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On accepting part of a petition and returning part of the petition

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF THE SEIMAS, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER THE LAW ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

29 March 2006

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, Stasys Stačiokas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at its procedural sitting, has considered the petition of a group of members the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

On 15 February 2006, a petition of was received at the Constitutional Court from a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Law on the Constitutional Court is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. Article 66 of the Constitutional Court provides, inter alia, that a duplicate of the whole text of the impugned legal act shall be attached to the petition (Item 1 of Paragraph 3); that 30 copies of the duplicates are submitted to the Constitutional Court (Item 1 of Paragraph 5).

Under Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Effect of Laws and Other Legal Acts”, the official publication of laws and other legal acts shall be their publication in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”.

Under Item 15 of Section 1 of Chapter VI of the Rules of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, which was approved by the Constitutional Court’s Decision “On Approving the Rules of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania” of 5 March 2004 (with a subsequent supplement and amendment), the text of the legal act (part thereof) which is published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” should be considered such a duplicate.

2. In each case when the text of a legal act is submitted to the Constitutional Court, which does not meet the requirements of Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 66 and Item 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court enjoys the powers to decide, while taking account of circumstances which are of importance, whether the petition should be accepted for consideration at the Constitutional Court.

3. Alongside with the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Law on the Constitutional Court is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court was submitted duplicates of the impugned legal act (30 copies) which are not duplicates of the text published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, but which were marked “Unofficial text of the law”. In addition, it needs to be held that the text of the law, the compliance of provisions of which is impugned and which was submitted together with the petition, matches the official text of this law published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”.

It needs to be held that the petition should not be returned to the petitioner only because it does not meet the requirements of Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 66 and Item 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Constitutional Court. This decision does not create a precedent.

II

1. Paragraph 2 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides, inter alia, that a petition of a group of members of the Seimas shall be signed by all members of the Seimas who file the petition, while specifying, at the same time, their representative (representatives); the signatures of said members of the Seimas shall be confirmed by the signature of the Speaker of the Seimas or his Deputy.

When construing this provision, the Constitutional Court held that it also means that “the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, while confirming the signatures of the Seimas members, must indicate the number of the signatures confirmed as well as the date of the confirmation of the signatures” and that “the list of the names of Seimas members together with the signatures must be neat, it must contain no deletions or corrections” (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 24 April 2002).

It should also be mentioned that, under Item 8 of Section 1 of Chapter VI of the Rules of the Constitutional Court, the Speaker of the Seimas or his Deputy, when confirming with his signature the signatures of the members of the Seimas, specifies the number of confirmed signatures and the date of confirmation.

2. In each case, when a petition submitted to the Constitutional Court does not meet the requirements of Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court enjoys the powers to decide, while taking account of circumstances which are of importance, whether the petition may be accepted for consideration at the Constitutional Court.

3. The signatures of the members of the Seimas who signed the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Law on the Constitutional Court is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution, are confirmed by A. Pekeliūnas, a Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, however neither the number of confirmed signatures nor the date of confirmation is specified. Alongside, it needs to be noted that the petition was signed by 34 members of the Seimas, i.e. not less than required by Paragraph 6 of Article 106 of the Constitution.

4. It needs to be held that the petition should not be returned to the petitioner only because it does not meet the requirements of Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 66 and Item 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Constitutional Court. This decision does not create a precedent.

III

1. The group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the Law on the Constitutional Court is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution.

2. The petitioner asserts that the following may be in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 111 and Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution:

the entire Law on the Constitutional Court;

the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court;

Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court;

Paragraph 2 (erroneously cited by the petitioner) of Article 5 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

3. It is clear from the arguments of the petitioner that it has faced doubts only as regards the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court with the Constitution. Meanwhile, the petition does not present any arguments concerning the conflict of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court and Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, let alone the conflict of the entire Law on the Constitutional Court with the Constitution.

IV

1. A group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court are not in conflict with, inter alia, Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution, however, it does not specify any particular articles (parts thereof) of Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution, save Article 111 of the Constitution, which is in Chapter IX thereof, with which the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court might conflict.

2. Under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation of the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing references to laws.

While construing this item of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held that “the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of the norms and/or the scope of regulation must be indicated clearly, unambiguously, the petition must contain the arguments and reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner that the legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution. Thus, the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the scope of regulation must clearly indicate concrete articles (parts thereof), items of the legal act the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful from the petitioner’s viewpoint, also concrete provisions—norms and/or principles—of the Constitution, to which, in the opinion of the petitioner, contradict the concretely indicated articles or items of the impugned legal act. The petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the scope of regulation must also clearly indicate the legal arguments grounding the doubt of the petitioner as regards every concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act, the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provision of the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner. Otherwise, the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the scope of regulation must be considered to be not in line with the requirements of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court” (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 16 April 2004 and its ruling of 12 December 2005).

Under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in the case that a petition or attachments thereto fail to comply with the requirements set forth in, inter alia, Article 66 of this law, the petition is 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.

3. The petition of the petitioner requesting an investigation into whether the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court are not in conflict with Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution does not meet the requirements of Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court and should be returned to the petitioner.

Conforming to Paragraph 3 of Article 22, Articles 25, 28, 66 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:

1. To accept the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 of Article 111 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania for consideration.

2. To return the petition to a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the title and Paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with Chapters VIII and IX of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                 Armanas Abramavičius

                                                                                      Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                      Egidijus Kūris

                                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas

                                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius

                                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                      Vytautas Sinkevičius

                                                                                      Stasys Stačiokas

                                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis