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On the interpretation of the provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 12 May 2006 whereby a state award may not be related to granting certain material benefit

Case No. 16/03-17/03-18/03

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROVISION OF THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA “ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 1 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON AMENDING ARTICLE 7 OF THE LAW ON LAND REFORM AND ARTICLE 7 (WORDING OF 5 NOVEMBER 2002) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON LAND REFORM WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA” OF 12 MAY 2006

2 July 2010
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis,

with the secretary of the hearing—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

pursuant to Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing on 1 July 2010, considered the petition of Irena Degutienė, the Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, requesting to construe whether the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania “On the compliance of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 12 May 2006 means that the administrative procedures which, before the promulgation of the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, were initiated in pursuance of the procedure established in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform (wording of 1 September 1991–3 July 2002) and Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 627 “On the Approval of the Procedure for Granting Gratis as Ownership Lots of State Land for Individual Construction to the Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania Who Were Decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis” of 22 May 2003, when, due to procrastination and other reasons, the terms, established in Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform and the said Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 627 of 22 May 2003, for adopting decisions regarding the transfer of land lots as ownership to the awarded persons were violated, are subject to the legal consequences of the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 12 May 2006.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1. On 12 May 2006, in constitutional justice case No. 16/03-17/03-18/03, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the compliance of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 54-1965; hereinafter referred to as the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006).

2. In the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 it was recognised that:

Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 68-2763) is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

the provision “Land shall be granted gratis as ownership, under the procedure set by the Government, to the following citizens of the Republic of Lithuania: <...> 1) one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction, to those who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased) if their requests to receive gratis a land lot as ownership were submitted before the entry into force (on 3 July 2002) of the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform” of Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 112-4974) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 2 of Article 128 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. The Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests to construe whether the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 means that the administrative procedures which, before the promulgation of the Constitutional Court ruling, were initiated in pursuance of the procedure established in the Law on Land Reform (wording of 1 September 1991–3 July 2002) and Government Resolution No. 627 “On the Approval of the Procedure for Granting Gratis as Ownership Lots of State Land for Individual Construction to the Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania Who Were Decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis” of 22 May 2003, when, due to procrastination and other reasons, the terms, established in Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform and the said Government resolution No. 627 of 22 May 2003, for adopting decisions regarding the transfer of land lots as ownership to the awarded persons were violated, are subject to the legal consequences of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. The powers of the Constitutional Court to officially construe its own rulings are entrenched in the Law on the Constitutional Court (Article 61). The Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that it enjoys the powers to construe its other final acts as well.

2. Paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that a ruling of the Constitutional Court may be officially construed by the Constitutional Court at the request of the parties to the case, of other institutions or persons to whom it was sent, or on its own initiative. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 60 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the President of the Constitutional Court may order that a Constitutional Court ruling be sent to other institutions, officials, or citizens. Under Order of the President of the Constitutional Court No. 4B-10 “On Sending Final Acts of the Constitutional Court” of 29 March 2004, final acts of the Constitutional Court are sent inter alia to the Speaker of the Seimas. Thus, under Paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Speaker of the Seimas has the right to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to construe a Constitutional Court ruling.

3. A decision concerning construction of a Constitutional Court ruling shall be adopted at a Constitutional Court sitting as a separate document (Paragraph 2 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court).

4. In its acts the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the purpose of the institute of construction of Constitutional Court rulings and other final acts is to disclose the contents and meaning of corresponding provisions of a Constitutional Court ruling or other final act more broadly and in more detail, if it is necessary, in order to ensure proper execution of that Constitutional Court ruling or other final act so that this Constitutional Court ruling or other final act would be followed.

5. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that a ruling of the Constitutional Court is integral; the operative (resolving) part of a ruling of the Constitutional Court is based upon the arguments of the reasoning part; while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court is bound both by the content of the part of resolution and that of reasoning of its ruling; the decision adopted concerning construction of a Constitutional Court ruling is inseparable from the Constitutional Court ruling.

6. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court must construe its ruling without changing its content.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that this provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, among other things, means that, while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court cannot construe its content so that the meaning of its provisions, inter alia the notional entirety of the elements constituting the content of the ruling, the arguments and reasons upon which that Constitutional Court ruling is based, is changed, also that the Constitutional Court may not construe what was not investigated in that constitutional justice case, subsequent to which the construed ruling was adopted, either. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the consideration of a petition requesting to construe a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act does not imply a new constitutional justice case.

It has also been held in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court more than once that the formula “shall be final and not subject to appeal” of Paragraph 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution, which provides that the decisions of the Constitutional Court on issues ascribed to its competence by the Constitution shall be final and not subject to appeal, also means that the Constitutional Court rulings, conclusions and decisions by which a constitutional justice case is finished, i.e. final acts of the Constitutional Court, are obligatory to all state institutions, courts, all enterprises, establishments and organisations, as well as officials and citizens, including the Constitutional Court itself: final acts of the Constitutional Court are obligatory to the Constitutional Court itself, they restrict the Constitutional Court in the aspect that it may not change them or review them if there are no constitutional grounds for that (Constitutional Court ruling of 28 March 2006 and decisions of 21 November 2006, 6 December 2007, 1 February 2008, 18 December 2009 and 20 April 2010).

Therefore, in the official construction (subsequent to a petition of the parties to the case, other institutions and individuals, to whom the Constitutional Court ruling was sent, also on the initiative of the Constitutional Court itself) of rulings and other final acts of the Constitutional Court, the official constitutional doctrine is not corrected. The correction of the official constitutional doctrine (which, undoubtedly, must always have a constitutional basis and be explicitly reasoned in a respective act of the Constitutional Court) is to be related with the consideration of new constitutional justice cases and creation of new Constitutional Court precedents therein, but not with the official construction of provisions of the Constitutional Court rulings and other final acts (Constitutional Court decisions of 6 December 2007, 1 February 2008, 4 July 2008, 15 January 2009, 15 May 2009, 28 October 2009, 6 November 2009 and 18 December 2009).

7. It is also to be noted that the uniformity and continuity of the official constitutional doctrine implies a necessity to construe each provision of a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act that is being construed by taking account of the entire official constitutional doctrinal context, also of other provisions (explicit and implicit) of the Constitution, which are related with the provision (provisions) of the Constitution in the course of the construction of which in a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act the corresponding official constitutional doctrine was formulated. As the Constitutional Court has held more than once, no official constitutional doctrinal provision of a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act may be construed in isolation, by ignoring its meaning and systemic links with the other official constitutional doctrinal provisions set forth in that Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act, in other Constitutional Court acts, as well as with other provisions (explicit and implicit) of the Constitution (Constitutional Court decisions of 4 July 2008, 15 January 2009, 15 May 2009, 28 October 2009, 6 November 2009, 18 December 2009 and 20 April 2010).

II

1. The Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, construction of the provision whereof is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, involved the investigation into:

the compliance of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform, whereby Item 1 (wording of 2 July 1997) of Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform, under which one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction, was granted gratis as ownership, under the procedure set by the Government, to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), upon their request, was recognised as no longer valid, with the Constitution;

the compliance of the provision “Land shall be granted gratis as ownership, under the procedure set by the Government, to the following citizens of the Republic of Lithuania: <...> 1) one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction, to those who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased) if their requests to receive gratis a land lot as ownership were submitted before the entry into force (on 3 July 2002) of the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform” of Item 1 (wording of 5 November 2002) of Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform with the Constitution.

2. As it has been mentioned, the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests that the Constitutional Court construe whether the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 means that the administrative procedures which, before the promulgation of the Constitutional Court ruling, were initiated in pursuance of the procedure established in the Law on Land Reform (wording of 1 September 1991–3 July 2002) and Government Resolution No. 627 “On the Approval of the Procedure for Granting Gratis as Ownership Lots of State Land for Individual Construction to the Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania Who Were Decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis” of 22 May 2003, when, due to procrastination and other reasons, the terms, established in Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform and the said Government resolution No. 627 of 22 May 2003, for adopting decisions regarding the transfer of land lots as ownership to the awarded persons were violated, are subject to the legal consequences of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006.

3. It needs to be emphasised that the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 did not involve investigation regarding Government Resolution No. 627 “On the Approval of the Procedure for Granting Gratis as Ownership Lots of State Land for Individual Construction to the Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania Who Were Decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis” of 22 May 2003, indicated in the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, nor inter alia regarding the terms for adopting decisions concerning the transfer of land lots as ownership to the awarded persons or the administrative procedures provided for in this resolution.

4. It has been mentioned that, while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court may not construe its content so that the meaning of its provisions, inter alia the notional entirety of the elements constituting the content of the ruling, the arguments and reasons upon which that Constitutional Court ruling is based, is changed, also that the Constitutional Court may not construe what was not investigated in that constitutional justice case, subsequent to which the construed ruling was adopted, either.

It has also been mentioned that the consideration of a petition requesting to construe a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act does not imply a new constitutional justice case.

5. In the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, inter alia it is indicated that the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 is being requested to be construed “by assessing the reasonable and legitimate expectations of the persons decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis or the Cross of Vytis, who, before 3 July 2002, submitted their requests regarding the implementation of the right established in Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 (wording of 1 September 1991–3 July 2002) of the Law on Land Reform, that the state will carry out the undertaken obligations”.

6. Thus, the request of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, is to be treated as the request to construe whether the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court Ruling “On the compliance of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 12 May 2006 means that the persons decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), who, before 3 July 2002, submitted their requests regarding the implementation of the right to receive gratis one land lot for individual construction, which is entrenched in Article 7 (wording 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform, after the entry into force of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, have a legitimate expectation that the said right, which due to certain reasons had not been implemented under the established procedure until the aforesaid Constitutional Court ruling went into force, still may be implemented by granting gratis one land lot for individual construction.

III

1. While construing the aforementioned provision of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, the following other doctrinal provisions formulated in this ruling are to be noted:

a state award is a sign of state estimation towards a person, therefore, it should not be related to provision of material, financial or other benefits of any kind (with an exception, of course, of the order, medal, etc. itself), let alone provision of privileges to the awarded person. The Constitution does not imply that a person who was granted a state award of any kind could expect, let alone demand, any additional material, financial or other benefits, privileges, etc. only because he has been granted the award;

the constitutional institute of state awards is not identical to other constitutional institutes, inter alia, those related to provision of support, care, maintenance, material, financial or other benefits provided for in the Constitution (thus, grounded constitutionally and not regarded as privileges) to various persons;

if a person meets the requirements set by the law and there are grounds provided for by the law, the material and financial support, the provision of other material and financial benefits by the state to the person can be related to the same acts (activity) which earned the person a certain state award. However, it should be stressed that in itself the sole fact that the person was granted a state award should not serve as grounds to allocate him state material and financial support, other material and financial benefits, etc. If such legal regulation were established, it would be assessed as one deviating from Paragraph 2 of Article 32 of the Constitution, according to which the rights of ownership (national and municipal included) are protected by law, and if Paragraph 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution is construed in connection with the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 128 of the Constitution that the procedure for the possession, use and disposal of state property is established by law, it would also be assessed as one deviating from Paragraph 2 of Article 128 of the Constitution, as well as from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and the constitutional concept of state awards.

2. It also needs to be noted that in its ruling of 12 May 2006, while investigating the provision “Land shall be granted gratis as ownership, under the procedure set by the Government, to the following citizens of the Republic of Lithuania: <...> 1) one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction, to those who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased) if their requests to receive gratis a land lot as ownership were submitted before the entry into force (on 3 July 2002) of the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform” of Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform, the Constitutional Court held that:

this provision was established by the law already after the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform had come into force, by Article 1 whereof the unconstitutional legal regulation established in Article 7 (Item 1 thereof) (wording of 2 July 1997) of the Law on Land Reform, whereby land—one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction—under the procedure set by the Government, must be granted gratis as ownership to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), upon their request, had been recognised as no longer valid;

by this provision the legal regulation, whereby land—one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction—under the procedure set by the Government, must be granted gratis as ownership to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), was reintroduced (in a certain narrower scope) into the legal system, by establishing the condition that requests of the said persons had to be submitted prior to 3 July 2002, i.e. before the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform came into force;

the legislator re-established such legal regulation where during a certain period of time certain persons (their spouses, parents (adoptive parents), children (adoptees)) had to be granted gratis land lots precisely because they had been decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis.

3. It needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court, by invoking inter alia the doctrinal provision (the construction of which is being requested) that, under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible, held that Item 1 (wording of 2 July 1997) of Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform, under which land—one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction—under the procedure set by the Government, was granted gratis as ownership to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), upon their request, was not in line with the constitutional concept of state awards entrenched in the Constitution, the imperative of social harmony and the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 2 of Article 128 of the Constitution.

4. It has been mentioned that provisions of a Constitutional Court ruling must be construed by taking account of the entire official constitutional doctrinal context, also of other provisions (explicit and implicit) of the Constitution, which are related with the provision (provisions) of the Constitution in the course of construction of which in a Constitutional Court ruling or its other final act the corresponding official constitutional doctrine was formulated; no official constitutional doctrinal provision of a Constitutional Court ruling may be construed in isolation, by ignoring its meaning and systemic links with the other official constitutional doctrinal provisions, as well as with other provisions of the Constitution.

5. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that an inseparable element of the principle of a state under the rule of law inter alia is the protection of legitimate expectations.

The principle of the protection of legitimate expectations implies a duty of the state as well as institutions implementing state power and other state institutions to observe the obligations undertaken by the state. This principle also means the protection of acquired rights (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 24 December 2008, 2 September 2009 and 3 February 2010).

5.1. Thus, under the official constitutional doctrine, one of the elements of the principle of the protection of legitimate expectations is the protection of rights which are acquired under laws and other legal acts.

On the one hand, under the Constitution, those expectations of the person in relationships with the state are protected and defended, which arise from the Constitution itself or from the laws and other legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution.

On the other hand, as the Constitutional Court has held more than once, the imperative of the balance of constitutional values, the constitutional requirements of legal certainty and legal security, the protection of acquired rights, which is enshrined in the Constitution, and the presumption of constitutionality and legitimacy of legal acts pre-determines inter alia the fact that the Constitution generally does not prevent from protecting and defending in certain special cases also such acquired rights of the person arising from the legal acts recognised later as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws), which, if not defended or protected, would result in greater harm to the person, other persons, society or the state, than the harm inflicted in case of total or partial defence or protection of the said rights (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 13 December 2004, 20 February 2008, 24 December 2008 and 2 September 2009).

5.2. The Constitutional Court has also held that there may be such factual situations where the person who meets the conditions established in legal acts, under the said legal acts, acquires particular rights and, therefore, gains expectations which can be considered by this person to be reasonably legitimate during the period of the validity of the said legal acts, therefore, he can reasonably expect that, if he obeys law and fulfils the requirements of the laws, his expectations will be held legitimate by the state and will be defended and protected; even the legal acts which, on the basis and under the procedure established in the Constitution and the laws, are later recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) may give rise to such expectations; there may also be factual situations where the person has already fulfilled his rights and obligations arising from the legal act which is later recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) in regard to other persons and after that, due to this, the aforementioned other persons gain particular expectations, the defence and protection of which by the state they can reasonably expect, as well; in certain cases quite a long period of time may pass from the moment of appearance of such expectations and recognition of respective legal acts as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004, 13 May 2005 and 20 February 2008).

5.3. The Constitutional Court has noted that, when deciding whether the acquired rights gained by the person during the period of the validity of the legal act which is later recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) are to be protected and defended or not (and if so, to what extent), in each case it is necessary to find out whether, in case of failure to protect and defend such acquired rights, other values protected by the Constitution would not be violated and whether the balance of values entrenched in and protected and defended by the Constitution would not be disturbed (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004, 5 July 2007, 20 February 2008, 24 December 2008 and 2 September 2009).

6. In the context of the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, it needs to be noted that the Constitution does not protect and defend the acquired rights of persons which are privileges by their content; the protection and defence of privileges would mean that the constitutional principle of equal rights of persons and the constitutional principle of justice, the imperative of a harmonious society enshrined in the Constitution, and, therefore, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, are violated (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004 and 5 July 2007).

In this context it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned, in its ruling of 12 May 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised that the provision “Land shall be granted gratis as ownership, under the procedure set by the Government, to the following citizens of the Republic of Lithuania: <...> 1) one land lot of the size set by the Government, which is intended for individual construction, to those who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased) if their requests to receive gratis a land lot as ownership were submitted before the entry into force (on 3 July 2002) of the Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform” of Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 112-4974) of the Law on Land Reform is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 2 of Article 128 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

7. Consequently, in the context of the whole official constitutional doctrine the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, the construction of which is being requested, implies that, after the entry into force of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, the Constitution does not protect and defend the implementation of the right of the persons who were decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased) to receive gratis one land lot for individual construction, which is entrenched in Article 7 (wording of 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform, but which due to some reasons was not finished until the entry into force of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006.

8. In this context it is also to be noted that Article 72 “Consequences of the Recognition of a Legal Act as Being in Conflict with the Constitution” of the Law on the Constitutional Court inter alia prescribes that “A law (or part thereof) of the Republic of Lithuania or other act (or part thereof) of the Seimas, act of the President of the Republic, act (or part thereof) of the Government may not be applied from the day of official promulgation of the ruling of the Constitutional Court that the act in question (or part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.” (Paragraph 1); “Decisions based on legal acts which have been recognised as being in conflict with the Constitution <...> must not be executed if they had not been executed prior to the appropriate Constitutional Court ruling went into force” (Paragraph 4).

9. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 also means that the persons decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), who, before 3 July 2002, submitted their requests regarding the implementation of the right to receive gratis one land lot for individual construction, which is entrenched in Article 7 (wording 5 November 2002) of the Law on Land Reform, after the entry into force of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, have no legitimate expectation that the said right, which due to certain reasons had not been implemented under the established procedure until the aforementioned Constitutional Court ruling came into force, still may be implemented by granting gratis one land lot for individual construction.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 61 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:

To construe that the provision “under the Constitution, such legal regulation, whereby a person, who was granted a certain state award, also receives certain material benefit on the grounds of the fact that he has been awarded, is impermissible” of the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 12 May 2006 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 54-1965) inter alia means that the persons decorated with the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the Cross of Vytis, spouses (in the absence of such, parents (adoptive parents) or children (adoptees)) of such natural persons who lost their lives (or who are deceased), who, before 3 July 2002, submitted their requests regarding the implementation of the right to receive gratis one land lot for individual construction, which is entrenched in Article 7 (wording 5 November 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Land Reform, after the entry into force of the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 12 May 2006, have no legitimate expectation that the said right, which due to certain reasons had not been implemented under the established procedure until the aforementioned ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania came into force, still may be implemented by granting gratis one land lot for individual construction.

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: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis