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On refusing to consider part of a petition and on returning part of the petition

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF THE VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER ARTICLE 72 (WORDING OF 3 FEBRUARY 1993) AND PARAGRAPH 4 OF THE SAME ARTICLE OF THE LAW ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA PROVISIONAL LAW ON RECALCULATION AND PAYMENT OF SOCIAL PAYMENTS (WORDING OF 9 DECEMBER 2009) AND PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 4 OF THE SAME LAW ARE NOT IN CONFLICT, AS WELL AS PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 5 OF THE LATTER LAW WAS NOT IN CONFLICT, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

9 June 2011
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Sigutė Brusovienė,

in a procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court considered the petition (No. 1B-28/2011) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) and Paragraph 4 of the same article of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (wording of 9 December 2009) (hereinafter also referred to as the Provisional Law) and Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the same law are not in conflict, as well as Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the latter law was not in conflict, with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether:

1) Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

2) Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

3) the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments, insofar as it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions, is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

4) Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, insofar as it does not establish the legal regulation that would enable to determine whether a legal act recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution is no longer valid from the adoption thereof or from the day of the adoption of the Constitutional Court ruling, was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

5) Paragraph 4 (wording of 3 February 1993) of Article 72 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into inter alia, “whether the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments, insofar as it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions, is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

2. It needs to be noted that the legal regulation relating to compensation for reduced pensions is entrenched only in Paragraph 4 of Article 16 of the Provisional Law, wherein it is prescribed: “Until 1 July 2010, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania shall prepare and approve the inventory schedule of the procedure for compensation for the reduced state social insurance pensions of old age and of lost capacity to work”. The other articles of the Provisional Law contain no provisions regarding pension compensation. Consequently, the petitioner is disputing not the entire Provisional Law, but only Paragraph 4 of Article 16 of this law, to the extent that it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions.

3. On 29 June 2010, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the compliance of Articles 5 and 6 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the State Pensions of Judges, Paragraph 3 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on State Pensions, and Item 1 of Paragraph 2 of Article 1 and Paragraph 4 of Article 16 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” in constitutional justice case No. 06/2008-18/2008-24/2010, wherein it inter alia investigated whether Paragraph 4 of Article 16 of the Provisional Law, to the extent that it did not provide for compensation for the reduced state pensions of judges, was not in conflict with the Constitution, and recognised that Paragraph 4 of Article 16 of the Provisional Law, to the extent that it did not propose to the Government that the inventory schedule of the procedure for compensation for the state pensions reduced to a large extent be prepared and approved, was in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court was published in the Official Gazette Valstybės žinios and came into force on 16 November 2010.

4. It needs to be held that the received petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is disputing the constitutionality of the same provision of the Provisional Law the compliance whereof with the Constitution has been investigated by the Constitutional Court, and the Constitutional Court ruling adopted on the matter in question remains in force.

Under Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court, by its decision, refuses to consider petitions to investigate the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution if the compliance of the legal act with the Constitution specified in the petition has already been investigated by the Constitutional Court and the ruling on this issue adopted by the Constitutional Court is still in force.

5. Taking account of the arguments set forth one needs to refuse to consider the petition of the petitioner requesting to investigate “whether the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments, insofar as it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions, is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

6. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests investigation into inter alia whether:

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

7. The petitioner is quoting the provisions of the constitutional doctrine regarding the duty of the state to guarantee pensionary maintenance, however, it provides no substantiation as to how these provisions are related with the disputed legal regulation established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Provisional Law, also why the said provisions of the law, insofar as they provide for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, are/were in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23, Articles 29 and 52 of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It needs to be held that the petitioner has not provided any legal arguments substantiating its doubts regarding the compliance, to the specified extent, of the disputed Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4, as well as Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Provisional Law, with the Constitution.

8. Under Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the court ruling by means of which the court applies to the Constitutional Court requesting to investigate whether a legal act is not in conflict with the Constitution must specify legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of the law or other legal act with the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the requirement arising from Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court to specify legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of a law or other legal act with the Constitution means that the courts that apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate whether a law or other legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, when presenting their arguments as to the opinion expressed in the petition regarding the conflict of the law or other legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution, may not confine themselves to general reasoning or statements that the law or other legal act (part thereof), in their opinion, is in conflict with the Constitution, but must clearly indicate which disputed articles (paragraphs, items thereof) of legal acts, and to what extent, in their opinion, are in conflict with the Constitution, and to substantiate their position on the compliance of every disputed provision of the legal act (part thereof) by clearly formulated legal arguments. In the opposite case, the petition of the court requesting to investigate the compliance of the law or other legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution is to be considered as incompliant with the requirements of Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

9. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that the petition requesting investigation into whether:

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”,

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”,

does not conform to the requirements set in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

10. Under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, if a petition fails to comply with the requirements set inter alia in Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such petition shall be returned to the petitioner. The return of a petition (part thereof) shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure once the existing deficiencies have been removed.

11. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests investigation into inter alia whether:

– “Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, insofar as it does not establish the legal regulation that would enable to determine whether a legal act recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution is no longer valid from the adoption thereof or from the day of the adoption of the Constitutional Court ruling, was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Paragraph 4 (wording of 3 February 1993) of Article 72 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

12. The petitioner has virtually substantiated its doubts regarding the compliance of Article 72 and Paragraph 4 of the same article of the Law on the Constitutional Court with the Constitution by the fact that, according to the petitioner, “the petition of the petitioner to the court, in the event of satisfaction of the requirements of the petitioner, is related with application of the consequences arising from the recognition of the legal act as being in conflict with the Constitution”.

Thus, the arguments of the petitioner by means of which the petitioner has substantiated its doubt regarding the compliance of Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) and Paragraph 4 of the same article of the Law on the Constitutional Court with the Constitution are inseparable from the arguments by means of which the petitioner has substantiated its doubt regarding the compliance of the Provisional Law (wording of 9 December 2009) as well as Paragraph 1 of Article 4 and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the same law with the Constitution.

13. In this decision it has been refused to consider the petition of the petitioner requesting to investigate “whether the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments, insofar as it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions, is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”. It has also been held that one needs to return to the petitioner the petition requesting to investigate whether:

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

14. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that the petition requesting to investigate whether:

– “Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, insofar as it does not establish the legal regulation that would enable to determine whether a legal act recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution is no longer valid from the adoption thereof or from the day of the adoption of the Constitutional Court ruling, was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”,

– “Paragraph 4 (wording of 3 February 1993) of Article 72 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”,

does not conform to the requirements set in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

It has been mentioned that, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, if a petition fails to comply with the requirements set inter alia in Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such petition shall be returned to the petitioner. The return of a petition (part thereof) shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure once the existing deficiencies have been removed.

Conforming to Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 22, Article 28, Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67, Item 3 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

decision:

1. To refuse to accept the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting to investigate “whether the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments, insofar as it does not provide for compensation for reduced state pensions, is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

2. To return to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, the petition requesting to investigate whether:

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 December 2009) of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania Provisional Law on Recalculation and Payment of Social Payments (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 152-6820), insofar as it provides for recalculation of and reduction in the already granted state pensions, was not in conflict with the principle of inviolability of ownership entrenched in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with Articles 29 and 52 thereof, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Article 72 (wording of 3 February 1993) of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, insofar as it does not establish the legal regulation that would enable to determine whether a legal act recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution is no longer valid from the adoption thereof or from the day of the adoption of the Constitutional Court ruling, was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”;

– “Paragraph 4 (wording of 3 February 1993) of Article 72 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania was/is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

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

The decision is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Egidijus Bieliūnas
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Gediminas Mesonis
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis
                                                                      Dainius Žalimas