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On returning a petition to the petitioner

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF THE VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA NO. 1312 “ON THE LIST OF ESTABLISHMENTS OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND ON ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SIZES OF LAND PLOTS USED BY THEM” (WORDING OF 5 JUNE 2008) OF 10 NOVEMBER 1998 IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY

10 November 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—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

at a procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court considered the petition (No. 1B-50/2011) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 “On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them” (wording of 5 June 2008) of 10 November 1998 is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether “the inscription ‘Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory’ made by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 565 of 5 June 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 70-2656) in the entry of the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them approved by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 ‘On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them’ of 10 November 1998 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 100-2778) is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property”.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether “the inscription ‘Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory’ made by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 565 of 5 June 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 70-2656) in the entry of the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them approved by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 ‘On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them’ of 10 November 1998 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 100-2778) is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property”.

1.1. On 10 November 1998, the Government adopted Resolution No. 1312 “On Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Establishments of Vocational Training” (hereinafter also referred to as Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998), which came into force on 11 November 1998. This Government resolution has been amended and/or supplemented more than once.

1.2. On 5 June 2008, the Government adopted Resolution No. 565 “On Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 ‘On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them’ of 10 November 1998”, which came into force on 20 June 2008. By this resolution the Government amended Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 and set it forth in a new wording.

1.3. Thus, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) to a certain extent is not in conflict with the Constitution and the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (hereinafter also referred to as the Law).

2. Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) provides:

Conforming to Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1997, No. 65-1558; No. 48-1522; 2001, No. 71-2518, No. 108-3904; 2002, No. 5-161, No. 40-1464, No. 41-1526, No. 112-4965; 2003, No. 101-4542; 2006, No. 125-4750) and Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 24-635; 1997, No. 69-1735; 2000, No. 56-1649; 2001, No. 71-2524; 2006, No. 116-4401), the Government of the Republic of Lithuania resolves:

To approve the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them (annexed).”

The Annex “The List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them” to Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) inter alia provides:

Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory”.

2.1. It needs to be noted that although the petitioner is disputing Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) insofar as it establishes the size of land plots (total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory) used by Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, it does not provide any legal arguments which would substantiate the incompliance of the said Government resolution insofar as this resolution assigned the entire size of land plots (total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory) used by Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business with the Constitution and the Law.

2.2. It is clear from the content of the petition that in the administrative case considered by the petitioner there is a request to restore the rights of ownership to a land plot of 0.5343 ha in kind. Only a part of this land plot covers the entire size of 134.15 ha of the land plots assigned to Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business by Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008).

It needs to be noted that in its petition the petitioner has not specified regarding namely which part of the used land plots assigned to Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business that the said Government resolution, in the opinion of the petitioner, is in conflict with the Constitution and the Law. Thus, it is not clear from the petition of the petitioner as to what size of the used land plots was assigned by Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) to Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business in violation, in the opinion of the petitioner, of the Constitution and the Law.

3. It is clear from the petition of the petitioner and the material of the case that the expressed doubt regarding the compliance of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008), insofar as it establishes the size of land plots used by Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, with the Constitution and the Law is substantiated by certain factual circumstances, as well as their significance to the teaching process, which are related to the structures and the kitchen garden which are in the land plot to which one aspires restore the rights of ownership in kind; Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business names the said kitchen garden as a collection-experimental nursery garden with a greenhouse. Thus, the corresponding factual circumstances established by the petitioner on the grounds of the proofs collected in the case should be a part of the legal argumentation substantiating the aforesaid doubt. Without establishing such factual circumstances, it would be impossible to investigate into the compliance (to a certain extent) of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) with the Constitution and the Law.

3.1. It needs to be noted that it is clear from the content of the petition and the case material that the structures which are on the said land plot are registered in the Real Property Cadastre and Register as items, however, their owner is not specified; Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business deems these structures as its own property, whereas the person who requests restoration of the rights of ownership to the land plot in kind deems these structures as appurtenances to a house, to which the rights of ownership have already been restored in kind and which is on the said land plot.

Thus, the petitioner has not investigated the factual circumstances and has not established who is the owner of the structures which are on the land plot to which one aspires to restore the rights of ownership in kind. Nor did the petitioner establish what size of the land plot necessary to use these structures is covered by the land plot to which one aspires to restore the rights of ownership in kind.

3.2. Although the petitioner asserts that Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business has a kitchen garden in the land plot to which one requests restoration of the rights of ownership in kind, it is clear form the case material that Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business names this kitchen garden as a collection-experimental nursery garden with a greenhouse.

It needs to be noted that the petitioner has not ascertained the factual circumstances and has not established what actually exists on the land plot used by Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, whether there is a kitchen garden, or a collection-experimental nursery garden with a greenhouse, and how this land plot is connected with the teaching process. In addition, from the content of the petition and from the case material is not clear, either, what size of the land plot is covered by the kitchen garden or the collection-experimental nursery garden with a greenhouse held by Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, to which one aspires to restore the rights of ownership in kind.

3.3. Thus, in the ruling by means of which the petitioner has applied to the Constitutional Court, it did not establish, did not investigate and did not assess those factual circumstances upon which the petition to apply to the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance (to a certain extent) of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) with the Constitution and the Law is substantiated.

4. It needs to be noted that although the Constitutional Court, while investigating a constitutional justice case under the Constitution and the Law on the Constitutional Court, has the powers to investigate, if necessary, the factual circumstances that are important to the decision in the case (Constitutional Court ruling of 20 December 2007, decisions of 15 December 2006 and 17 January 2007), in a situation where the petitioner is a court (which, while considering cases and seeking to establish the truth, must, under the Constitution and laws, be active and it enjoys broad powers and procedural instruments to establish the factual circumstances upon which the doubt regarding the compliance of a disputed legal act with the Constitution and/or laws is based), the Constitutional Court should investigate these factual circumstances only insofar as it is necessary to verify or specify the factual circumstances established by the petitioner.

5. The petitioner is disputing the compliance (to a certain extent) of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) with entire Paragraph 3 of Article 23 of the Constitution, however, the petition is substantiated only by the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 23 of the Constitution. The petitioner has not provided any legal arguments by which it would substantiate its doubt regarding the conflict of the said resolution with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution.

6. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests to investigate the compliance (to a certain extent) of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law. Although in its petition the petitioner does not specify the concrete wording of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law, it is clear from the arguments presented in the petition that it doubts the compliance of the disputed legal regulation with Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Article 12 (wording of 16 November 2006) of the Law.

It needs to be noted that Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 of the Law is composed of three items, whereas Article 12 (wording of 16 November 2006) thereof is composed of two paragraphs, which are respectively composed of fourteen and two items, however, the petitioner does not provide any legal arguments how Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) is in conflict (to a certain extent) with each said provision of the Law.

7. Under Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the court ruling by means of which one applies to the Constitutional Court must specify legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of the legal act with the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the requirement arises from Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court whereby the courts, 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 must substantiate their position on the compliance of every disputed provision of the legal act (part thereof) by clearly formulated legal arguments (Constitutional Court rulings of 12 December 2005, 16 January 2006, 17 January 2006, decisions of 17 January 2006, 5 July 2007, 12 September 2007, and 14 October 2008).

8. It needs to be held that the argumentation of the position of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting investigation into the compliance (to a certain extent) of Government resolution No. 1312 of 10 November 1998 (wording of 5 June 2008) with the Constitution and the Law, when the court (petitioner), as mentioned, did not establish, did not investigate and did not assess those factual circumstances upon which the petition to apply to the Constitutional Court is substantiated and which should be part of the argumentation substantiating the petition, and when no clear legal arguments were presented which would substantiate the doubt regarding the compliance of the said Government resolution with the Constitution and the Law, does not meet the requirements established in Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

9. 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.

10. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether “the inscription ‘Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory’ made by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 565 of 5 June 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 70-2656) in the entry of the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them approved by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 ‘On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them’ of 10 November 1998 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 100-2778) is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” is to be returned to the petitioner.

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

decision:

To return the petition requesting investigation into whether “the inscription ‘Ukmergė School of Technologies and Business, total size of land plots—134.15 ha, from which 86.76 ha—agricultural landed property, and 37.03 ha—built-up territory’ made by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 565 of 5 June 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 70-2656) in the entry of the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them approved by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1312 ‘On the List of Establishments of Vocational Training and on Establishment of the Sizes of Land Plots Used by Them’ of 10 November 1998 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 100-2778) is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner.

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