Lt

On returning the petition to the petitioner

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE 6 FEBRUARY 2009 PETITION (NO. 1B-8/2009) OF THE VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER A CERTAIN PROVISION OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 110) “ON THE RECOGNITION OF ECONOMIC PROJECTS AS IMPORTANT TO THE STATE” OF 6 FEBRUARY 2008 IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH PARAGRAPH 3 OF ARTICLE 4 AND THE PROVISIONS PARAGRAPH 1 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

4 March 2009
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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at its procedural sitting, considered the 6 February 2009 petition (No. 1B-8/2009) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into “whether Item 1 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 110) ‘On the Recognition of Economic Projects as Important to the State’ of 06-02-2008, to the extent that it provides ‘to recognise, while taking account of the needs of society, that the following projects are important to the state: (1) the project of the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre <...> in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai’ was not in conflict/is not in conflict with the provision ‘the State shall compensate in accordance with Article 16 of this Law the citizens for the land which, pursuant to Article 12 of this Law, is subject to state-purchase, as well as for the land that citizens are not willing to get back in its former locality’ of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (No. VIII-359) (wording of 05-07-2007) of 01-07-1997, and with the provisions ‘the land shall be purchased by the State from the citizens specified in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for it pursuant to Article 16 of this Law if: <...> (2) in a rural area and, after 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns, it is occupied, pursuant to laws, by: housing estate (homestead) plots; plots of land necessary for exploitation of buildings and facilities of state institutions and organisations, as well as those serving public needs (under construction or already built); other territories used for public needs (streets, squares, public gardens, cemeteries, water bodies, beaches, etc.); it is allotted for individual construction. Areas and boundaries of such plots (territories) of land shall be established in territorial planning documents; (3) it was situated, prior 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns in the prescribed manner, and is occupied under the detailed plans approved according to the procedure established by law: <...> for implementation of the economic projects which are important to the state, whose state importance is recognised, by their decision, by the Seimas or the Government’ of Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the same law.”

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, considered an administrative case. By its ruling of 6 February 2009, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into “whether Item 1 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 110) ‘On the Recognition of Economic Projects as Important to the State’ of 06-02-2008, to the extent that it provides ‘to recognise, while taking account of the needs of society, that the following projects are important to the state: (1) the project of the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre <...> in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai’ was not in conflict/is not in conflict with the provision ‘the State shall compensate in accordance with Article 16 of this Law the citizens for the land which, pursuant to Article 12 of this Law, is subject to state-purchase, as well as for the land that citizens are not willing to get back in its former locality’ of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (No. VIII-359) (wording of 05-07-2007) of 01-07-1997, with the provisions ‘the land shall be purchased by the State from the citizens specified in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for it pursuant to Article 16 of this Law if: <...> (2) in a rural area and, after 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns, it is occupied, pursuant to laws, by: housing estate (homestead) plots; plots of land necessary for exploitation of buildings and facilities of state institutions and organisations, as well as those serving public needs (under construction or already built); other territories used for public needs (streets, squares, public gardens, cemeteries, water bodies, beaches, etc.); it is allotted for individual construction. Areas and boundaries of such plots (territories) of land shall be established in territorial planning documents; (3) it was situated, prior 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns in the prescribed manner, and is occupied under the detailed plans approved according to the procedure established by law: <...> for implementation of the economic projects which are important to the state, whose state importance is recognised, by their decision, by the Seimas or the Government’ of Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the same law.”

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 6 February 2008, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 110) “On the Recognition of Economic Projects as Important to the State” (hereinafter referred to as government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008) which came into force on 20 February 2008, in which it was, inter alia, prescribed: “The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has resolved: To recognise, while taking account of the needs of society, that the following economic projects are important to the state: (1) the project of the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre <...> in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai. <...>.”

2. In the opinion of the petitioner, the impugned Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008 is, to the corresponding extent, in conflict with the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 4, and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 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 because of the fact that by its resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008, the Government assigned the land which is in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai—and which falls within the territory given for founding the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre, to the land which is subject to state-purchase, even though the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property does not prescribe that the Government may adopt a decision regarding recognition of land which is in a rural area as necessary for an important economic project.

The government resolution which is impugned by the petitioner does not prescribe that, as the petitioner states, the Government assigned the said territory to the land which is subject to state-purchase; nor does this resolution include any references to the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property which was specified by the petitioner.

Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which is specified by the petitioner, establishes cases when the land which had been possessed by the former owners by right of ownership prior to nationalisation or any other unlawful disseizing is not returned in kind to these former owners in the territory in which the land was previously possessed. It is not obvious from the petition of the petitioner and from the material of the case that the citizens are laying claims for retrieval of the land which is in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai—as the land possessed by them prior to the nationalisation or any other unlawful disseizing. Quite the contrary is the case: it is obvious from the petition of the petitioner and the material of the case that these citizens are laying claims for retrieval, without payment, of a lot of land in another place (and of the value equal to that previously possessed), which is in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District, i.e. in the land which is in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai, which, under Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008, falls within the territory assigned for establishment of the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre.

The petitioner does not present any arguments why the impugned Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008 which is applicable in the case considered by the petitioner, in which the citizens lay claims for retrieval, without payment, of a lot of land in another place (and of the value equal to that previously possessed), might, to the corresponding extent, be in conflict with the provisions of Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property.

3. It has been mentioned that the petitioner also impugns the compliance of Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008 with the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, however, the petitioner does not present any arguments why the impugned government resolution is in conflict with the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the same law.

4. Under Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in a ruling, by means of which one applies to the Constitutional Court, legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of a law or other legal act with the Constitution must be specified. The ruling must also include a formulated petition of the court to the Constitutional Court (Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67).

While construing the said provisions of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the courts, when applying to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether a law or other legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, while arguing their opinion presented in the petition that the law or other legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution, may not confine themselves to general reasoning or statements that the law or other legal act (part thereof), in their opinion, is in conflict with the Constitution, but must clearly indicate which impugned articles (paragraphs, items thereof) and to what extent, in their opinion, are in conflict with the Constitution, and to reason their position on the compliance of every impugned provision of the legal act. Otherwise, the petition of the court requesting an investigation into the compliance of the law or other legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution should be regarded as incompliant with the requirements of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

5. It needs to be held that the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, does not contain any clearly formulated legal arguments which would substantiate the doubt of the petitioner regarding the compliance (to the corresponding extent) of this impugned Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008 with the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 and Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property.

Under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition, which does not meet, inter alia, the requirements established in Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, shall be returned to the petitioner. The return of a petition shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure after removal of the deficiencies thereof.

6. It needs to be noted that the petition also contains other deficiencies.

In the operative part of the ruling by which the petitioner applied to the Constitutional Court, the petitioner requests an investigation into whether Item 1 of government resolution No. 110 of 6 February 2008 is not (was not), to a certain extent, in conflict “with the provision <...> of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (No. VIII-359) (wording of 05-07-2007) <...>”, however, the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which was adopted by the Seimas on 1 July 1997, was not amended and/or supplemented on 5 July 2007.

Conforming to Article 1, Paragraph 2 of Article 25 and Articles 28, 67 and 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

To return the 6 February 2009 petition (No. 1B-8/2009) requesting an investigation into “whether Item 1 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 110) ‘On the Recognition of Economic Projects as Important to the State’ of 06-02-2008, to the extent that it provides ‘to recognise, while taking account of the needs of society, that the following projects are important to the state: (1) the project of the Vilnius Public Logistics Centre <...> in the Pagiriai cadastral area of the Municipality of the Vilnius District—in the villages of Pagiriai, Baltoji Vokė, Melekonys and Valčiūnai’ was not in conflict/is not in conflict with the provision ‘the State shall compensate in accordance with Article 16 of this Law the citizens for the land which, pursuant to Article 12 of this Law, is subject to state-purchase, as well as for the land that citizens are not willing to get back in its former locality’ of Paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (No. VIII-359) (wording of 05-07-2007) of 01-07-1997, with the provisions ‘the land shall be purchased by the State from the citizens specified in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for it pursuant to Article 16 of this Law if: <...> (2) in a rural area and, after 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns, it is occupied, pursuant to laws, by: housing estate (homestead) plots; plots of land necessary for exploitation of buildings and facilities of state institutions and organisations, as well as those serving public needs (under construction or already built); other territories used for public needs (streets, squares, public gardens, cemeteries, water bodies, beaches, etc.); it is allotted for individual construction. Areas and boundaries of such plots (territories) of land shall be established in territorial planning documents; (3) it was situated, prior 1 June 1995, within the territory assigned to towns in the prescribed manner, and is occupied under the detailed plans approved according to the procedure established by law: <...> for implementation of the economic projects which are important to the state, whose state importance is recognised, by their decision, by the Seimas or the Government’ of Items 2 and 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the same law” back to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner.

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

The decision is pronounced 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