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On the return of land to former owners

Case No. 15/2000

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 649) “ON THE STATUS OF THE LAND USED BY THE LITHUANIAN ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURE AND THE APPROVAL OF THE ZONING SCHEME OF ITS USE” OF 25 AUGUST 1993, THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 294) “ON A PARTIAL AMENDMENT OF THE 25 AUGUST 1993 RESOLUTION (NO. 649) OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA” OF 19 APRIL 1994, THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 350) “ON THE SUPPLEMENTATION OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 649) ‘ON THE STATUS OF THE LAND USED BY THE LITHUANIAN ACADEMY OF AGRICULTURE AND THE APPROVAL OF THE ZONING SCHEME OF ITS USE’ OF 25 AUGUST 1993” OF 9 MARCH 1995 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, ITEM 5 OF ARTICLE 12 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW “ON THE PROCEDURE AND CONDITIONS OF THE RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY” (WORDING OF 15 JULY 1993), ITEM 8 OF ARTICLE 12 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY (WORDING OF 13 MAY 1999) AND ITEM 4 OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON LAND REFORM (WORDING OF 15 JULY 1993)

 

10 May 2002

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Augustinas Normantas, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Stasys Stačiokas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Irena Bujavičienė, Deputy Head of the Land Reform Division of the National Land Service under the Ministry of Agriculture, and Dainora Remeikytė, Head of the Law and Staff Division of the National Land Service under the Ministry of Agriculture, acting as the representatives of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 25 April 2002, in its public hearing, considered case No. 15/2000 subsequent to the petition of the Panevėžys Regional Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993, the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994, and the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 were in compliance with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) and Item 4 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993).

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Panevėžys Regional Court, the petitioner, was considering a civil case under appeal procedure. The said court suspended the consideration of the case by its ruling and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1993, No. 42-867; hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993), the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1994, No. 30-551; hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994), and the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1995, No. 23-542; hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995) were in compliance with Article 23 of the Constitution, Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) and Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform.

II

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

The petitioner points out that in the 18 June 1991 Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” the priority was established for former owners to return their land in kind, and only in the absence of such a possibility the right was established to choose the way of restoration of ownership under the procedure and conditions provided for in the law. Article 12 of the said law established the conditions when the land was not to be returned in kind but was to be purchased by the state. One of such conditions was a provision that this land is allotted to scientific or educational establishments for carrying out experiments and other scientific needs.

Before the adoption of the said law, the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture (hereinafter also referred to as the LAA) had been allotted some land for its educational-production base. Certain citizens have filed applications to restore their rights of ownership to land by returning in kind a portion of the land allotted to the LAA. The rights of ownership have not been restored and the land is not being returned to former owners in kind. The land plots, to which they request the restoration of the rights of ownership, have been allotted to other individuals for building private houses by order No. 56-kb of the Rector of the LAA, dated 12 March 1992, and the Decision “On the Allotment of Land Plots for Building Dwelling-houses” of the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District, dated 13 March 1992, while later it was permitted to privatise these land plots by government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995.

The petitioner points out that, by means of its resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993, the Government granted the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the land plot of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, i.e. not only for the land designated for the scientific and educational needs of the LAA but also the portion of the land in which plots have been allotted for building private dwelling-houses. The said resolution of the Government was adopted on the basis of Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993). In the opinion of the petitioner, the Government, while granting the status of land subject to being purchased by the state as regards the land plots allotted for employees of the educational establishments for building private houses, interpreted the meaning “for scientific and educational needs” in a wrong way.

The provision entrenched in Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) remained in Item 8 of Article 12 of the 1 July 1997 Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property and in the same item of the same article of the said law of the 13 May 1999 wording. A government resolution is an act of application of the norms of a law. It follows from Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) that the Government merely establishes the size of the land plots designated for scientific needs as well as the list of their users but it does not decide the status of the land plots.

In the opinion of the petitioner, it was permitted to allot land to the LAA for educational and scientific needs only, and it is only this land that the state was permitted to purchase. The petitioner doubts whether government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993, which granted the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the land used by the LAA and approved the zoning scheme of the use of this land, also whether government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 whereby a portion of the land plots allotted to the LAA were left in the State Land Fund due to which the area of the land used by the LAA was specified, and whether government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995 which permitted the privatisation of the land plots allotted for building private dwelling-houses, were in compliance with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from the representatives of the party concerned, the Government, D. Remeikytė and E. Mušinskis.

1. In her explanation D. Remeikytė pointed out that by the Government Order (No. 290p) “On Granting Land Plots and Forest Felling” the LAA was allotted 684.7 ha of land for the establishment of its educational-production base. The LAA uses the state property, which was granted to it, under procedure established by law.

The representative of the party concerned also pointed out that, by means of its Resolution (No. 540) “On the Approval of the List of the Agricultural Enterprises and Organisations Not Subject to Privatisation” of 9 December 1991, the Government approved the list of the agricultural enterprises and organisations not subject to privatisation under which the LAA was granted the status of an establishment not subject to privatisation, by assigning to it 1000 ha of farming lands not subject to privatisation. The Government Resolution (No. 134) “On a Partial Amendment of the 9 December 1991 Resolution (No. 540) and the 28 January 1992 Resolution (No. 59) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” diminished the area of the farming lands granted to the LAA to 727 ha. On the grounds of the Kaunas District Board Order (No. 84) “On the Land Plots not Subject to Privatisation in Rural Settlements of the District”, it was provided to expand the LAA settlement in this part of the land.

According to the representative of the party concerned, the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District, pursuant to the Government Resolution (No. 278) “On Private Building” of 12 July 1991 and upon the coordination with the LAA, by means of its decision of 13 March 1992 allotted the land plots to employees of the LAA for building private dwelling-houses.

The representative of the party concerned maintains that under Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), the land was to be purchased from former owners if it was allotted in the established manner to scientific and educational establishments for their use or assigned by the Government for carrying out experiments and other scientific or educational needs in the agricultural or forestry land. Thus, under the aforesaid provision of the above-mentioned law, all the land allotted to a scientific and educational establishment was to be purchased by the state.

Alongside, the provision of Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law of Land Reform provided that the land which, according to the procedure established by the Government, is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

According to the representative of the party concerned, under the zoning scheme of the LAA territory approved by government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993, it was established that the land granted for experiments and scientific as well as educational needs shall comprise the area of 629.2 ha, thus, this land was not to be privatised, while the remaining territory (14.7 ha designated for production centres and 166.6 ha designated for the Academic Town) was assigned to the land subject to purchase, i.e. it was permitted to privatise this portion of land, therefore, by means of government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995 it was permitted to privatise the land plots granted for private building.

2. In his written explanation the representative of the party concerned E. Mušinskis maintains that both the Law on Land Reform (Item 4 of Article 13) and the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (Item 8 of Article 12) provide for the competence of the Government to allot plots of land for the needs of schools of higher learning and to ensure their normal functioning. Article 12 of Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property provides that the land which is allotted to scientific and educational establishments by the Government shall be purchased by the state. In the opinion of E. Mušinskis, by allotting land to scientific and educational establishments by means of its resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993, the Government indirectly established their status of being subject to purchase by the state. No legal act has established as to what “scientific and educational needs” mean. According to the representative of the party concerned, the term “scientific and educational needs” may not be construed in a narrowing manner, i.e. to link it only to the buildings and laboratories of the school of higher learning in which lectures and periods take place. The ensuring of the social needs of the employees of the school of higher learning also exerts direct influence on the functioning and quality of the process of science and education. Therefore, the allotment of the land for the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses in an attempt to guarantee normal conditions of the activity of the school of higher learning and exclusively the social needs and certain guarantees of the LAA employees must be regarded as safeguarding the scientific and educational needs of the school of higher learning. The impugned government resolutions merely provide for an opportunity for natural persons to acquire the land plots for ownership which are in the territory of the educational-production base of the LAA which were lawfully allotted to the same persons for building dwelling-houses prior to 15 March 1992.

3. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the impugned government resolutions are in compliance with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from A. Kadūnas, Deputy Director of the Department of Organisation of Land Exploitation and Law under the Ministry of Agriculture and A. Žalys, Director of the Department for Science and Studies under the Ministry of Education and Science.

V

At the Constitutional Court hearing the representative of the party concerned, the Government, D. Remeikytė virtually reiterated the arguments set down in her written explanations. The representative of the party concerned, the Government, I. Bujavičienė assented to the arguments presented by D. Remeikytė.

The specialist P. Aleknavičius, an advisor to the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania, spoke at the Constitutional Court hearing.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 25 August 1993, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use”; on 19 April 1994, it adopted the Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania”, while, on 9 March 1995, it adopted the Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993”.

The petitioner requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the aforementioned resolutions of the Government are in compliance with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution.

2. By means of its Resolution (No. 266) “On a Partial Amendment of the Resolution of the Government of Republic of Lithuania (No. 1026) ‘On the Users of the Land ‘On the Users of the Land Allotted to Scientific and Educational Establishments and Transferred to State Specialised Seed Growing and Pure Strain Stock-breeding Farms, as well as Specialised Pure Strain Stock-breeding Companies and on the Determination of the Size of the Land Plots Used by the Said Users’ of 13 August 1998” of 8 March 2001, the Government acknowledged Item 1 of its Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 and the Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 as null and void.

Under Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the annulment of the impugned legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the initiated legal proceedings. The wording “shall be grounds <…> to dismiss the initiated legal proceedings” should be construed as establishing the right of the Constitutional Court to dismiss the initiated legal proceedings while taking account of the circumstances of the case under investigation, but not as establishing that in every case when the impugned legal act is annulled the initiated legal proceedings must be dismissed (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 5 April 2000 and 4 March 2002).

It needs to be noted that after the petitioner, the Panevėžys Regional Court, had applied with the petition requesting the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the impugned government resolutions were in compliance with the Constitution and the laws, in case the Constitutional Court did not decide this question in essence, the doubts of the Panevėžys Regional Court whether the impugned government resolutions were in conformity with the Constitution and the laws would not be removed. If these doubts were not removed, one might violate the constitutional rights and freedoms of the individuals, while applying the said acts in the course of the investigation of the case.

3. Government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 approved the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA (Item 2, Annex 2) and the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the above-mentioned zoning scheme for the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses of the Academic Town (Item 1). By means of government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994, the zoning scheme of the land allotted to the LAA was specified (Item 1.3, Annex 2), while the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA designated in the said zoning scheme for the designed new production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses of the Academic Town. Government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995 permitted natural persons to acquire the land plots for private ownership which were in the territory of the educational-production base allotted to the LAA, and which had been allotted to the said persons by the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District prior to 15 March 1992 to build dwelling-houses.

In the opinion of the petitioner, it was permitted to allot land for the LAA for educational and scientific needs only and it was such land that might be subject to purchase by the state. Therefore, when it was considering the civil case, the petitioner, the Panevėžys Regional Court, had doubts whether the said government resolutions were in compliance with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution.

4. The petitioner requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 and government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 are in conformity with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution, however, from the reasoning presented in the petition it is clear that the petitioner does not doubt as to the compliance of all provisions of both government resolutions with the aforementioned laws and the Constitution but only whether the following is in compliance with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform and Article 23 of the Constitution:

1) the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state is granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town insofar as the said area of land covers the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses;

2) the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state is left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town insofar as the said area of land covers the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses.

5. The petitioner requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the impugned government resolutions are in compliance with Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999).

It needs to be noted that at the time of the adoption of the impugned government resolutions Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) was in force, wherein it was established that land required for state needs as well as other land shall be purchased (in the manner specified by this law) if it is allotted in the established manner to scientific and educational establishments for their use or assigned by the Government for carrying out experiments and other scientific or educational needs in the agricultural or forestry land.

On 1 July 1997, the Seimas adopted a new Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property which regulated virtually the same relations. The earlier in force Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” became null and void as of 9 July 1997.

Item 9 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997) established that the land shall be purchased by the state and it shall be compensated (pursuant to this law) if it is allotted to use by scientific and educational establishments, state establishments of social guardianship and care, state establishments and organisations, transferred to state specialised seed-growing and stock-breeding farms. The list of users of this land and the size of the plots of land utilised by them shall be established by the Government.

On 13 May 1999, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplement of Articles 2, 4, ,5, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property. It was decided by means of Article 5 of the said law that Item 9 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property is to be considered Item 8 thereof. In addition, the same item was amended. Under Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), the land shall be purchased by the state and it shall be compensated (pursuant to this law) if it is allotted to use by scientific and educational establishments, state establishments of social guardianship and care, transferred to state specialised seed-growing and stock-breeding farms as well as specialised stock-breeding companies. The list of users of this land and the size of the plots of land utilised by them shall be established by the Government.

If one compares the legal regulation established in Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) with that established in Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), it becomes clear that the provision that the land allotted to scientific and educational establishments shall be purchased by the state is consolidated in both aforementioned laws.

6. The petitioner requests the Constitutional Court to investigate whether the impugned government resolutions are in compliance with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform. The petition does not point out the wording of Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform with which the conformity of the impugned government resolutions is impugned.

The Law on Land Reform was passed on 25 July 1991. It needs to be noted that at the time of the adoption of the impugned government resolutions the Law on Land Reform in its wording of 15 July 1993 was in force. Item 4 of Article 13 of the same law provided that “land which, according to the procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs” shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

On 2 July 1997, by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment of the Law on Land Reform the Seimas amended the Law on Land Reform and set it forth in a new wording. Under Item 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform, land shall not be subject to privatisation if “it is allotted to use by scientific and educational establishments, state establishments of social guardianship and care, state establishments and organisations, transferred to state specialised seed-growing and stock-breeding farms”.

On 27 June 2000, by means of Article 6 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplement of Articles 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 of the Law on Land Reform, Item 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform was supplemented. Item 3 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform provides that land shall not be subject to privatisation if “it is allotted to use by scientific and educational establishments, state establishments of social guardianship and care, transferred to state specialised seed-growing and stock-breeding farms as well as specialised stock-breeding companies”.

If one compares the aforementioned wordings of the Law on Land Reform, it becomes clear that all of them contain the provision that land allotted to scientific and educational establishments may not be transferred to citizens for private ownership.

7. Subsequent to the petition of the petitioner, the Constitutional Court will consider whether the following acts were in compliance with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993) and Article 23 of the Constitution:

1) the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town;

2) the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town;

3) the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995.

II

1. In the 11 March 1990 Act “On the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania”, the State of Lithuania emphasised its adherence to the universally recognised legal principles and guaranteed the human and citizens’ rights.

In the course of the restoration of historical and social justice, the violated rights of private ownership are restored as well. On 18 June 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property”.

The legislature, upon establishment of the procedure and conditions of the restoration of the rights of ownership, emphasised the priority to return land in kind. However, in the event when, due to the factual present land-tenure relations and public needs, it is impossible to return the land in kind, a former owner is guaranteed the right to choose the manner of restoration of the right of ownership under the procedure and conditions prescribed by law (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 May 1994).

It needs to be noted that in the course of the amendment and supplementation of the said law, all its wordings retained the provision that if it is impossible to return land to former owners in kind, the right of ownership shall be restored in other manner provided for in the law.

The Constitutional Court has held that, by establishing conditions and procedure for restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property (including land) by law, one should take into consideration the constitutional principles of the protection of the rights of ownership (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 2 April 2001).

2. When the situations are being provided for in the law that the existing real property (including land) is not to be returned to the owners in kind, but the right of ownership should be restored in another manner established by law, it is permitted that the real property that is necessary for the needs of society be not returned in kind. The needs of society are either the interests of the whole society or part of society, which the state is, while exercising its functions, obligated to guarantee and satisfy. In the context of the case at issue, it needs to be noted that the needs of society are always concrete and clearly expressed needs for particular property which would not be satisfied if the property were returned in kind.

3. The land which is not returned to the owners in kind due to its necessity for the needs of society is purchased by the state, while the owners are compensated under the manner and procedure specified in the law. When the law provides for the manner and procedure of compensation for the owners for the land purchased by the state, it must pay heed to a balance between the legitimate interests of the individual and society.

4. One of the situations established in laws when land is not to be returned in kind to former owners is when it has been allotted to scientific and educational establishments. It is clear that without real property (land, buildings etc.) these establishments would not be able to perform their functions which are important to society.

Thus, the status of land subject to being purchased by the state may be granted only to the land allotted to scientific and educational establishments which is necessary for performing their tasks and functions, i.e. which is necessary for the needs of society but not of individual persons. The scientific and educational establishments, state and local government institutions as well as officials have a duty to ensure that the land allotted to a scientific and educational establishment be used for carrying out the tasks and functions of the said establishment only, i.e. for satisfaction of the needs of society.

III

While deciding whether the impugned government resolutions are in compliance with the aforementioned laws and the Constitution, one must determine by what legal acts the land was allotted to the LAA and by what legal acts the land was allotted for building dwelling-houses in the territory assigned to the LAA, and what is the legal status of land allotted to the scientific and educational establishment.

1. By means of government order No. 290p, the LAA was allotted 684.7 ha of land for the establishment of its educational-production base.

2. On 18 June 1991 the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” was enacted. Item 5 of Article 12 thereof specified that the land shall be purchased if it is allotted in the established manner to scientific or educational establishments for carrying out experiments or for other scientific needs.

3. On 25 July 1991 the Law on Land Reform was enacted. Item 4 of Article 13 thereof specified that the land which, according to the established procedure, is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

4. The Government Resolution (No. 540) “On the Approval of the List of the Agricultural Enterprises and Organisations Not Subject to Privatisation” of 9 December 1991 the Government approved 1000 ha of farming lands for the LAA not subject to privatisation.

5. Item 10.6.1 of the Government Resolution (No. 89) “On the Procedure of Sale and Rent of Non-agricultural Land Plots and of Garden Land Plots Belonging to Members of Gardeners’ Societies” of 7 February 1992 specified that as of the day of the adoption of the said resolution the allotment of land plots under non-competitive tenders in the territories of towns of the Republic of Lithuania was to be stopped, while as of 15 March 1992 it was to be stopped in other territories in connection with persons who, under the same resolution, did not have the right to acquire land plots under non-competitive tenders.

6. The Government Resolution (No. 134) “On a Partial Amendment of the 9 December 1991 Resolution (No. 540) and the 28 January 1992 Resolution (No. 59) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” approved the farming land area of 727 ha not subject to privatisation, which belonged to LAA.

7. The Kaunas District Board Order (No. 84) “On the Land Plots not Subject to Privatisation in Rural Settlements of the District” approved the land area of 96.1 ha in the settlement of the LAA not subject to privatisation.

8. By means of order No. 56-kb of the Rector of the LAA, dated 12 March 1992, 185 individuals were allotted land plots to build private houses in the LAA settlement, the Noreikiškės country-side district.

9. On 13 March 1992 the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District adopted the Decision “On the Allotment of Land Plots for Building Dwelling-houses” in which it was indicated: “Conforming to order No. 56-kb of the Rector of the LAA, dated 12 February 1992, to allot the land plots to build private houses to the following LAA employees <…>”.

10. By the Supreme Council Resolution “On the Statute of the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture” of 2 July 1992 the Statute of the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture was approved. Under Article 9 of the same statute, the property of the Academy shall be comprised of products of intellectual work (insofar as authors’ rights are not violated), land, buildings, movable property, finances, securities and other valuables not prohibited by law. This property shall be used by the Academy under procedure established by law. The Academy shall use gratis the property allotted to it by the State and shall preserve and augment this property.

11. On 15 July 1993 the Seimas amended and supplemented the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property”. Item 5 of Article 12 thereof specified that the land shall be purchased if it is allotted in the established manner to scientific and educational establishments for their use or assigned by the Government for carrying out experiments and other scientific or educational needs in the agricultural or forestry land.

Item 13 of Article 12 of the said law specified that the land shall be purchased for the needs of the state if this land is in a rural area, and if it is planned to be used for construction of residential houses, common use of residents or other public needs in accordance with the settlement-development projects.

By means of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 May 1994, the said item was recognised to be in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution. While recognising the said item unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court held:

<…> preliminary purchase of land for the future construction of residential houses in accordance with settlement-development projects, for common use of residents or for other public needs, may not be based on public interest.

The purchasing of land in rural settlements according to the development projects provide for the possibility of privatising it later, i.e. other persons will be allowed to acquire it. That would mean, however, the violation of the right of former owners to restore land.”

12. On 15 July 1993, the Seimas amended and supplemented the Law on Land Reform Item 4 of Article 13 whereof provided that that the land which, according to the established procedure, is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

13. On 25 August 1993 the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use”. It was provided therein that, while implementing the Supreme Council Resolution “On the Statute of the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture” of 2 July 1992 and attempting to create better conditions for the said academy to solve scientific, educational and social issues, the Government resolved: by partially amending the list of agricultural enterprises and organisations not subject to privatisation approved by government resolution No. 134 of 27 February 1992, in the Chapter “The Agricultural Scientific Institutes and Other Scientific Establishments not Subject to Privatisation” instead of the paragraph “The Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture 727” to enter the paragraph “The Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture 644” (Item 5); to grant the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the land area of 862.4 ha used by the LAA (Annex 1); to approve the zoning scheme of the use of the LAA land which provides for 69 ha of the total land area for the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses in plots Nos. 18-20, while 66 ha from the said plot are designated for farming land (Annex 2).

14. On 19 April 1994, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” whereby Annex 1 to government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 was set forth in a new wording providing that the total land area of 813.77 ha is designated as the land to be used by the LAA, while Annex 2 to the same government resolution is set forth in a new wording providing that 67.96 ha of the total land area are to be allotted to the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses designated for the Academic Town in plots Nos. 18–20.

15. On 9 March 1995, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” whereby government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 was supplemented with Item 6 which stipulated: “To permit the natural persons to acquire for private ownership the land plots which are in the territory allotted to the educational-production base of the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and which were allotted to the said persons for building dwelling-houses by the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District prior to 15 March 1992.”

16. By means of its 17 October 2000 Resolution “On the Approval of the Statute of the Lithuanian University of Agriculture”, the Seimas approved a new statute of the Lithuanian University of Agriculture and the list of the buildings and lands plots transferred to the university (Annex 2). Under the list of the buildings and lands plots transferred to the university set down in Annex 2, the land area of 735 ha is allotted to the educational-production base and social needs of the university. Only the Government is permitted to change the limits of the territory of the university or ownership of its buildings by way of their privatisation or in any other manner subsequent to prior agreement of the Senate of the university. Should the Senate disagree, it is only the Seimas that is permitted, while taking account of the opinion of the Senate, to change the limits of the territory of the university or ownership of its buildings by way of their privatisation or in any other manner (Items 71 and 72 of the Statute).

17. On 8 March 2001, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 266) “On a Partial Amendment of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1026) ‘On the Users of the Land Allotted to Scientific and Educational Establishments and Transferred to State Specialised Seed Growing and Pure Strain Stock-breeding Farms, as well as Specialised Pure Strain Stock-breeding Companies and on the Determination of the Size of the Land Plots Used by the Said Users’ of 13 August 1998”, which acknowledged the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993, Item 1 of the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 and the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 as null and void.

IV

On the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993, the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994, and the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) and Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999).

1. It was provided in Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) that the land shall be purchased if it is allotted in the established manner to scientific and educational establishments.

The provision established in this law that the land allotted to scientific and educational establishments shall be purchased by the state means that this land is not subject to be returned to former owners and that in the land allotted to scientific and educational establishments there may be no land plots designated for non-public needs, e.g. construction of private dwelling-houses, as it would mean that this land is not necessary for the scientific and educational establishment. The future of such land is decided under procedure established in laws.

2. Government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 approved the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA (Item 2, Annex 2) and granted the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the above-mentioned zoning scheme for the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses of the Academic Town (Item 1).

3. It is evident from the case material and it was established during the judicial consideration that, by means of order No. 56-kb of the Rector of the LAA, dated 12 March 1992, and the decision of 13 March 1992 of the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District a land plot was allotted for building private dwelling-houses, while government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 granted the said land the status of land subject to being purchased by the state. It needs to be noted that the fact that the land assigned to the LAA also includes the land allotted for building private dwelling-houses is also confirmed by government resolution No. 350 which permitted the natural persons to acquire the land plots for ownership which were in the territory designated for the educational-production base of the LAA and which had been allotted to the said persons for building dwelling-houses by the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District prior to 15 March 1992. Such legal regulation presupposes the fact that this land is not necessary for the LAA to solve its tasks and to perform its functions, i.e. it is not necessary for the needs of society.

4. In the course of the assessment whether the impugned government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town is in compliance with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) the fact becomes of essential importance that the land allotted to the LAA by the said government resolution also included the area of land designated for building private dwelling-houses and that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted on the basis that the said land had been allotted to the scientific and educational establishment.

5. Government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 set forth Annex 1 in a new wording which allotted the total land area of 813.77 ha for the use of the LAA. Annex 2 of the same resolution was also set forth in a new wording which provided that the total land area of 67.96 ha was designated for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town in plots Nos. 18–20.

The impugned government resolution did not change the status of land used by the LAA, under which it was subject to being purchased by the state, however, it diminished the total area of land used by the LAA and it provided for the total area of land to be used by the Academic Town. The same resolution retained the area of land assigned for building private houses in the land allotted to the LAA and the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was retained for the same land area.

6. It needs to be noted that the land which by the impugned government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 and government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 was allotted for building private dwelling-houses should not have been assigned to the land allotted to the LAA as the land for building private dwelling-houses is designated to satisfy the needs of separate individuals but not those of the LAA as a scientific and educational establishment, i.e. not those of society. This land should not have been granted the status of land subject to being purchased by the state on the grounds that it had been unreasonably assigned to the territory allotted to the LAA as a scientific and educational establishment.

7. By means of government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995, the natural persons were permitted to acquire the land plots for private ownership which were in the territory assigned to the educational-production base of the LAA and which had been allotted to the said persons by the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District prior to 15 March 1992.

8. After government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 and government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 had established that the land allotted to the LAA also included the area designated for building private dwelling-houses, and after it had been established that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted due to the fact that this land was in the territory assigned to the scientific and educational establishment, and after by means of government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995 the natural persons had been permitted to acquire the land plots for private ownership that were in the territory assigned to the educational-production base of the LAA, the right of the owners to restore their right of ownership to the said land in kind was denied.

9. There are arguments in the case material that the land in a rural area is purchased by the state if this land, under Item 13 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), is planned to be used for construction of residential houses in accordance with the settlement-development projects, thus, it is not to be returned in kind in the course of the restoration of the rights of ownership. While assessing these arguments in the context of the case at issue, one must note that the said item regulated the purchasing of the land which was in a rural area but not that assigned to a scientific and educational establishment.

In addition, it needs to be noted that it has been mentioned in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, by means of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 May 1994, Item 13 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) was recognised to be in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution as creating preconditions that the land subject to returning might be acquired not by its owner but other persons.

10. It has been mentioned that Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) contains a provision that the land shall be purchased by the state and it shall be compensated (pursuant to this law) if it is allotted to use by scientific and educational establishments. This provision is virtually the same as the one entrenched in Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), i.e. the land allotted to scientific and educational establishments is subject to being purchased by the state.

11. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that

1) the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as this land area covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

2) the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as the said area of land covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

3) the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995

were in conflict with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) and Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999).

V

On the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993, the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994, and the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993).

1. Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993) provides that “the land which, according to the established procedure, is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs” shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

This provision means that the land which is allotted to scientific and educational establishments may not be transferred to private ownership in any manner. It also means that scientific and educational establishments, state and local government institutions, officials, other entities are prohibited from adopting decisions by which the land which is allotted to scientific and educational establishments for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs would be sold or transferred in any other way to other natural or legal persons for ownership.

2. Government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 approved the zoning scheme of the use of the allotted land (Item 2, Annex 2) and granted the status of land subject to being purchased by the state for the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which was designated in the above-mentioned zoning scheme for the newly designed production and other buildings as well as dwelling-houses of the Academic Town (Item 1).

Government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 set forth Annex 1 in a new wording which allotted 813.77 ha of total area of land for the use of the LAA. Annex 2 was also set forth in a new wording which allotted 67.96 ha of total area of land for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town in plots Nos. 18–20.

It has been mentioned that, under Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993), the land which is allotted or is planned to be allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs shall not be liable to be sold to citizens for private ownership.

While assessing the relation of the aforesaid government resolutions with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993), it should be noted that neither government resolution No. 649 of 25 August 1993 nor government resolution No. 294 of 19 April 1994 contain any norms permitting selling the land allotted to the LAA to citizens for private ownership.

Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, and the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, were in compliance with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993).

3. Government resolution No. 350 of 9 March 1995 permitted the natural persons to acquire the land plots for ownership which were in the territory allotted to the educational-production base of the LAA and which had been allotted to the said persons for building dwelling-houses by the Noreikiškės Country-side District Council of the Kaunas District prior to 15 March 1992.

Thus, this government resolution did not pay heed to the prohibition established in Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993) to sell the land which is allotted to establishments of science and learning for conducting experiments and for other scientific and educational needs to citizens for private ownership.

Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 conflicted with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993).

VI

On the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993, the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994, and the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 with Article 23 of the Constitution.

1. Article 23 of the Constitution provides:

Property shall be inviolable.

The rights of ownership shall be protected by law.

Property may only be seized for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and must be adequately compensated for.”

2. The Constitutional Court, interpreting the content of Article 23 of the Constitution in the context of the restoration of the rights of ownership, on numerous occasions has held that although the legislature enjoys certain discretion to establish the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership, in doing so it must take account of the constitutional principles of the protection of the right of ownership. These principles also presuppose that fact that, unless it is necessary for the needs of society, the land unlawfully nationalised by the occupation government must be returned to the owners in kind under procedure and conditions established by law.

3. It has already been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that:

1) the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as this land area covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

2) the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as the said area of land covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

3) the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995

were in conflict with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993) and Item 8 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999).4. It has been mentioned that, under the Constitution, the rights of ownership shall be protected by law. After one has held that the impugned government resolutions denied the right of the owners to restore the rights of ownership to the land in kind, the conclusion should be drawn that:

1) the Government Resolution (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as this land area covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

2) the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the LAA, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the LAA for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as the said area of land covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses,

3) the Government Resolution (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995

were in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as this land area covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses, conflicted with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) and Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, insofar as the said area of land covered the land plots meant for building private dwelling-houses, conflicted with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999) and Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

3. To recognise that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) “On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use” of 25 August 1993 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was granted to the portion of the land of 862.4 ha used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of the land allotted to the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, and that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 294) “On a Partial Amendment of the 25 August 1993 Resolution (No. 649) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania” of 19 April 1994 to the extent that the status of land subject to being purchased by the state was left for the portion of the land of 813.77 ha used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture, which had been designated in the zoning scheme of the use of land allotted to the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture for the newly designed dwelling-houses of the Academic Town, were in compliance with Item 4 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993).

4. To recognise that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 350) “On the Supplementation of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 649) ‘On the Status of the Land Used by the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture and the Approval of the Zoning Scheme of Its Use’ of 25 August 1993” of 9 March 1995 conflicted with Item 5 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (wording of 15 July 1993), Item 8 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 13 May 1999), Item 4 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Land Reform (wording of 15 July 1993) and Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                                  Armanas Abramavičius

Egidijus Jarašiūnas

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas