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On dismissing a case

Case No. 01/05

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE DISMISSAL OF THE CASE SUBSEQUENT TO THE PETITION OF THE VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE APPROVAL OF THE FINANCIAL INDICATORS OF THE 1998 STATE BUDGET AND THE MUNICIPAL BUDGETS (WORDING OF 1 DECEMBER 1998), THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE APPROVAL OF THE FINANCIAL INDICATORS OF THE 1999 STATE BUDGET AND THE MUNICIPAL BUDGETS (WORDINGS OF 3 DECEMBER 1998 AND 14 OCTOBER 1999), THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE APPROVAL OF THE FINANCIAL INDICATORS OF THE 2000 STATE BUDGET AND THE MUNICIPAL BUDGETS (WORDINGS OF 23 DECEMBER 1999, 20 APRIL 2000, 13 JULY 2000, AND 7 DECEMBER 2000), THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON APPROVING THE FINANCIAL INDICATORS OF THE 2001 STATE BUDGET AND THE MUNICIPAL BUDGETS (WORDING OF 19 DECEMBER 2000) WERE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF A STATE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW, ALSO WHETHER ITEM 3 OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1281) “ON THE SUBMISSION OF THE DRAFT LAW ON AMENDMENTS TO THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE APPROVAL OF THE FINANCIAL INDICATORS OF THE 1998 STATE BUDGET AND THE MUNICIPAL BUDGETS TO THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA” OF 29 OCTOBER 1998 WAS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH ARTICLE 5, ITEM 4 OF ARTICLE 94, PARAGRAPH 2 OF ARTICLE 132 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF A STATE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW

13 November 2007

Vilnius

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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Sigita Krutkevičienė, senior adviser of the Law Department of the Office of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

Gediminas Užubalis, Deputy Director of the Law Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, acting as the representative 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 31 October 2007, in its public hearing, heard constitutional justice case No. 01/05 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-1/2005) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether:

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amendment and Supplement to the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 1 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1998 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 2 December 1997), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 1999, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but which were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amendments of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 14 October 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1999 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 2000, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but which were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment of Articles 2 and 10, Appendices 4 and 5 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets and on the Supplement of the Same Law with Article 15 (adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 20 April 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 13 July 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 7 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 2001, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but which were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

Item 3 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 is not in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

1. The petitioner, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court was considering an administrative case. By its ruling the Court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether:

the Law on Amendment and Supplement to the Law of 1998 on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and of Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 1 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1998 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 2 December 1997), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets were not established in the state budget of 1999 and were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Amendments of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 14 October 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1999 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets were not established in the state budget of 2000 and were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

Law on the Amendment of Articles 2 and 10, Appendices 4 and 5 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets and on the Supplement of the Same Law with Article 15 (adopted by the Seimas on 20 April 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 13 July 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 7 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets were not established in the state budget of 2001 and were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 is not in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

1. The petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of the impugned laws with the Constitution is grounded on the fact that, according to the petitioner, the Seimas, while reducing the expenses of the state budget and of municipal budgets of the current budget years (1998, 1999, 2000), did not establish anything regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of respective budget years, but which were not transferred to the said administrators, also the Seimas did not establish any such appropriations while enacting the state budget and municipal budgets for new budget years. In the opinion of the petitioner, also the constitutional principle of legal security was violated, thus, also the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, since the state did not execute its obligation to secure the certainty and stability of legal regulation, to safeguard the rights of legal subjects, also the acquired rights, to respect legitimate interests and legitimate expectations.

2. The petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 with the Constitution is grounded (while making references, inter alia, to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, its rulings of 3 June 1999, 21 July 2001, and 14 January 2002) on the fact that, according to the petitioner, by this item the Government assigned the Ministry of Finance, until the state budget of 1998 is specified, to temporarily limit the financing of the expenses of the IV quarter of 1998, except wages, although the Government had to execute the budget of the state and of municipalities according to that purpose and to that extent which was established in the law on the budget, and had no powers to change the budget, moreover, the institution authorised by the Government had no such powers, either. Therefore, the impugned item may be in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were S. Krutkevičienė and V. Račkauskienė, the adviser of the Law Department of the Office of the Seimas, and from the representative of the Government, the party concerned, who was G. Užubalis, wherein it is stated that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution.

1. The position of the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, is grounded (referring, inter alia, to the official constitutional doctrine of revising the budgetary financing of all institutions which implement state authority and various areas financed from the budget of the state and of municipalities upon the occurrence of a notably severe economic and financial situation in the state) on the following arguments.

The state budget is the plan of revenue and expenses for a certain period whereby public funds are redistributed. The principles of planning the state and municipal budgets require guaranteeing a stable financing of the functions assigned to the state or municipalities taking into account the economic situation of the country. Every year in the draft state budget of a respective year the appropriations for administrators of appropriations are established according to the calculations submitted by them to the Ministry of Finance (how much funds they will require for the implementation of the programs financed by the state budget appropriations and for the sustenance of establishments) and considering the obligations undertaken by them. It is obvious that, upon an essential worsening of the economic and financial situation of the state the financial grounds, the priorities of the budget planning should also change. In 1998–2000, there was a severe economic situation (crisis), therefore, a particularly great attention had to be given to the management of expenses—a comprehensive control over budget expenses, the establishment of priorities of budget distribution and quality provision of public services at the lowest cost. Taking account of the essentially worsened economic and financial situation of the state at that time, the impugned laws, to the extent that the appropriations were not established in the preceding state budgets and were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations and the way of financing was not established with regard to those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the state budgets of the current years, as well as that the appropriations were not transferred to those administrators, are not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. The position of the representatives of the Government, the party concerned, is grounded on the following arguments.

The Government, as an institution of the executive, executes the state budget; the dispensation of funds from the account of the treasury should be categorised as belonging to the stage of the budget execution. The Government acts according to the indicators approved by the Seimas and does not change the subjects indicated in the law on the state budget, to whom the funds of the state budget are allocated, also does not change the established sizes of appropriations and does not redistribute them. When there is an economic crisis, the amount of funds provided for in the state budget cannot be dispensed from the state budget, because the funds are simply unavailable, thus, only part of the expenses provided for may be financed. Therefore, the financing of part of the expenses provided for in the state budget is temporarily suspended in any case, irrespective of the decision of the Government. In such cases the Government (in the course of the execution of the state budget and without interfering with the exclusive competence of the Seimas) may establish the priorities of work of the cash desk and limit the financing of certain expenses, without negating the indicators approved by the Seimas (the subjects to whom the financing of the state budget is allocated, and the appropriations). The Government, while assigning to the Ministry of Finance temporarily, until the budget of the year 1998 is specified, to limit the financing of the expenses of the IV quarter of 1998, with the exception of wages, specified the priorities, by following which the Ministry of Finance had to dispense the funds from the account of the treasury. Due to the fact that the financing of all expenses was not possible, such establishment of priorities did not negate and did not change the appropriations and the subjects established by the Seimas, to whom the appropriations had to be paid, and only had an impact on the time of payment of the appropriations. The Government acted while executing its obligation to ensure that the budget was executed and seeking to prevent negative financial consequences to the state.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from Assoc. Prof. B. Sudavičius, who works at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law of the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University, and G. Steponavičienė, Vice-president of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute.

V

1. At the hearing of the Constitutional Court, S. Krutkevičienė, the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, virtually repeated the arguments set forth in her written explanations and in those of V. Račkauskienė.

2. At the hearing of the Constitutional Court, G. Užubalis, the representative of the Government, the party concerned, virtually repeated the arguments set forth in his written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 2 December 1997 the Seimas adopted the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (which took effect on 12 December 1997) Paragraph 1 of Article 1 whereof approved the revenue of the state budget of LTL 6,885,936 thousand and the expenses of the state budget of LTL 7,580,936 thousand for the year 1998.

This law was amended and supplemented by:

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted on 21 May 1998 (and which took effect on 10 June 1998); in Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 May 1998) of Article 1 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, the revenue of LTL 7,009,790 thousand and the expenses of LTL 7,704,790 thousand of the state budget were approved;

the Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 1 December 1998 (and which took effect on 18 December 1998), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case; in Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 December 1998) of Article 1 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, the revenue of LTL 6,711,962 thousand and the expenses of LTL 7,406,962 thousand of the state budget for the year 1998 were approved.

2. On 29 October 1998, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania the Draft Law on Amendment and Supplement of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets”, which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner; by Item 3 thereof it assigned the Ministry of Finance “to temporarily limit the financing of the expenses of the IV quarter of 1998, except wages until the state budget of 1998 is specified”.

3. On 3 December 1998, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (which took effect on 30 December 1998), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, in Paragraph 1 of Article 1 whereof the revenue of the state budget of LTL 7,210,071 thousand and the expenses of the state budget of LTL 7,210,071 thousand were approved.

This law was amended and/or supplemented by:

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Supplement of Article 11 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 3 June 1999 (and which took effect on 16 June 1999);

the Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 14 October 1999 (and which took effect on 4 November 1999), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, by Article 1 whereof the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 June 1999) was amended and set forth in its new wording; in Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 October 1999) of Article 1 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, the revenue of LTL 6,760,832 thousand and the expenses of LTL 6,760,832 thousand of the state budget were approved;

the Law on the Recognition of Article 16 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets as No Longer Valid, which was adopted by the Seimas on 23 December 1999 (and which took effect on 30 December 1999).

4. On 23 December 1999 the Seimas approved the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (which took effect on 30 December 1999), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in Paragraph 1 of Article 1 whereof the revenue of LTL 6,051,088 thousand and the expenses of LTL 6,851,088 thousand of the state budget were approved.

This law was amended and supplemented by:

the Law on the Amendment of Articles 2 and 10, Appendices 4 and 5 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets and on the Supplement of the Same Law with Article 15, which was adopted by the Seimas on 20 April 2000 (and which took effect on 5 May 2000), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case;

the Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 13 July 2000 (and which took effect on 26 July 2000), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case; in Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 1 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 13 July 2000), the revenue of LTL 6,057,735 thousand and the expenses of LTL 6,857,735 thousand of the state budget of the year 2000 were approved;

the Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 7 December 2000 (and which took effect on 20 December 2000), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case; in Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 December 2000) of Article 1 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, the revenue of LTL 5,846,865 thousand and the expenses of LTL 6,646,865 thousand of the state budget of the year 2000 were approved.

5. On 19 December 2000, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (having taken effect on 29 December 2000), which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, in Article 1 whereof the revenue of LTL 6428134 thousand and the expenses of LTL 7334134 thousand of the state budget were approved.

This law was amended and supplemented by:

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment of the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 12 July 2001 (and which took effect on 1 August 2001); in Article 1 (wording of 12 July 2001) of the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, the revenue of LTL 6,508,456 thousand and appropriations of LTL 7,414,456 thousand were approved;

the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 11 December 2001 (and which took effect on 14 December 2001).

6. The compliance (to a certain extent) of some of the laws impugned in this constitutional justice case, with the Constitution, has already been impugned in the constitutional justice cases previously considered by the Constitutional Court.

In this context, one should mention the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 July 1999, its decision of 23 November 1999, and its rulings of 12 July 2001 and 14 January 2002:

in the Constitutional Court’s Ruling “On the Compliance of Item 4 of Article 10 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, Item 2 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 105) ‘On the Reorganisation of the Department for Standardisation of Lithuania Under the Ministry of Public Administration Reforms and Municipal Affairs’ of 27 January 1998, Item 2 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 117) ‘On the Transfer of the Right of the Founder of the Lithuanian Zoological Garden’ of 30 January 1998, and Item 3 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 366) ‘On the Transfer of Certain Functions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and on the Establishment of the Department for Forests and Protected Territories Under the Ministry of Environmental Protection’ of 30 March 1998 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 July 1999, adopted in the constitutional justice case initiated by a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, Item 4 (whereby the Government or an institution authorised by it was entitled, upon redistribution of functions of ministries, counties, departments, state services, to respectively change the approved appropriations) of Article 10 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 Budget of the State and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 2 December 1997 (which was amended and supplemented by the Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 21 May 1998, and the Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 1 December 1998), was ruled to be in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94 and Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution;

the Constitutional Court, by its Decision “On the Petition of a Group of Members of the Seimas Requesting an Investigation into Whether the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 3 December 1998 is not in Conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 23 November 1999, dismissed the commenced legal proceedings in the constitutional justice case subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets adopted by the Seimas on 3 December 1998 with the Constitution, upon taking into consideration that the legal regulation impugned in that constitutional justice case had been replaced by the Law Amending Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets adopted by the Seimas on 14 October 1999;

the Constitutional Court, by its Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 5, Item 1 of Paragraph 3, Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Work Pay of State Politicians, Judges and State Officials, as well as Chapter II of the Appendix to the same law, Appendix 6 to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and Municipal Budgets, Article 9 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and Municipal Budgets, the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 499) ‘On the Temporary Experimental Procedure for the Work Pay of Heads and Other Officials of State Authority, State Administration and Law Enforcement Bodies’ of 29 November 1991, the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 666) ‘On the Work Pay of Judges of Courts, Officials and Other Employees of the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania’ of 24 June 1997, the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1494) ‘On a Partial Amendment of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 689) “On the Work Pay of Chief Officials and Functionaries of Law and Order Institutions and of Law Enforcement and Control Institutions” of 30 June 1997’ of 28 December 1999 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 12 July 2001, dismissed the commenced legal proceedings in the constitutional justice case subsequent, inter alia, to the petitions of the Vilnius City Court of the First District, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of Appendix 6 to the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 23 December 1999, and Article 9 of the Law on Amending the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets, which was adopted by the Seimas on 13 July 2000, with the Constitution, having taken into account that the legal relation subject to regulation by these laws had been terminated on 31 December 2000, i.e. the legal regulation impugned at that constitutional justice case had been terminated;

in the Constitutional Court’s Ruling “On the Compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000), the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Indicators Determining the Amount and Levelling of Revenues of Municipal Budgets for 2001, 2002 and 2003 and Article 16 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Regulation of Economic Relations in Agriculture with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 14 January 2002, adopted at the constitutional justice case initiated by a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) to the extent that it did not specify allocations for each state higher school separately was ruled to be in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, while to the extent that it did not point out allocations according to the targeted purpose for the work to be performed in the sphere of land reclamation was ruled to be in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and to the extent that it did not indicate separately the allocations to perform the state functions transferred to municipalities was ruled to be in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 120 of the Constitution.

7. It has been held in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court that in general it is not impossible that at a certain time (particularly at the start of the Constitutional Court’s activities) in the Constitutional Court jurisprudence such official constitutional doctrinal provisions (fragments or rudiments of the doctrine) also existed, which, if collated, but assessed regardless of all official constitutional doctrinal context (particularly, if a more comprehensive, broader official constitutional doctrine has not been formed with regard to a respective issue of constitutional legal regulation) and/or general principles of law, may be treated as competing; if the text of the Constitution does not change, the said real or alleged competition of these official constitutional doctrines is eliminated in the acts of the Constitutional Court adopted in new constitutional justice cases while construing and developing the concept of provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrinal provisions that have already been formulated on the grounds of the provisions already formulated; under certain circumstances such subsequent construction and development of constitutional provisions may also presuppose reinterpretation of previously formulated official constitutional doctrinal provisions, when the official constitutional doctrine is corrected; such reinterpretation of the concept of the provisions and the official constitutional doctrinal provisions, when the official constitutional doctrine is corrected, is an exclusive competence of the Constitutional Court; it is prohibited and constitutionally impermissible to reinterpret the official constitutional doctrine (provisions thereof) in such a way that it becomes corrected so that the system of values consolidated in the Constitution is replaced, the compatibility thereof is negated, the guarantees of protection of the supremacy of the Constitution in the legal system are reduced, the concept of the harmonious system of the Constitution as an integral act is negated, the guarantees of rights and freedoms of a person consolidated in the Constitution are reduced, the model of the separation of powers consolidated in the Constitution is replaced. It has also been held that for a certain period of time the formulation of an official doctrine of acceptability of petitions at the Constitutional Court had not been finalised in the Constitutional Court jurisprudence; this doctrine was formulated “case by case” in two directions: first, such concept of powers of the Constitutional Court dominated whereby the Constitutional Court has the powers to investigate only the compliance of valid legal acts of lower legal force with legal acts of higher legal force (inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution) and it does not investigate whether invalid legal acts or legal acts equated to invalid ones (i.e. legal acts (parts thereof) which, although formally valid at the time of consideration thereof at a constitutional justice case, i.e., formally, they were not recognised invalid (they were not cancelled or amended) or the validity thereof was not formally terminated, could not be applied for the reason that the legal acts issued thereafter and/or legal acts (parts thereof) of higher legal force had to be applied, which regulated respective relations in a different manner than the impugned legal acts (parts thereof)) were not in conflict with the Constitution (another legal act of higher legal force); second (less frequently), one had to investigate and decide whether such legal acts (parts thereof) of lower legal force which were not valid at the time of consideration of that constitutional justice case or, although they were formally valid at the time of their consideration in respective constitutional justice cases, at that time could not be applied due to the fact that the legal acts (parts thereof) subsequently issued and/or those of higher legal power had to be applied, which regulated respective relations in a different manner than the impugned legal acts (parts thereof), were not in conflict with the Constitution (other legal acts of higher legal force). It has also been held that the coordination of the two discussed gradually emerged directions in formulation of the official constitutional doctrine of acceptability of petitions at the Constitutional Court was begun upon differentiation of the subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution, who have the powers to apply to the Constitutional Court: eventually, in the official constitutional doctrine, the provision was consolidated that under the circumstances when the Constitutional Court is applied to by courts, which, in the course of the administration of justice, face doubts regarding the compliance of legal acts of lower legal force with legal acts of higher legal force, inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution, the Constitutional Court must consider the constitutional justice case regardless of whether the impugned law or another legal act is valid or not, and when the Constitutional Court is applied to by other subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court, having taken account of the circumstances of the constitutional justice case under consideration, may dismiss the commenced legal proceedings (the case) or not dismiss it (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, decision of 8 August 2006).

In this context, it should be noted that the rulings of the Constitutional Court of 9 July 1999 and 14 January 2002, whereby the compliance of the laws on the state budget with the Constitution was investigated already upon the end of respective budget years, were adopted in the constitutional justice cases which were initiated by petitioners, groups of Members of the Seimas; in the process of law-making, account should be taken of the legal position of the Constitutional Court in those constitutional justice cases (which have the significance of the precedent).

8. On the other hand, it should be noted that the application of a court to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with a legal act of higher legal force, inter alia, with the Constitution, and the investigation into such compliance are not an end in itself, whilst the purpose of the application (as a constitutional institute) of a court to the Constitutional Court is to ensure administration of justice.

Therefore, the fact that, as mentioned before, under the circumstances when the Constitutional Court is applied to by courts which, in the course of administration of justice, face doubts regarding the compliance of a legal act of lower legal force with legal acts of higher legal force, inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution, the Constitutional Court must consider the case regardless of whether the impugned law or another legal act is valid or not, does not imply that the Constitutional Court has to consider a constitutional justice case even when a respective legal act is not only invalid (since the compliance of invalid legal acts with legal acts of higher legal force may be investigated and is normally investigated), but also may not be applied at all (i.e. it may not be applied not only in the case considered by the respective court that applied to the Constitutional Court with a respective petition). In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that these circumstances (as any other circumstances important to the respective case) should always be assessed when a law on the state budget and on municipal budgets or any other act intended for a specific budget period is impugned.

In this context, it should be particularly noted that a court which applies to the Constitutional Court with a respective petition should always have locus standi. For instance, under the Constitution and the Law on the Constitutional Court, a court has locus standi to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether such a law (part thereof) or another legal act (part thereof) that should (could) be applied in the case under consideration at that court, as well as a law (part thereof) or another legal act (part thereof) which is not directly intended for the regulation of those relations regarding which a decision should be adopted in the respective case, but the fact that this law or another legal act (part thereof), in the opinion of the court, does not permit administration of justice in the respective case, is not in conflict with the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, its decisions of 22 May 2007, 27 June 2007, and 5 July 2007).

9. It should also be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court, in itself, no development of the official constitutional doctrine (inter alia, such reinterpretation of the previously formulated official constitutional doctrinal provisions, when the official constitutional doctrine is corrected) forms grounds for the subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution to apply to the Constitutional Court anew with a petition requesting an investigation into whether the legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution (another legal act of higher legal force) the compliance whereof with the Constitution (with another legal act of higher legal force) has already been investigated in essence, or to apply with a petition, which is analogous to a petition submitted previously by some other subject requesting an investigation into whether the legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution (with another legal act of higher legal force), regarding which the Constitutional Court has already adopted the decision to refuse to consider that petition, or has adopted the decision (ruling) to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings (the case) (if the respective petition was accepted at the Constitutional Court and the preparation of a constitutional justice case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing was begun or if the case has already been considered at the Constitutional Court’s hearing), thus, it did not decide the respective issue in essence (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 and its decision of 8 August 2006).

On the other hand, under Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, by a decision, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions to investigate the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the compliance of the legal act with the Constitution specified in the petition has already been investigated by the Constitutional Court and the ruling on this issue adopted by the Constitutional Court is still in force. The principled provision is adhered to in the Constitutional Court jurisprudence that none of the grounds for declining the consideration of the petition of a petitioner specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court (inter alia, the fact that if the compliance of the legal act with the Constitution specified in the petition has already been investigated by the Constitutional Court and the ruling of the Constitutional Court adopted on than issue is still in force (Item 3)) may be construed as providing legal preconditions for a court considering a respective case to apply such a law or another legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the Constitution (another legal act of higher legal force) is doubtful to that court (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 and its decision of 13 November 2006).

II

1. The petitioner, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, requests an investigation into whether the following is not in conflict with the Constitution:

the Law on the Amendment and Supplement to the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 1 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1998 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 2 December 1997), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 1999, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law 1999;

the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 14 October 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 1999 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 2000, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on the Amendment of Articles 2 and 10, Appendices 4 and 5 of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets and on the Supplement of the Same Law with Article 15 (adopted by the Seimas on 20 April 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 13 July 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Amendment of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (adopted by the Seimas on 7 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, while reducing the expenditure of the state budget of 2000 it was not established regarding the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999), but which were not transferred to the said administrators, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established in the state budget of 2001, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but which were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 is not in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. By some of the laws which are impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, the state budget (and municipal budgets) of respective years (1999, 2000, 2001) was approved, by other laws the state budget (and municipal budgets) of respective years (1998, 1999, 2000) was amended.

2.1. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, impugns the compliance of the laws whereby the state budget (and municipal budgets) of respective years (1999, 2000, 2001) was approved, with the Constitution to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the appropriations were not established, which were provided for in the preceding state (and municipal) budgets, but which, however, were not transferred to the administrators of appropriations, while as for the laws whereby the state budget (and municipal budgets) of respective years was amended, the petitioner impugns their compliance with the Constitution to the extent that, according to the petitioner, one did not establish the way of the financing of those administrators of appropriations who had assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets.

It should be held that, although the extent of the impugned legal regulation is diversely defined in the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, it is virtually the same: the compliance of both, the laws whereby the state budget (and municipal budgets) of the respective years was approved, and of the laws whereby the state budget (and municipal budgets) of the respective years was amended, with the Constitution, is impugned to the extent that the respective laws, according to the petitioner, did not contain the provisions whereby the financing should have been provided to those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, but which had not been transferred to the administrators of appropriations.

2.2. Alongside, taking account of, inter alia, the fact that the laws impugned by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, whereby the state budget (and municipal budgets) of certain years had been amended, made respective amendments and/or supplements to the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets, also of the fact that the impugned legal regulation was intended for the relations that had already been terminated, it should be held that the petition of the petitioner should be treated as that requesting an investigation into whether the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 1 December 1998 m), the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wordings of 3 December 1998 and 14 October 1999), the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wordings of 23 December 1999, 20 April 2000, 13 July 2000, and 7 December 2000), the Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) (all to the extent that, according to the petitioner, no provisions were consolidated, whereby financing should have been provided to those administrators of appropriations, who had assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, however, such appropriations were not transferred to the said administrators) were not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as an investigation into whether Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 was not in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. The laws specified in the petition (inter alia, in its operative part) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, are impugned by way of interconnecting the legal regulation established therein with all administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, but which were not transferred to the said administrators, however, it is clear from the petition of the petitioner (and the administrative case (No. I7-22/2004 on the compensation of damages inflicted by unlawful actions of officials) considered by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, attached to the petition, in which the decision was adopted to apply to the Constitutional Court) that the compliance of the legal regulation established by the respective laws is doubted for the reason that, according to the petitioner, provisions were absent in the respective laws whereby the financing should have been provided to those administrators of appropriations who, according to contracts, had to render payments to the joint-stock company (hereinafter—JSC) “Lithun”, the claimant in the said case considered by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. Therefore, in the assessment of the position and the legal grounding thereof by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, account should be taken of the context in which the petitioner had doubts regarding the compliance of the impugned legal acts with the Constitution.

4. It is clear from the administrative case considered by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (No. I7-22/2004 on the compensation of damages inflicted by unlawful actions of officials), in which the decision was adopted to apply to the Constitutional Court, that, in 1997–2001, the JSC “Lithun” provided services of construction and repairs according to contracts and carried out work for various clients (predominantly financed from budgets and funds of the state and of the Vilnius City Municipality), a part whereof were administrators of the appropriations and that, according to respective contracts, civil legal relations emerged between the said administrators of appropriations and the JSC “Lithun”. The said administrators of appropriations delayed their payments to the JSC “Lithun” for the work carried out, while the latter, according to the JSC “Lithun”, specifically because there were delays by the administrators of appropriations in rendering payments for the work carried out, did not transfer to the budget respective funds comprising the income tax of natural persons. Upon establishing by the Vilnius County State Tax Inspectorate that the JSC “Lithun” did not pay LTL 5,223,256.25 in income tax of natural persons and upon counting the fine of LTL 10,756,699.28 to this company, the JSC “Lithun” contested this decision and submitted a respective complaint to the Vilnius County State Tax Inspectorate, and, when the latter did not grant the said complaint, it applied to the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance. Upon the decision by the Vilnius County State Tax Inspectorate on sequestrating a part of assets of the JSC “Lithun” and on the direction of exaction to the funds available by the JSC “Lithun” in its bank accounts (whereby, under non-dispute procedure, respective tax arrears and delays had to be written off the JSC “Lithun” and its affiliates “Trinkelė”, “Lithun keliai”, “Lithun transportas”, “Lithun ranga”, “Elpirma”, “Vilniaus asfaltbetonis”), those decisions were also contested by way of submitting respective complaints to the Commission of Tax Disputes under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court; the JSC “Lithun” requested, inter alia, the recognition that the tax arrears (including adversative demands) were irredeemable and the release of the JSC “Lithun” from the payment of the delay. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court adopted a decision, whereby the complaint of the JSC “Lithun” was granted in part, however, the Vilnius County State Tax Inspectorate appealed against this decision to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, which amended the said decision of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. The part of the petition of the petitioner, the JSC “Lithun”, on the compensation of damages inflicted by illegal actions of officials was separated as an individual administrative case. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, while considering the case, demanded a complex expertise of finances, accounts and labour economics, the performance whereof was assigned to the Forensic Science Centre of Lithuania. The certificate of expertise, inter alia, states that, in 1998–2000, the reduced funds were transferred to the administrators of appropriations if compared to what was provided for according to the laws on the state budget of respective years and that the failure to render payments by the clients financed from state and municipal budgets to the JSC “Lithun” and its affiliates or the delay in rendering payments could have an impact on the inappropriate execution of the liabilities, inter alia, the tax liabilities, by the JSC “Lithun” and its affiliates. By a specified complaint the JSC “Lithun” requested the award to its benefit the compensation of LTL 32,545,864.98 in pecuniary damages and that of LTL 5,000,000 in non-pecuniary damages to be paid jointly and severally by the Republic of Lithuania and the Vilnius City Municipality, the respondents.

5. It should be noted that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court itself in its petition submitted to the Constitutional Court did not formulate any direct position regarding the certificate of the said complex expertise. Neither does the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, have any specific indication, which expenses (i.e. the funds allocated to the administrators of appropriations according to contracts for the rendering of payments to the JSC “Lithun”, let alone the funds allocated to all those administrators of appropriations, who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, but which were not transferred to the said administrators) had to be provided in the impugned laws and how specifically it had to be consolidated in those laws.

III

1. It is universally recognised that the state budget is a plan of the state revenue and expenses (appropriations) for a specific period, i.e. a financial plan of the state, whereby public funds are redistributed; respectively, municipal budgets are plans of revenue and expenses (appropriations) of these municipalities for a specific period. Under the Constitution (and in the general legal sense) the state budget is a law, whereby the state budget, a plan of revenue and expenses (appropriations) for the budget year, is approved. The period for which state and municipal budgets are compiled is a budget year, which shall start on the 1st of January and shall end on the 31st of December (Article 129 of the Constitution). Paragraph 2 of Article 131 of the Constitution provides that during the consideration of the draft budget, the Seimas may increase expenditure provided that it specifies the financial sources for the said expenditure; expenditure established by means of laws may not be reduced as long as the said laws are not altered. Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution provides that during the budget year the Seimas may change the budget; it shall be changed according to the same procedure by which it is drawn up, adopted and approved; as necessary, the Seimas may approve an additional budget.

2. The Constitutional Court has held that law, in the course of regulation of social relations, also the relations connected with the economy of the country, defines the limits of the content of the state policy, including the economic policy, establishes the permissible measures and methods of execution of this policy, however, in itself, it does not negate the autonomy of the political process, the specificity of formation and execution of the state policy, including the economic policy, the independence of the legislature and the executive, as democratically formed political state powers and institutions (according to the competence thereof) in the establishment of the content of the state policy, including the economic policy (inter alia, in choosing its priorities), also that, under the Constitution, the Seimas, as the legislative state institution, and the Government, as a state institution of the executive, have a very broad discretion to form and execute the state economic policy (each according to its competence) and to respectively regulate the economic activities by legal acts, certainly, without violating the Constitution and laws, inter alia, without exceeding the powers to these state institutions established therein, by heeding the requirements of the due process of law stemming from the Constitution, the principles of a state under the rule of law, separation of powers, responsible governance, protection of legitimate expectations, legal clarity, legal certainty, legal security consolidated in the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 May 2006 and 21 December 2006). The Constitutional Court has also held that the assessment of the content of the state economic policy (inter alia, the priorities), measures and methods (whoever assessed them), also in the aspect of reasonableness and expediency, even if in the course of time it becomes clear that better alternatives of the chosen economic policy existed (thus, also that, reasonably, a negative assessment should be given to the previously formulated and executed economic policy in the aspect of reasonableness and expediency), in itself it may not be a pretext to question the compliance of the legal regulation of the economic activities which corresponded the economic policy of that time (as previously formulated and executed) with legal acts of higher legal force, inter alia, with the Constitution (also through initiation of constitutional justice cases in the Constitutional Court), unless that legal regulation already while establishing it in the legal acts would clearly be contrary to the well-being of the Nation, the interests of the Lithuanian society and the state, would clearly negate the values consolidated in, protected and defended by the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 31 May 2006, 26 September 2006, and 21 December 2006). It was also held that, moreover, in itself such a pretext cannot be the fact that, for a certain economic area, differentiated legal regulation is established in legal acts, which is different from the legal regulation of other economic areas, nor the fact that the legal regulation of a certain economic activity, while reacting to the changes in the market, is changed by the economic (as well as international) conjuncture, since the preconditions for differentiated legal regulation of economic activities (taking account of the importance and nature of the relations under regulation) arise from the Constitution itself, the differentiated establishment of legal position of individual economic subjects should be related with the objectives set forth by the state in the area of economy, while striving to arrange the economy of the country respectively, in addition, due to the specificity, diversity and dynamics of the economic activities the legal regulation may not be the same all the time (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 31 May 2006 and 21 December 2006).

3. Both the Government which has the powers, under the Constitution, to execute the state budget, and the Seimas which, under the Constitution, approves the state budget by law, may not decide not to react to such essential change of economic and financial condition of the state, when due to special circumstances (economic crisis, natural calamity, etc.) a particularly difficult economic and financial situation occurs in the state. The Constitutional Court has held that under these circumstances there may be lack of funds for the execution of state functions and for the satisfaction of public interests; under such circumstances respective legal regulation may be subject to change (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 28 March 2006 and 22 October 2007). It goes without saying, upon the occurrence of a particularly difficult economic and financial situation in the state there may be difficulties in collecting the revenue provided for in the law on the state budget (and in municipal budgets), thus, the required funds are not obtained for financing respective needs provided for in the law on the state budget (and municipal budgets). In such cases (but, certainly, not only) the state budget may be amended (revised) before the end of the budget year; it was noted that such an option is expressis verbis provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution. While revising the state budget (and municipal budgets) the expenses (appropriations) may be reduced.

It should be noted that upon revision of the state budget (and municipal budgets), upon reduction of expenses (appropriations) it may also happen so that the state will not transfer the appropriations previously provided for to those administrators of appropriations who assumed certain obligations according to the appropriations provided for in the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets. Therefore, those administrators of appropriations may even become indebted to respective subjects of economy and other persons.

4. It is universally known that in 1998 and later there was a particularly difficult economic-financial situation in Lithuania, which was predominantly determined by the economic-financial crisis in Russia, and other external factors, which had a very negative impact on the economic-financial systems of various states, including Lithuania, inter alia, the fact that an exceedingly large amount of funds was not collected to the state budget of 1999, which was required for the financing of education, healthcare, social maintenance, other needs of society and the state, for the execution of other state functions. The Constitutional Court has held that the negative impact of the particularly difficult economic-financial situation emerging at the end of 1999 that some time affected the drawing up and execution of the state budget, should be regarded as such a factual situation that could not be neglected by the legislature (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 23 August 2005). This provision formulated by the Constitutional Court is applicable not only to the year 1999 but also to the year 1998, as well as to 2000–2001; for a fairly long time the difficult economic-financial crisis had a negative impact on the drawing up and execution of the state budget, and on the execution of various financial obligations by the state.

Thus, under such circumstances the state budget (and municipal budgets) could be revised, the expenses (appropriations) could be reduced.

5. Alongside, it should be noted that state and municipal institutions should deliver their obligations. If state and municipal institutions could decide not to deliver their obligations, even for the reason that the entire state was facing particularly strong economic and financial difficulties, even after those difficulties are overcome, it would have to be held that, thus, the said institutions are likely to ignore the legitimate expectations of various persons arising from the obligations undertaken, that they are likely to violate their rights. Thus, the trust of people in the state and law would be undermined. The state and municipal institutions may not arbitrarily refrain from the execution of obligations undertaken by them. The Constitution does not tolerate it.

In the context of the constitutional justice case, it should be noted that, although there are no explicit provisions in the Constitution whereby all respective non-transferred appropriations (upon transfer whereof to the administrators of appropriations, the indebtedness of state and municipal institutions to the subjects of economy and other persons should be cleared) should be provided for namely in the state budget and/or municipal budgets of the subsequent years, obviously, such legal regulation (when all such appropriations are provided for respective administrators of appropriations namely in the state budget and in municipal budgets of subsequent years) would most of all comply with the imperative of individual rights and legitimate expectations arising from the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the constitutional provisions of striving for a just and harmonious society, and other provisions of the Constitution.

On the other hand, the obligation of providing for the non-transferred appropriations in the state budget and/or municipal budgets of the subsequent years may not be made absolute, since the economic and financial difficulties, due to which the state or municipal institutions remained indebted to certain subjects of economy and other persons, perhaps, may not yet be overborne at that time. If a legal dispute arises whether the said non-transferred appropriations would not be reasonably and lawfully provided for namely in the state budget and/or municipal budgets of the subsequent years, all significant circumstances should be clarified, also (even in the first place) the factual circumstances, inter alia, the fact whether the administrators of appropriations themselves did not have a possibility of rendering payments to clients from the available funds.

6. It has been held in this decision of the Constitutional Court that it is clear from the administrative case considered by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, in which the decision to apply to the Constitutional Court was adopted, that civil legal relations emerged between the JSC “Lithun” and the administrators of appropriations, to whom, in 1997–2001, as to clients, this joint-stock company provided construction and repair services and carried out the work according to contracts and who delayed the rendering of payments to the JSC “Lithun” for the work carried out.

7. Every law on the state budget and on municipal budgets is a law of terminable validity and terminable application. The financing of administrators of appropriations from the funds of the state budget and of municipal budgets of respective years is completed when a respective budget year ends, i.e. on 31 December of that year. After this date the law on the state budget and on municipal budgets may not be applied at all, inter alia—it should particularly be emphasised in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue—upon passing the said date the transfer of appropriations of the previous budget year to any administrator of appropriations is impossible in such a way as if it was made in the previous budget year, since a new budget year has started.

The regulation of terminable validity and terminable application was also established in Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998, which is impugned in this constitutional justice case, whereby, as mentioned before, the Government assigned the Ministry of Finance to temporarily limit the financing of the expenses, except wages, of the IV quarter of 1998 until the state budget of 1998 is specified.

8. The laws on the state budget and municipal budgets, other legal acts of terminable validity and terminable application, issued by the Seimas, the President of the Republic or the Government, as well as adopted by way of a referendum, are assigned to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court. The compliance thereof with the Constitution may be investigated (and, as mentioned before, has been investigated) by the Constitutional Court.

Alongside, it should be noted that, as it has been held in this decision of the Constitutional Court, the application of a court to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with a legal act of higher legal force, inter alia, with the Constitution, and the investigation of that compliance are not an end in itself, and the purpose of the application (as a constitutional institute) of a court to the Constitutional Court is to ensure administration of justice. It has also been held that even in cases when the Constitutional Court is applied by courts that, in the course of administration of justice, have doubts regarding the compliance of a legal act of lower legal force with a legal act of higher legal force, inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution, the Constitutional Court does not have to investigate the case when the respective legal act is not only invalid (since the compliance of invalid legal acts with legal acts of higher legal force may be investigated and is usually investigated), but may not be applied at all (i.e. not only in the case investigated by the respective court that applied to the Constitutional Court with the respective petition), also that this circumstance should always be assessed when the law on the state budget and municipal budgets or another legal act intended for a specific budget period is impugned.

9. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should particularly be emphasised that, even if, as assumed by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, it was established in this constitutional justice case that the impugned legal regulation was in conflict with the Constitution, no intervention of the subjects of law-making (respectively, the Seimas and the Government) into that legal regulation is possible, since respective legal acts were intended for the regulation of the relations which had been terminated, therefore, they no longer exist. Such intervention would be meaningless and irrational, since, it would mean that respective subjects of law-making undertake the regulation of the past, consequently, that they attempt to change the past.

10. It should be held that it is within the jurisdiction of the court having the respective case under consideration to establish by itself, whether any of the said administrators of appropriations were or still are indebted to the JSC “Lithun”, also whether they have any other liabilities before this joint-stock company related with these arrears, and upon the establishment that such arrears or other liabilities existed or exist, has competence to adopt a respective decision and resolve the case regarding the arisen dispute in essence. Such disputes emerged from civil relations are not to be settled in the Constitutional Court.

Consequently, the court settling the respective dispute may administer justice by resolving the case on real or alleged arrears of the state or municipal institutions to the JSC “Lithun” and/or other liabilities related thereto regardless of whether the impugned laws on the state budgets and on municipal budgets of 1998–2001 (and Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998) will be ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution or not.

11. If the compliance of the Law of the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and of Municipal Budgets of 1998 (wording of 1 December 1998), of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998, 14 October 1999), of the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999, 20 April 2000, 13 July 2000, 7 December 2000), of the Law of the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and of Municipal Budgets of 2001 (19 December 2000) (all to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the provisions were absent, whereby the financing would be provided to those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, but which were not transferred to the said administrators) with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and if the compliance of Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 with the Constitution were investigated in this constitutional justice case, it would be an end in itself, instead of being such investigation, which could determine the settling of the respective dispute in court and administration of justice in the respective case.

Therefore, it should be held that a matter of investigation is absent in this constitutional justice case.

12. Paragraph 2 of Article 80 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, which regulates the refusal by the Constitutional Court to investigate an inquiry, provides that, if in the course of the consideration of the inquiry the matter under consideration ceases to exist, the Constitutional Court shall dismiss the instituted legal proceedings on the grounds thereof.

This provision of the Law on the Constitutional Court is applicable mutatis mutandis to the consideration of petitions requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution (another legal act of higher legal force) and to adoption of respective decisions (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 September 2006 and 6 September 2007).

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in the event that the grounds for refusal to consider a petition have been established after the commencement of the investigation of the case during the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a decision to dismiss the case shall be adopted.

13. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be held that this constitutional justice case must be dismissed.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 19, 22, 53, 55, 69, Paragraph 2 of Article 80 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 dismiss the case subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 1 December 1998), the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1999 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 3 December 1998, 14 October 1999), the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 2000 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 23 December 1999, 20 April 2000, 13 July 2000, and 7 December 2000), the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Approving the Financial Indicators of the 2001 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets (wording of 19 December 2000) (all to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the provision was not consolidated whereby the financing would be provided to those administrators of appropriations who assumed obligations according to the appropriations provided for by means of the laws on the approval of financial indicators of the state budget and of municipal budgets of previous years, but which were not transferred to the said administrators) were not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as an investigation into whether Item 3 of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1281) “On the Submission of the Draft Law on Amendments of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the 1998 State Budget and the Municipal Budgets to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” of 29 October 1998 was not in conflict with Article 5, Item 4 of Article 94, Paragraph 2 of Article 132 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This decision of the Constitutional Court is final and subject to no appeal.

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Egidijus Kūris
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Vytautas Sinkevičius
                                                                      Stasys Stačiokas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis