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On the powers of the President of the Republic in implementing the right of delayed (relative) veto

Case No. 02/08

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1K-1143) “ON REFERRING THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON AMENDING THE LAW ON THE REGISTRATION, CONFESSION, AND ENTRY ON RECORD OF THE PERSONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WHO ENGAGED THEMSELVES IN SECRET COLLABORATION WITH THE FORMER USSR SPECIAL SERVICES AND THE PROTECTION OF THOSE WHO CONFESSED, WHICH WAS ADOPTED BY THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, BACK TO THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA FOR REPEATED CONSIDERATION” OF 31 OCTOBER 2007 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

22 February 2008
Vilnius

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Seimas members Kęstutis Čilinskas and Egidijus Klumbys, acting as the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner

Česlovas Atkočaitis, Aušra Rauličkytė and Milda Vainiutė, all of whom are advisers to the President of the Republic, acting as the representatives of the President 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, in its public hearing, on 20 February 2008, considered constitutional justice case No. 02/08 subsequent to the petition of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, set forth in the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. X-1411) “On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution” requesting an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Articles 5, 71, 72 and 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

1. On 21 December 2007, the Seimas, the petitioner, adopted the Resolution (No. X-1411) “On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution” (hereinafter also referred to as Seimas resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007), whereby it requested the Constitutional Court to investigate whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 (hereinafter also referred to as the 31 October 2007 decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic) is not in conflict with Articles 5, 71, 72 and 84 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This petition of the Seimas, the petitioner, was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 5 January 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 2-56); it was received at the Constitutional Court on 7 January 2008.

2. By its Decision “On Accepting the Petition of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the Petitioner, Set Forth in Its Resolution ‘On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution’ of 21 December 2007, Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1K-1143) ‘On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration’ of 31 October 2007 is not in Conflict with Article 5, Article 71 and Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and with the Constitutional Principle of a State under the Rule of Law” of 8 January 2008, the Constitutional Court accepted the aforementioned petition of the Seimas, the petitioner.

3. The announcement of the President of the Constitutional Court regarding the acceptance of the said petition was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 12 January 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 2-175). As from this day until the Constitutional Court’s ruling in this constitutional justice case at issue is pronounced, the validity of Article 2 of the aforementioned decree of the President of the Republic shall be suspended.

II

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

By his decree No. 1K-1143 of 31 October 2007, the President of the Republic, without submitting the proposals (remarks) or supplements regarding the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed (hereinafter also referred to as the Law), which was adopted by the Seimas and submitted to the President of the Republic for signing, referred it back to the Seimas for repeated consideration. In addition, the President of the Republic specified that the Speaker of the Seimas, in violation of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and in violation of the sequence of the stages of the legislation procedure which is enshrined in the Constitution, presented the Law of 26 October 2007 to the President of the Republic for signing without receiving the prior conclusions from the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures regarding the violations of the Statute of the Seimas which are specified in a reasoned letter of 30 members of the Seimas (more than 1/5 of all members of the Seimas) and which, according to the said members of the Seimas, were committed while adopting the Law. Thus, the President of the Republic specified not the deficiencies of the content of the Law or those of the procedure of its adoption in the Seimas, but the deficiencies of work of the Speaker of the Seimas. In the opinion of the Seimas, the petitioner, the powers of the President of the Republic to refer a law back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration which are established in the Constitution do not include the right of the President of the Republic to control the procedures which take place in the Seimas after the adoption of the law. The President of the Republic, while referring the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration because of the fact that, in his opinion, while adopting the Law, the Seimas violated the procedures for adoption of the law, exceeded his powers. In addition, while referring the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration, the President of the Republic did not submit any amendments or supplements of the Law.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations from the representatives of the President of the Republic, the party concerned, who were Č. Atkočaitis, A. Rauličkytė and M. Vainiutė, were received, in which it is stated that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with Articles 5, 71, 72 and 84 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. The position of the representatives of the President of the Republic, the party concerned, is based on the following arguments.

1. In most cases, one can implement the powers of the President of the Republic only by following the principles of the separation of powers, the principles of interdependence and balance as they are linked with the powers of other state institutions. The Seimas has the exceptional constitutional powers to pass laws, while the President of the Republic has the powers to refer the law adopted by it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution). The President of the Republic has the duty, while referring the law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration, to submit the reasons of such decision, however, his right to refer the law back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration is not limited by any “specific grounds”, and these grounds may be very different. In addition, the President of the Republic, if reasoned doubts arise regarding the compliance of the law which was submitted for signing with the Constitution according to the content of its norms, the extent of the regulation, the form or the procedure of adoption, signing, publication or entry into force which is established in the Constitution, not only may, but also must refer the law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration. The Seimas, having assessed the reasons of such referring back, may agree with them and approve of them or it may disagree with them and to repeatedly assent to its previous decision by more than 1/2 votes of all members of the Seimas.

2. Articles 1 and 2 of the 31 October 2007 decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic are inseparable from each other: Article 1 specifies the reasons and evidence of referring the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration, while in Article 2, taking account of these arguments and evidence, it is held that the Law is referred back to the Seimas for repeated consideration.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations from V. Muntianas, Speaker of the Seimas, and J. Juozapaitis, Deputy Chairperson of the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures, were received.

V

1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the representatives of the Seimas, the petitioner, who were Seimas members K. Čilinskas and E. Klumbys, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations as well as presented additional explanations.

2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the representatives of the President of the Republic, the party concerned, who were Č. Atkočaitis, A. Rauličkytė and M. Vainiutė, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. The Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Articles 5, 71, 72 and 84 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. It is obvious from the arguments of the Seimas, the petitioner, that there were doubts as regards the compliance of the impugned legal regulation: not with whole Article 5 of the Constitution, but only with Paragraph 1 of this article, in which it is prescribed that “in Lithuania, State power shall be executed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic, the Government, and the Judiciary”, and with Paragraph 2, in which it is prescribed that “the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution”; not with whole Article 71 of the Constitution, but only with the provision “within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall <...> refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration” of Paragraph 1 of this article; not with whole Article 72 of the Constitution, but only with the provision “the law reconsidered by the Seimas shall be deemed adopted provided the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted <...>” of Paragraph 2 of this article; not with whole Article 84 of the Constitution, but only with the provision “the President of the Republic <...> (24) shall <...> refer [the laws adopted by the Seimas] <...> back to the Seimas according to the procedure established in Article 71 of the Constitution” of Paragraph 2 of this article.

3. On 11 October 2007, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed. On 18 October 2007, thirty members of the Seimas addressed the Speaker of the Seimas by a reasoned letter regarding the violations of the Statute of the Seimas which, in their opinion, were committed while adopting the Law. This letter was received by the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures on 19 October 2007 and it had to be considered in the commission hearing of 25 October 2007, however, the hearing did not take place because not enough members of the commission participated. After this commission had not submitted any conclusions regarding the aforementioned possibly committed violations, on 26 October 2007, the Speaker of the Seimas submitted the Law to the President of the Republic for signing.

4. On 31 October 2007, the President of the Republic issued decree No. 1K-1143 which came into force as from the day of its signing. In this President of the Republic decree, it was, inter alia, prescribed:

Article 1.

Having familiarised myself with the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed (No. X-1292) (hereinafter referred to as the Law) which was adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, and which was submitted for signing and official promulgation, I hereby

hold that:

The constitutional nature of the Seimas as the representative of the Nation determines its special place within the system of institutions of state power, as well as its functions and competence. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania is a state institution which implements the legislative power. The powers of the Seimas are established not only in the Constitution, but also in laws. In certain cases, the fact that certain powers of the Seimas which are enshrined in the Constitution may be concretised by law is specified directly in the Constitution. Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution provides for that ‘the laws shall be adopted by the Seimas according to the procedure established by law’. Article 76 of the Constitution provides that the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas shall be established by the Statute of the Seimas, as well as that the Statute of the Seimas shall have the force of law. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has more than once specified: ‘Implementing its right directly established in the Constitution to particularise its certain constitutional powers by means of laws, as well as establishing, by means of laws, its powers that are not expressis verbis indicated in the Constitution, the Seimas is bound by the Constitution. The fact that the Seimas, while passing laws, is bound by the Constitution and the laws that were passed by it, is an essential element of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.’

Chapter twenty-three of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania regulates the procedure of adoption of a draft law in the sitting of the Seimas. The procedure of the adoption of a draft law in a Seimas sitting also includes the possibility of the suspension of the signing of a law if there are reasoned doubts that, while adopting the law, there were violations of the Statute of the Seimas. Article 160 provides:

1. Before the passed law is submitted to the President of the Republic for signing, the Speaker of the Seimas, a committee or no less than 1/5 of Seimas members may address the Seimas with a justified petition concerning the violations of the Statute of the Seimas, committed, in their opinion, during the passage of a law.

2. Should such a petition be received, the Commission for Ethics and Procedures must present its conclusions and proposals to the Seimas within five workdays.

3. Until the Commission for Ethics and Procedures presents such conclusions, the Speaker of the Seimas shall not hand the law over to the President of the Republic for signing.

4. In the event that the Commission for Ethics and Procedures states that the legislative procedure or any other significant provisions of this Statute have been grossly violated, and that this conditioned the decision of the Seimas, the Seimas shall decide by vote whether to recognise the impugned law as no longer valid or to leave it in effect.

5. Should the Seimas in this instance, acknowledge the impugned law as no longer valid, consideration of the draft thereof shall usually be repeated from the stage, when the violation was committed.’

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has specified: ‘The process of legislation is the whole complex of legally significant acts necessary for the adoption of a law and performed in rigid sequence of logic and time. The following stages of the process of legislation are universally recognised: the realisation of the right to legislation, the consideration of a draft law, the adoption of a draft law, the publication and enforcement of the enacted law. Only with the completion of one stage in consecutive order starts another. The aforesaid consecutive order of the process of legislation is in essence established in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: the realisation of the right of legislative initiative—in Article 68, the adoption of laws—in Article 69, the publication and enforcement of laws—in Articles 70–72.’

On 11 October 2007, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed. On 18 October 2007, 30 members of the Seimas (more than 1/5) addressed the Speaker of the Seimas by a reasoned letter regarding violations of the Statute of the Seimas which, in their opinion, were committed while adopting the Law. Even though Paragraph 3 of Article 160 of the Statute of the Seimas provides that ‘until the Commission for Ethics and Procedures presents such conclusions, the Speaker of the Seimas shall not hand the law over to the President of the Republic for signing’, on 26 October 2007, the Speaker of the Seimas submitted the Law to the President of the Republic for signing, even though the Commission for Ethics and Procedures had not submitted its conclusions, i.e. regardless of the fact that this stage of adoption of the law had not been finished. Therefore, the Statute of the Seimas and the sequence of the stages of the legislation procedure which is enshrined in the Constitution, as well as the requirement which arises from it that only after one stage of the legislation procedure is finished, another stage starts, were violated.

Article 2.

Conforming to Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania,

I hereby refer the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed (No. X-1292) back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for repeated consideration.”

5. In the sitting of 8 November 2007, the Seimas decided whether to consider the Law referred back by the 31 October 2007 decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic anew, or to consider it as not adopted. It was decided to consider it as not adopted.

6. On 21 December 2007, the Seimas adopted resolution No. X-1411, whereby it requested the Constitutional Court to investigate whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Articles 5, 71, 72 and 84 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

7. In the 31 October 2007 decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic (Article 1 thereof), in which the reasons of referring the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration are set forth, it is held, inter alia, that the Speaker of the Seimas, having submitted the Law to the President of the Republic for signing without receiving the conclusions from the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures regarding the violations of the Statute of the Seimas specified in the reasoned letter from thirty members of the Seimas which, in their opinion were committed while adopting the Law, violated Article 160 of the Statute of the Seimas and the sequence of the stages of the legislation procedure which is enshrined in the Constitution, as one stage of the legislation procedure was not finished, while only upon finishing one stage of the legislation procedure, another stage starts.

In the opinion of the Seimas, the petitioner, the President of the Republic, specifying not the deficiencies of the content of the Law or the adoption procedure in the Seimas, but the deficiencies of work of the Speaker of the Seimas, and referring the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration on this ground, exceeded his powers, in addition, he did not submit any amendments or supplements to the Law. Thus, in the petition of the petitioner, not the certainty of the reasons for which the President of the Republic referred the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration (i.e. it is not asserted that the Speaker of the Seimas, while having submitted the Law to the President of the Republic for signing, without receiving the prior conclusions from the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures, did not violate Article 160 of the Statute of the Seimas and the sequence of the stages of the legislation procedure which is enshrined in the Constitution) is impugned, but, rather, the fact that the President of the Republic referred the Law back to the Seimas for repeated consideration namely on this ground, even though, in the opinion of the petitioner, the President of the Republic was not allowed do so, moreover, he did not submit any amendments or supplements to the Law. Thus, the fact whether in the course of the adoption of the Law there were any violations of the Statute of the Seimas, and the fact how the President of the Republic assessed them, as well as the legal regulation established in the Statute of the Seimas, are not a matter of investigation in this constitutional justice case.

8. Under the Constitution, along with the Seimas, the President of the Republic takes part in the legislative procedure as well. For instance, the President of the Republic signs and officially announces (promulgates) the laws enacted by the Seimas, and also enjoys the right of delayed (relative) veto, i.e. the powers to refer a law adopted by the Seimas back for reconsideration; it is an important aspect of the constitutional principle of the separation of powers and an additional guarantee of the constitutionality of the laws adopted by the Seimas (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 19 January 1994 and 19 June 2002). The President of the Republic has the right not to sign a law adopted by the Seimas and within ten days of receiving the law he may refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (Paragraph 1 of Article 71 and Item 2 of Article 84 of the Constitution); the reasons of such referring back must be specified in the corresponding decree of the President of the Republic (Paragraph 1 of Article 71 and Article 85 of the Constitution); the Seimas may consider anew and adopt the law which has been referred back by the President of the Republic (Paragraph 1 of Article 75 of the Constitution); the law reconsidered by the Seimas shall be deemed adopted provided the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted or if more than 1/2 of all the members of the Seimas voted for the law, and if it was a constitutional law—if not less than 3/5 of all the members of the Seimas voted for it (Paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution); the President of the Republic must within three days sign and forthwith officially promulgate such laws (Paragraph 3 of Article 72 of the Constitution).

While construing the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic in the legislative procedure, in its ruling of 19 June 2002, the Constitutional Court held that it is a constitutional duty of the President of the Republic to perform, within ten days of receiving a law passed by the Seimas, one legal action from among those pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 71, Item 24 of Article 84 and Paragraph 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution: either to sign and officially promulgate the law passed by the Seimas (the right of promulgation), or to refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (the right of delayed veto). In the said ruling of the Constitutional Court, one discusses the situation in more detail when the President of the Republic, even though he has the constitutional duty within ten days of receiving a law passed by the Seimas to sign and officially promulgate that law (the right of promulgation) or to refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (the right of delayed veto), due to some reasons, neither signs nor officially promulgates the law passed by the Seimas, nor makes use of the right of delayed veto.

9. While passing laws and other legal acts, the Seimas and each member of the Seimas are bound by the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, as well as the Statute of the Seimas which has the force of law; the duty of the Seimas should follow the rules of passing laws which are defined in the Statute of the Seimas is a constitutional duty of the Seimas (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 8 November 1993, 18 October 2000, 28 June 2001, 14 January 2002, 19 January 2005, and 4 April 2006). It is not possible to ignore any stage of the legislation procedure or rule of the legislation which are enshrined in the Constitution and/or the Statute of the Seimas; the necessity to pass laws consequently following the stages and rules of legislation stems from the Constitution.

The constitutional duty of the Seimas to follow the aforementioned stages and rules also means that if under the Statute of the Seimas, one must receive a conclusion from one of the structural subdivisions of the Seimas (inter alia, a committee or commission of the Seimas), it would be constitutionally unjustifiable that such conclusion is not submitted because of the fact that such structural subdivision does not fulfil this duty, is late to fulfil it, etc.; moreover, it would be even more constitutionally unjustifiable, if such structural subdivision of the Seimas were not composed due to some reasons.

In this context, it needs to be noted that the essential violations of the legislation procedure established in the Statute of the Seimas imply that one also violates the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution that laws shall be adopted at the Seimas according to the procedure established by law. Namely such legal position is followed in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 28 June 2001 and 19 January 2005).

10. While construing the provision “within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall <...> refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration” of Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that the President of the Republic may, in the corresponding decree, specify various reasons—not only legal, but also economic, political, moral, and expediency reasons, also those which are related to the international obligations of the State of Lithuania, etc. In the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be held that these reasons do not necessarily have to be linked to the content of the corresponding law, they may, in the opinion of the President of the Republic, be linked also with committed violations of the law adoption procedure, inter alia, with the fact that while adopting that law, the Seimas did not follow the stages of the legislation procedure or the rules of legislation which are enshrined in the Constitution and/or the Statute of the Seimas. In such cases, the President of the Republic, while making use of the right of delayed veto, which is granted to him by the Constitution, prevents a law, which, in his opinion, may be in conflict with the Constitution according to the procedure of adoption established in it, from having effect.

It needs to be emphasised that the reasons of the President of the Republic, on the grounds of which the law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to it for repeated consideration, must be rational, clear and comprehensible. The President of the Republic, while referring the law back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for repeated consideration, must follow the imperatives of the welfare of the Nation, responsible governance, public spirit, social harmony, justice and supremacy of law, as well as other values which are enshrined in, and defended and protected by the Constitution. However, the mere fact that the reasons of the President of the Republic, on the grounds of which the law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to it for repeated consideration may be assessed by someone (inter alia, members of the Seimas) as unfair, may not be a pretext for questioning the compliance of a corresponding decree of the President of the Republic with the Constitution (as well as in the course of initiating the constitutional justice case at the Constitutional Court).

In this context, it needs to be emphasised that if the Seimas does not agree with the reasons of the President of the Republic on the grounds of which the law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to it for repeated consideration after the President of the Republic enjoyed his constitutional right of delayed veto, the Seimas, under Paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution, may overcome such veto of the President of the Republic. Under the Constitution, a veto of the President of the Republic is relative as regards laws adopted by the Seimas, and such veto is not absolute.

11. Enjoying his right of delayed veto, the President of the Republic may submit the proposals for the Seimas how the law which was adopted by the Seimas but not signed by the President of the Republic could be amended or supplemented; these amendments or supplements have to be specified in the President of the Republic decree whereby the law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for repeated consideration. The Constitutional Court has held that submission of amendments and supplements to the law referred back to the Seimas with relevant reasons for repeated consideration is not a constitutional duty of the President of the Republic, but his constitutional right (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 19 June 2002).

A different construction, i.e. the construction that, purportedly, the President of the Republic, while referring a law adopted by the Seimas back to it together with relevant reasons for repeated consideration, in all cases must submit proposals to the Seimas on how this law should be amended or supplemented, would mean that the President of the Republic is forced to propose amendments and supplements even to such laws of which he does not approve in general and to which he objects not because of the fact that these laws include certain provisions with which the President of the Republic does not agree and which, in his opinion, should be corrected, but because of the fact that, in the opinion of the President of the Republic, the whole law is essentially inadmissible as it is inexpedient, unreasonable, harmful, etc. When the President of the Republic does not submit any amendments or supplements to the law which is referred back to the Seimas with relevant reasons for repeated consideration, he does not act ultra vires.

It needs to be noted that if in a decree of the President of the Republic, whereby a law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to it with relevant reasons for repeated consideration, the remarks and supplements of the President of the Republic are specified, under Paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution, the Seimas, after it has repeatedly considered that law, may adopt it again if more than 1/2 of all the members of the Seimas voted for the law (if it was a constitutional law—3/5 of all the members of the Seimas). However, the Seimas, after it has repeatedly considered such a law, may also adopt this law by a smaller majority vote, at the same time adopting the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic. On the other hand, the Constitution (as well as the provisions of Article 72) does not prohibit a situation, where the Seimas, after it has repeatedly considered a law, which was vetoed by the President of the Republic, neither adopts it by the said absolute (qualified) majority of votes of all members of the Seimas, nor adopts it with the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic, but decides to consider it as a non-adopted law (for example, if while reconsidering it, it turned out that the law had such deficiencies due to which it has to be further improved or even that it may not be adopted in general).

Under the Constitution, the Seimas has also such a possibility in those cases when the decree of the President of the Republic whereby the law adopted by the Seimas is referred back to the Seimas with relevant reasons for repeated consideration does not include any proposals on how that law should be amended or supplemented. In addition, as it has been mentioned, in such cases the Seimas, according to paragraph 2 of Article 72 of the Constitution, may overcome the veto of the President of the Republic.

12. Thus, the arguments of the Seimas, the petitioner, that, purportedly, the President of the Republic did not have the constitutional powers to refer the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, which was adopted by the Seimas, back to the Seimas for repeated consideration because of the fact that, in the opinion of the President of the Republic, this law was submitted to him for signing in violation of Article 160 of the Statute of the Seimas and in violation of the sequence of the stages of the legislation procedure which is enshrined in the Constitution, or that the President of the Republic, by referring back this law to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for repeated consideration, also had to submit proposals to the Seimas on how this law of the Seimas had to be amended or supplemented, are not grounded on the provisions of the Constitution, including those which are specified in the petition of the Seimas, the petitioner, namely on Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution, the provision “within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall <...> refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration” of Paragraph 1 of Article 71 thereof, the provision “the law reconsidered by the Seimas shall be deemed adopted provided the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted <...>” of Paragraph 2 of Article 72 thereof, the provision “the President of the Republic <...> (24) shall <...> refer [the laws adopted by the Seimas] <...> back to the Seimas according to the procedure established in Article 71 of the Constitution” of Paragraph 2 of Article 84 thereof, and on the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Such arguments ignore the official constitutional doctrine set forth, inter alia, in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 19 June 2002.

13. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution, with the provision “within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall <...> refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration” of Paragraph 1 of Article 71 thereof, the provision “the law reconsidered by the Seimas shall be deemed adopted provided the amendments and supplements submitted by the President of the Republic were adopted <...>” of Paragraph 2 of Article 72 thereof, the provision “the President of the Republic <...> (24) shall <...> refer [the laws adopted by the Seimas] <...> back to the Seimas according to the procedure established in Article 71 of the Constitution” of Paragraph 2 of Article 84 thereof, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

14. It has been mentioned (in Item 3 of Section I of the fact-establishing part of this ruling of the Constitutional Court) that as from 12 January 2008, when the announcement of the President of the Constitutional Court regarding the acceptance of the petition set forth in Seimas resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007 was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” until the Constitutional Court’s ruling in this constitutional justice case at issue is pronounced, the validity of Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 shall be suspended.

15. According to Paragraph 3 of Article 26 (wording of 28 October 2003) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in cases when the Constitutional Court, having considered a case, adopts a ruling that the impugned act is not in conflict with the Constitution, the President of the Constitutional Court shall immediately make an official announcement about it under the procedure established in the second paragraph of this article; in this announcement, the President of the Constitutional Court shall state, inter alia, that the validity of the suspended act shall be restored from the day that this ruling is published.

16. The specified President of the Republic decree is a legal act of one time (ad hoc) application, whereby the right of delayed veto of the President of the Republic was exercised. It needs to be held that the purpose of this act—namely that the corresponding law adopted by the Seimas (which has not been signed and promulgated by the President of the Republic, which, therefore, has not come into force) would be reconsidered in the Seimas—has been fulfilled. It has been mentioned that the Seimas deliberated whether to consider the Law which was referred back by the 31 October 2007 decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic anew, or to consider it as a non-adopted law, and that it was decided to consider it as a non-adopted law.

Thus, the announcement of the President of the Constitutional Court on the restoration of the validity of Article 2 of the said President of the Republic decree, which has to be officially published under Paragraph 3 of Article 26 (wording of 28 October 2003) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, may not be considered as abolishing or denying otherwise the said decision of the Seimas.

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:

To recognise that Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 114-4636) is not in conflict with 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
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Egidijus Kūris
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Vytautas Sinkevičius
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis