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On refusing to consider a petition

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

D e c I s I o n

On the petition of the Kaunas Regional Court requesting an investigation into the compliance of the provision of the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. VIII-206) “On Amending the Resolution of the Supreme Council ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’” of 29 April 1997 by which the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 and the provision of the second chapter of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Supplementing the Law on Enabling the Population of the Republic of Lithuania in Providing Themselves with Dwelling Places with Article 13 and Amending Articles 14 and 18 thereof, as well as on the Recognition of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments and the Resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’ as Null and Void” of 12 October 2000 by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania

Vilnius, 3 April 2001

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Egidijus Kūris, Zigmas Levickis, Augustinas Normantas, Vladas Pavilonis, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, Stasys Stačiokas, and Teodora Staugaitienė

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in the procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court considered a report of Egidijus Kūris, a Justice of the Constitutional Court, concerning a petition of the petitioner—the Kaunas Regional Court—requesting the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the provision of the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. VIII-206) “On Amending the Resolution of the Supreme Council ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’” of 29 April 1997 by which the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 and the provision of the second chapter of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Supplementing the Law on Enabling the Population of the Republic of Lithuania in Providing Themselves with Dwelling Places with Article 13 and Amending Articles 14 and 18 thereof, as well as on the Recognition of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments and the Resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’ as Null and Void” of 12 October 2000 by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void are in compliance with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1. The petitioner—the Kaunas Regional Court—was considering a civil case. By its ruling of 26 January 2001, it suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of the provision of the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. VIII-206) “On Amending the Resolution of the Supreme Council ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’” of 29 April 1997 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1997, No. 39-955; hereinafter also referred to as the Seimas resolution of 29 April 1997) by which the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 and the provision of the second chapter of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Supplementing the Law on Enabling the Population of the Republic of Lithuania in Providing Themselves with Dwelling Places with Article 13 and Amending Articles 14 and 18 thereof, as well as on the Recognition of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments and the Resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’ as Null and Void” of 12 October 2000 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, No. 92-2874; hereinafter also referred to as the law of 12 October 2000) by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void with the provisions of equality of citizens entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

2. The petition is based on the following arguments.

In the aforementioned case considered by the petitioner, the plaintiffs requested the satisfaction of their claim to obligate the respondent to permit them to privatise their rooms in the hostels in pursuance with the Law on Privatisation of Apartments which was then in force. The claim was complied with by the Kaunas Local Court’s decision of 28 September 2000. Until the termination of the judicial procedure, the plaintiffs could not make use of the right established in Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments. The petitioner points out that other persons have made use of this right by acquiring on favourable terms the rented residential premises.

Before the decision was adopted in the said case, it had been established by the Seimas resolution of 29 April 1997 that the Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998. The said Seimas resolution had abolished the right established in Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments. Besides, it was established in the second chapter of the law of 12 October 2000 that the Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be recognised as null and void.

Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution provides that all persons shall be equal before the law, the court, and other state institutions and officers. The petitioner doubts whether the provision of the Seimas resolution of 29 April 1997 that the Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 and the provision of the second chapter of the law of 12 October 2000 by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void are in compliance with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. Article 1 of the Seimas resolution of 29 April 1997 provides:

To amend Item 1 of the Resolution of the Supreme Council ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’ and, instead of the date ‘1 July 1997’, to enter the date ‘1 July 1998’ and to set down this item as follows:

1. To establish that the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall come into force on 30 June 1991 and shall be valid until 1 July 1998 except for the tenants who dwell in the residential premises specified in Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments.’”

The petitioner has doubts concerning the compliance of not whole Article 1 of the Seimas resolution of 1997 but only its provision that the Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

2. Article 1 of the second chapter of the law of 12 October 2000 provides that the Resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas “On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments” and the Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be recognised as null and void.

The petitioner requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the provision of the second chapter of the law of 12 October 2000 by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void is in compliance with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

3. It is clear from the arguments set down that the petitioner confronted the constitutionality problem of the impugned provisions when it was considering whether in the case considered by the petitioner the impugned legal acts as well as the Law on Privatisation of Apartments must be applied.

It was held in the Constitutional Court decision of 11 July 1994 that “the interpretation of the essence of a legal norm is a duty of the state institution which applies the law. Neither the Constitution nor the Law on the Constitutional Court grants the right to the Constitutional Court to interpret the application of laws, therefore, the consideration of such a petition is not within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court”. The Constitutional Court does not consider questions of application of law, while doubts concerning the application of laws must be removed by courts themselves by construction of the applicable norms (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 11 July 1994 and its ruling of 11 January 2001).

Under Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions for the examination of the constitutionality of a legal act by its decision if the examination of the petition does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

Conforming to Article 28 and Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

To refuse to consider the petition of the Kaunas Regional Court requesting an investigation into the compliance of the provision of the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. VIII-206) “On Amending the Resolution of the Supreme Council ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’” of 29 April 1997 by which the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments shall be valid until 1 July 1998 and the provision of the second chapter of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Supplementing the Law on Enabling the Population of the Republic of Lithuania in Providing Themselves with Dwelling Places with Article 13 and Amending Articles 14 and 18 thereof, as well as on the Recognition of the Law on Privatisation of Apartments and the Resolution of the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Privatisation of Apartments’ as Null and Void” of 12 October 2000 by which the Law on Privatisation of Apartments is recognised as null and void with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:

Egidijus Jarašiūnas      Egidijus Kūris      Zigmas Levickis

Augustinas Normantas     Vladas Pavilonis      Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius      Stasys Stačiokas      Teodora Staugaitienė