not violated traffic requirements, while the accident occurred due to other reasons (e.g., upon violation of such requirements by other traffic participants). In such a case the effects would occur due to the actions of another person but never those of the insured person. Driving a means of transport without a certificate is a violation of traffic rules, however, in itself this cannot be the cause of death or injury.

Subitems 4 and 5 of Item 4 of the Conditions provide that events shall not be categorised as events insured against and insurance amounts and compensation shall not be paid in the case that “the insured person has committed suicide, or has attempted to commit suicide or has injured himself intentionally”, as well as “the health of the insured person has broken down or he has died due to disease or war”.

In the first case the direct cause of the death or injury is a deed of the insured person himself—intentional destruction of his life, an attempt at suicide or an intentional injury of his health performed by any manner. In the second case an event which occurred due to either disease of the insured person or war is not deemed to be an event insured against. All these provisions would not place limitations on Article 48 of the Law on the Police provided they indicated that the aforesaid facts are not connected with performance of police service duties or the service of the official. Thus, this norm is also insufficiently clear.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

To recognise that Item 4 of the Conditions under Which Persons are Insured by State Funds and of Compensation Payment upon Their Injury or Death in the Line of Duty approved by government resolution No. 530 of 5 December 1991 to the extent that it establishes events not insured against for police officials contradicts Article 48 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Police.

This ruling of Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is pronounced in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:

 

Egidijus Jarašiūnas      Kęstutis Lapinskas      Zigmas Levickis

 

Augustinas Normantas     Vladas Pavilonis      Jonas Prapiestis

 

Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius     Teodora Staugaitienė     Juozas Žilys