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On the state pensions of officials and servicemen

Case No. 09/06-30/06-01/07-30/08

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDINGS OF 13 JULY 2000 AND 19 MAY 2005) OF ARTICLE 3, PARAGRAPH 5 (WORDING OF 21 DECEMBER 2000) OF ARTICLE 11 AND PARAGRAPH 3 (WORDING OF 19 MAY 2005) OF ARTICLE 11 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE STATE PENSIONS OF OFFICIALS AND SERVICEMEN OF THE INTERIOR, THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SERVICE, STATE SECURITY, NATIONAL DEFENCE, THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF PRISONS AND OF THE ESTABLISHMENTS AND STATE ENTERPRISES WHICH ARE SUBORDINATE TO THE LATTER, AS WELL AS PARAGRAPH 12 (WORDING OF 18 JANUARY 2007) OF ARTICLE 16 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON STATE PENSIONS OF OFFICIALS AND SERVICEMEN, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

24 December 2008
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Seimas members Vilija Blinkevičiūtė and Algirdas Sysas, acting as the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 5 December 2008, considered constitutional justice case No. 09/06-30/06-01/07-30/08 subsequent to the petitions of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into:

(1) whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views and the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law (petition No. 1B-8/2006);

(2) whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principles of a just civil society and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (petition No. 1B-29/2006);

(3) whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wordings of 13 December 1994 and 19 May 2005) is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principle of a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, is consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (petition No. 1B-78/2006);

(4) whether Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (petition No. 1B-33/2008).

By the Constitutional Court’s Decision “On Joining Petitions into One Case” of 1 October 2007, petitions Nos. 1B-8/2006, 1B-29/2006, and 1B-78/2006 of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court were joined into one case and it was given reference No. 09/06-30/06-01/07.

By the Constitutional Court’s Decision “On Joining Petitions into One Case” of 13 November 2008, petition No. 1B-33/2008 of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court was also joined to case No. 09/06-30/06-01/07; the case was given reference No. 09/06-30/06-01/07-30/08.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

1. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, considered an administrative case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition (No. B1-8/2006) requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (hereinafter also referred to as the Law on Pensions) is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views and the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law.

2. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, considered an administrative case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition (No. 1B -29/2006) requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principles of a just civil society and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

3. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, considered an administrative case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition (No. 1B -78/2006) requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wordings of 13 December 1994 and 19 May 2005) is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principle of a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, is consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

4. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, considered an administrative case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition (No. 1B-33/2008) requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

1. The petition (No. 1B-8/2006) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter in which it is prescribed that “officials and servicemen who have been removed from the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence and the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter due to their own fault (if that fault does not incur criminal liability) shall be granted the state pension only in the case where they have served for 20 years or more and they have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension)” is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views and the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law is based on the following arguments.

If one refers, inter alia, to the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 12 March 1997, 25 November 2002 and 4 July 2003, a person, who has created certain values by his work, including funds of social insurance, acquires the right to pension as a form of the right to ownership, therefore, the right to pension which is guaranteed by the state under Article 52 of the Constitution must me defended together with the right to ownership which, under Article 23 of the Constitution, may not be seized (save cases when it is justly compensated for).

According to the petitioner, if one refers, inter alia, to the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003 and 3 December 2003, Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions which established a differentiated legal regulation applied to certain groups of persons which are distinguished by the same features violated the principles of equality and non-discrimination of persons, since, while groundlessly taking account only of the feature of age, it discriminated the persons who were younger than 62 years and 6 months old and restricted their rights, because younger persons, who had been removed from service due to their own fault before they reached the age of the old age pension, did not acquire the right to the state pension.

In addition, the fact that a person, who has not reached the age of 62 years and 6 months does not receive a state pension on the ground that he was removed from service due to his own fault is a certain sanction applied for a service offence and it means a repeated punishment because the removal from service itself is an application of service liability. Therefore, if one does not commit a deed of different nature (for example, material damage, for which also material liability could be applied), additional punishment is not justified with regard to the principle of a state under the rule of law which is set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution.

2. The petition (No. 1B-29/2006) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter in which it is prescribed that “state pensions of officials and servicemen shall not be paid to pensioners who are fully supported by the State” is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principles of a just civil society and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, is based on the following arguments.

By the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions, one essentially denies the right of person to the acquired property which may not be limited without specifying the necessity to limit it, and, at the same time, violates the right of the person to receive a part of his ownership—the well-earned pension payments, which, while establishing a certain pension by means of a law under Article 52 of the Constitution, must be secured to the persons who meet the corresponding conditions established in the law. The petitioner also noted that the provision consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 May 2005) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions is analogous to the impugned provision.

3. The petition (No. 1B-78/2006) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wordings of 13 December 1994 and 19 May 2005) is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principle of a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, is consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, is based virtually on the same arguments as petition No. 1B-8/2006.

4. The petition (No. 1B-33/2008) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen in which it is prescribed that “customs officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, shall be granted pensions of officials and servicemen only if they have acquired the right to this pension after coming into force of the Law (No. X-1027) on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter” is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, is based on the following arguments.

Under the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen, customs officials are virtually differentiated according to the only criterion—date (19 January 2007) of coming into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter. Such criterion—the date of coming into force of the law—is not the difference of such nature and such extent that such different treatment of customs officials would be objectively justified.

Due to such differentiation of the customs officials, they are not granted the state pensions of officials and servicemen, they are not guaranteed social security in the event of unemployment, and at the same time one violates their rights of ownership, as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which, in addition to other requirements, implies that one must ensure the rights and freedoms of a human being, thus, also the acquired right of a human being to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen.

III

In the course of preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were Seimas members J. Čekuolis, A. Sysas, and V. Blinkevičiūtė, were received in which it is stated that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with Articles 23 and 29, Paragraph 1 of Article 48, and Article 52 the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. In the written explanations of Seimas member J. Čekuolis, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, regarding petitions Nos. 1B-08/2006 and 1B-78/2006 of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, it is stated that the state pension of officials and servicemen may be considered their property only when the state pension is granted according to the procedure established by law and is paid. The legislature has the right to establish the conditions upon which the state pension is granted, as well as cases when this pension is not granted and paid and these provisions may not be considered a violation of the right of ownership. In addition, in the opinion of J. Čekuolis, such legal regulation which is applied to certain groups of persons which are distinguished by the same features, if by doing that one seeks to attain positive and significant objectives, is not be regarded as discrimination or a privilege. In this case, special requirements and certain conditions are linked namely to the peculiarities of certain regulated relations. In addition, according to J. Čekuolis, state pensions of officials and servicemen are paid from the state budget, they have no signs of the state social insurance and they are not linked to state social insurance contributions, therefore, the legislature may establish additional conditions for a person, meeting which would enable him to acquire the right to additional pension.

2. The position set forth in the written explanations of Seimas member A. Sysas, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, regarding petition No. 1B-29/2006 of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is virtually based on the same arguments. A. Sysas points out that state pensions of officials and servicemen are granted additionally, together with the same guarantees of social insurance established for all residents and are paid from funds of the state budget. The state pension of officials and servicemen is granted and paid only in cases established by law if there are all necessary conditions for receiving it; otherwise, such a pension is not granted, and the granted one is not paid. In the opinion of A. Sysas, if the state pension of officials and servicemen were paid to a person, who is fully supported by the state, one would distort the essence and purpose of the pension itself.

3. The position set forth in the written explanations of Seimas member A. Sysas, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, regarding petition No. 1B-33/2008 of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is based on the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 23 April 2002 whereby the legal regulation under which the size of the state pension of officials and servicemen for service depended on the time of the retirement of the person (prior to or after the entry of the law into force). This legal regulation does not violate the principle of the equality of rights of persons, since, while establishing such legal regulation, the legislature took account of the changed social, legal, economic and other conditions. Therefore, according to A. Sysas, the impugned provision of Paragraph 12 of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen does not include incompliance, either.

4. In the written explanations of Seimas member V. Blinkevičiūtė, a representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, it is stated that the legislature, while establishing the right of a person to an additional state pension, and not only to the social old age pension, must also establish the conditions for granting such pension, i.e. to require impeccable service from a person, who seeks to receive this pension. If one does not meet the requirements established for the service, the legislature has the right to establish either additional conditions for granting the state pension or that the state pension is not granted. In case of removal of the official from service due to his own fault the state pension is not revoked, only the following condition is established: the pension is granted upon reaching a corresponding age, as the legislature did not want to leave officials and servicemen who served for quite a long time and whose offences were not gross (when the offence does not incur criminal liability) without additional pensionary maintenance, therefore, it related the conditions for granting state pensions with the age when the persons are recognised to be incapable for work and when they need the support from the state most. If one did not take account of the circumstances of removal of the official from service, the situation of these persons would be the same as the situation of officials and servicemen who observe laws.

In the opinion of V. Blinkevičiūtė, the pensions are lawfully not paid for the officials who receive full support from the state, as the state pensions are paid from the funds of the state budget and these pensions should be considered an additional social guarantee. Those who have been convicted to deprivation of freedom are also supported from the same budget because their food, clothing and bed are financed from the funds of the state budget.

V. Blinkevičiūtė also states that the officials who worked in the customs system before the entry into force (on 19 January 2007) of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (No. X-1027), which was adopted by the Seimas on 18 January 2007, did not have the right to the state pension, therefore, the officials who left service before the entry of this law into force are not granted this pension.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations from R. Čiupaila, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, and R. Kairelis, State Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania, were received.

V

At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Seimas members V. Blinkevičiūtė and A. Sysas, the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 22 December 1994, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions which, according to Paragraph 1 of Article 16 thereof, came into force on 1 January 1995.

On 13 December 1994, the Seimas adopted the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, State Security, National Defence, and the Prosecutor’s Office which came into force on 1 January 1995. This law established the persons who had the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen and it established the grounds and conditions for granting and paying this pension, and sizes thereof. When amending and/or supplementing this law, the circle of officials who had the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen was steadily expanded, and in some cases, the title of the law was also amended: inter alia, by Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, State Security, National Defence, and the Prosecutor’s Office which was adopted by the Seimas on 2 May 2000 and which came into force on 1 June 2000, the law was titled as the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, and the Prosecutor’s Office, and the circle of persons who had the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen was expanded by including the officials of the Special Investigation Service; by Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, State Security, National Defence, and the Prosecutor’s Office, which was adopted by the Seimas on 13 July 2000 and which came into force on 1 September 2000, the said law was named as the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter, and the circle of persons who had the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen was expanded by including the officials of the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to it.

2. Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter, which was adopted by the Seimas on 19 May 2005 and which came into force on 1 July 2005, amended the Law on Pensions and set it forth in its new wording.

Article 1 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, State Security, National Defence, and the Prosecutor’s Office which was adopted by the Seimas on 18 January 2007 and came into force on 19 January 2007 titled the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005 with subsequent amendments and supplements) as the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen.

Under this law, in addition to officials of the Ministry of the Interior, the police, the State Border Security Service and other institutions of the Interior, officers of service units, servicemen and non-commissioned officers of reenlistee service of the Interior, officials of the Special Investigation Service, servicemen of professional military service, officials of the system of the State Security Department, officials of the prosecutor’s office, officials of the Department of Prisons and of the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter, also the officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, acquired the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen.

3. Upon their retirement, officials and servicemen specified in the Law on Pensions and the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen are granted the state pension of officials and servicemen if they meet the following conditions established in these laws: the person has either served a certain number of years in the services specified in the law, or has served in those services for a certain number of years and reached the age of the old age pension, or the person is recognised to be a person with incapacity for work for reasons related to the service, or has been released from service because of health after having served for a certain number of years, etc.

Officials and servicemen who acquire the right to the state pension of officials and servicemen, do not lose the right to other pensions if the laws do not provide otherwise. Under the legal regulation which is effective at present, the said officials and servicemen receive also the pension of social insurance when they meet the conditions for receiving this pension. Granting and payment of the state pension of officials and servicemen are not linked with any other special contributions.

4. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views and the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law (petition No. 1B-8/2006).

The petitioner did not specify the wording of Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter whose compliance with the Constitution it impugns, however, it is obvious from the arguments of the petition and the material of the case that the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of this law with the Constitution.

5. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wordings of 13 December 1994 and 19 May 2005) is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 29 thereof whereby the rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principle of a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, is consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution (petition No. 1B-78/2006).

In this petition, the petitioner specified of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, State Security, National Defence and the Prosecutor’s Office with its wording of 13 December 1994 and the Law on Pensions with its wording of 19 May 2005, however, it is obvious from the arguments of the petition that the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of only Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) with the Constitution.

6. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter is not in conflict with the provisions of Article 23 of the Constitution whereby property shall be inviolable, that the rights of ownership shall be protected by law and that property may be taken over only for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for, the provisions of Article 52 thereof whereby the state shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law and with the principles of a just civil society and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution (petition No. 1B-29/2006).

Even though the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of Paragraph 5 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 21 December 2000) with the Constitution, it is obvious from the arguments presented by the petitioner that it also impugns the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005).

7. It needs to be noted that in his petitions Nos. 1B-29/2006 and 1B-78/2006, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the compliance of the impugned legal provisions, inter alia, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, is consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution. The Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law may not be construed as one entrenched only in the Preamble to the Constitution, nor identified only with the striving for an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law proclaimed in the Preamble of the Constitution; the investigation into the compliance of legal acts (parts thereof) with the striving for an open, just and harmonious civil society and a state under the rule of law proclaimed in the Preamble to the Constitution implies the investigation into their compliance with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

8. Therefore, it is obvious from the arguments of the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, that the petitioner requests an investigation into the following:

the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter and the compliance of Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the compliance of Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter and the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the compliance of Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

1. Article 52 of the Constitution provides: “The State shall guarantee to citizens the right to receive old age and disability pensions as well as social assistance in the event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, loss of the breadwinner, and in other cases provided for by law.”

2. In its jurisprudence the Constitutional Court has formulated a broad official constitutional doctrine of pensionary maintenance.

3. Under the Constitution, the grounds for pensionary maintenance, the persons who are granted and paid pensions, the conditions for granting and payment of pensions, as well as the sizes of the pensions are established by law only. The legislature, while adopting laws concerning pensionary maintenance, is bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, and 22 October 2007). The constitutional right of a person to receive a pension is one of the most important social rights. Certain requirements for the legislature stem from Article 52 of the Constitution (when it is construed also in the context of other provisions of the Constitution), and if such requirements are disregarded, this may determine that the corresponding legal regulation may be ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 October 2007).

3.1. The old age and disability pensions are the types of pensions that are expressis verbis specified in Article 52 of the Constitution. However, under the Constitution, it is permitted that also other pensions or social assistance, and not only those expressis verbis specified in Article 52 of the Constitution, may be established by means of a law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 April 2002, 25 November 2002, 4 July 2003, and 22 October 2007).

3.2. The Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions established the pensions (state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania of the first and second degree, state pensions of victims, state pensions of officials and servicemen, state pensions of scientists, state pensions of judges) which are not directly named in Article 52 of the Constitution. Some state pensions are granted and paid for particular merits to Lithuania (for example, state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania of the first and second degree), while granting and payment of other state pensions are linked to certain service (for example, service in the systems of the Interior, the prosecutor’s office, etc.) or to work (for example, scientific work), while other state pensions are of compensatory nature and are paid to persons, who are recognised to be victims (for example, to persons the who became invalids as a result of the aggression perpetrated on 11–13 January 1991 and subsequent events, participants of the opposition (resistance) to the Soviet occupations of 1940–1990, etc.). The legislature, while establishing which persons are granted and paid the state pension, the grounds and conditions for granting and payment of the state pension, as well as the amounts of this pension, is bound by the constitutional imperative of social harmony, the principles of justice, reasonableness and proportionality (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003 and 3 December 2003).

3.3. In the context of this constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the peculiarities of the constitutional institute of the state service determine, inter alia, that the legislature enjoys the constitutional powers to establish by law the pensions and/or types of social assistance granted solely to the state servants or individual groups of state servants, the grouping of which is objectively reasonable; the pensions for serving the State of Lithuania may be established by law as well (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 May 2004).

It needs to be emphasised that granting and payment of the state pension should not become a privilege as the Constitution does not protect and defend such rights acquired by a person that are privileges as to their content; the defence and protection of privileges would mean that one violates the constitutional principles of the equality of rights of persons and of justice, as well as the imperative of harmonious society which is consolidated in the Constitution, therefore, also the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 December 2004). If the legislature, while establishing, by means of a law, the grounds of such pensionary maintenance, the persons to whom such pensions are granted and paid, the grounds and conditions for granting and payment of these pensions, as well as the sizes of these pensions, disregarded the Constitution (for example, if he granted the state pensions to the persons who may not be granted such pensions, if he established groundlessly big or small sizes of such pensions or if he established groundless conditions of granting or payment of such pensions), such pensionary maintenance could not be protected under the Constitution. For example, while establishing the state pension of officials and servicemen for service, one may not establish any such legal regulation, according to which the person would be able to retire unreasonably early, or an unreasonably short time period of service or work required in order to receive such pension would be established, or the size of the remuneration of the official or serviceman would not be taken into consideration while establishing the size of the granted pension, or the principles of justice, reasonableness and proportionality would be violated in some other way; if one fails to heed the peculiarities of service of officials and servicemen, and particular type of duties and other important circumstances, the granting and payment of such pension would become a privilege, thus, such pensionary maintenance could not be guaranteed according to the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 13 December 2003, and 22 October 2007).

3.4. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the provision “the state shall guarantee” of Article 52 of the Constitution means, inter alia, that, upon establishing by law certain pensionary maintenance, the state is obligated to guarantee it to the indicated persons on such grounds and by such amounts which have been established by law, while the persons who meet the conditions provided by law have the right to require that the state grant and pay this pension to them. Thus, the said provision of Article 52 of the Constitution implies the duty of the legislature, when it establishes a certain pension by law, to consolidate the legal regulation which would ensure the payment of this pension to persons who meet the conditions established by law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 April 2002, 4 July 2003, 3 December 2004, and 13 December 2004).

While establishing the legal regulation according to which the persons who meet the conditions provided by law (retirement from the service, time of service, age, etc.) acquire the right to a certain pension for service established in the law, the state alongside accepts the duty to grant and pay this pension. The person who meets the conditions established by law has the right to demand that the state fulfil the obligation undertaken by law and pay the payments of the established amount (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, and 13 December 2004). It was held in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 10 February 2000 that if a law establishes another pension which is not directly provided by Article 52 of the Constitution, the said pension must be guaranteed, under the Constitution, to indicated persons on such bases and by such amounts that are established by law. However, it should also be emphasised that the legislature, while establishing such a pension, is bound by the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003).

Therefore, the state has the duty to fulfil those obligations of property nature which it has undertaken by law while establishing such regulation, according to which a person, who meets the conditions established by law, acquires the right to a certain pension (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 3 December 2003), inter alia, the right to the state pension of officials and servicemen (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003). Thus, a person, who meets these conditions, is entitled to demand that the state fulfil this obligation of property nature (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003).

3.5. After the types of pensions, the persons entitled to the pension, the bases of granting and payment of pensions, their amounts, and the conditions have been established by law, the duty arises for the state to follow the constitutional principles of protection of legitimate expectations and legal certainty in the area of pensionary maintenance relations (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003). When the pension established by means of a law, which is not in conflict with the Constitution, is granted and paid, this right and legitimate expectation acquired by the person should also be linked to the protection of the rights of ownership of this person (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, 13 December 2004, and 22 October 2007).

4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that Article 52 of the Constitution in which the basis for pensionary maintenance and social support are established should be construed inseparably from Article 23 of the Constitution in which the right of the person to ownership is defended.

Under Article 23 of the Constitution, the persons who have been granted and paid the state pensions of officials and servicemen have the right to demand that the payments be paid further in the amounts which were granted and paid earlier (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003 and 3 December 2003).

It needs to be noted that the constitutional protection of the rights of ownership, which arise from the Constitution and the laws that are not in conflict with the Constitution, means the protection of the right to demand the fulfilment of obligation of property nature to a person. In the latter case the right to demand for the payments of pensionary maintenance which are established by the Constitution or laws that are not in conflict with the latter, arises from Article 52 of the Constitution, while under Article 23 of the Constitution the proprietary aspects of this right are defended (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, 13 December 2004, and 22 October 2007). The said circumstance determines the specific character of the defence of this acquired right according to Article 23 of the Constitution. This specific character means, inter alia, that in case a question arises as to the defence of the acquired right under Article 23 of the Constitution, first of all it should be established whether the requirement to pay the pension is based on Article 52 of the Constitution and/or other norms of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003).

Alongside, it should be noted that there might occur such an extreme situation in the state (economic crisis, natural disaster etc.) when there is objective lack of funds for the payment of pensions. In such extraordinary cases the legal regulation of pensionary relations may be corrected also by reducing pensions to the extent that it is necessary to ensure vitally important interests of society and protect other constitutional values. The reduced pensions may only be paid on a temporary basis, i.e. only when there is an extraordinary situation in the state (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 April 2002, 25 November 2002, 4 July 2003, and 3 December 2003). It needs to be noted that even in such extraordinary cases it is not permitted that pensions be reduced in violation of the balance between the interests of the person and society; such reduction of pensions must be in line with the constitutional principle of proportionality (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003 and 3 December 2003).

5. It needs to be noted that state pensions differ in their nature and character from old age pensions of the state social insurance, as well as from other pensions of the state social insurance. The state pensions are granted to persons for their service or merits to the State of Lithuania, as well as the compensation to victims specified in the law, and are paid from the State Budget (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 3 December 2003, 4 July 2003, and 22 October 2007). The purpose of the state pension of officials and servicemen is, inter alia, to compensate for a difficult, responsible, often risky and dangerous service by a person for the state. Such peculiarities of the state pensions permit the legislature, taking account of all the significant circumstances and heeding the norms and principles of the Constitution, to establish the corresponding conditions for granting this pension. The receipt of these pensions is linked not to the social insurance contributions of pensions of the established size, but to the corresponding status of the person (service, merits or other circumstances upon which the granting of the state pension depends).

The Constitutional Court has held that the constitutional imperative of loyalty of the state service to the State of Lithuania raises special requirements (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 December 2004 and 13 August 2007). The status of officials and servicemen to whom the state pension of officials and servicemen is granted according to the Law on Pensions also determines certain obligations to the state which are bigger than those of other state servants and their more severe responsibility. The officials and servicemen must perform their service faultlessly and not abuse the empowerments established for them in laws, not discredit, by their behaviour, the name, honour and dignity of the official and serviceman when in and out of office.

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the peculiarities of the status of officials and servicemen and the pensions granted to them imply that the legislature may establish such legal regulation whereby granting the state pension of officials and servicemen for the officials and servicemen who were released from service because of the fact that they had violated the requirements which are raised for their service, is linked to additional conditions of granting and payment of the pension. The legislature, taking account of the particularity of the state service, may also stipulate that the officials who, inter alia, have grossly violated the Constitution or laws, have breached their oath or have committed an intentional crime should not be granted the state pension of officials and servicemen.

It is also permitted that, taking account of the Constitution, the cases when the granted state pension is no longer paid be established by law (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 October 2007). In the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that, while taking account of the Constitution, the legislature may also establish, by means of a law, the cases when the granted state pension of officials and servicemen is no longer paid.

This discretion of the legislature is not absolute, the legislature is bound by the imperatives which stem from the Constitution, inter alia, the constitutional imperative of social harmony, the principles of justice, reasonableness, proportionality and legal clarity which stem from it.

7. The Constitution shall be an integral act (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution). The norms and principles of the Constitution constitute a harmonious system, it is not permitted to construe any provision of the Constitution so that the content of any other constitutional provision might be distorted or denied, since, thus, the essence of the entire constitutional regulation would be distorted, the balance of values entrenched in the Constitution would be disturbed.

Therefore, the provisions of Article 52 of the Constitution should also be construed while taking account of other provisions of the Constitution, inter alia, the provisions of Article 29 of the Constitution, Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, and of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

8. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law means, inter alia, that that human rights and freedoms must be secured, that all institutions implementing state power as well as other state institutions must act on the grounds of law and in compliance with law, that the Constitution has the supreme legal force and that other legal acts must be in compliance with the Constitution.

8.1. Inseparable elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law are the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and legal security. These principles imply, inter alia, that the state must fulfil the undertaken obligations to the person. If the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and legal security of the person were not ensured, the confidence of the person in the state and law would not be ensured (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 February 2000, 12 July 2001, 25 November 2002, 24 January 2003, and 4 March 2003).

8.2. One of the essential elements of the constitutional principle of the state under the rule of law is the principle of legal security which means the duty of the state to ensure certainty and stability of legal regulation, to safeguard the rights of participants of legal relations, as well as to respect legitimate interests and legitimate expectations (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 12 July 2001, 5 November 2002, 4 March 2003, and 17 March 2003).

8.3. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that one of the elements of the principle of legitimate expectations is the protection of rights which are acquired under the Constitution as well as laws and other legal acts which are not in conflict with the Constitution. It needs to be noted that, according to the Constitution, only those expectations of the person in relationships with the state are protected and defended, which arise from the Constitution itself or from the laws and other legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution. Only these expectations of the person in relationships with the state are considered legitimate (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, and 13 December 2004). It also needs to be noted that the imperative of the balance between the constitutional values, the constitutional requirements of legal certainty and legal security, the protection of the acquired rights, which is consolidated in the Constitution, and the presumption of constitutionality and legitimacy of legal acts pre-determines, inter alia, the fact that the Constitution generally does not prevent from protecting and defending in certain special cases also such acquired rights of the person arising from the legal acts later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws), which, if not defended or protected, would result in greater harm to the person, other persons, society or the state, than the harm inflicted in case of the total non-defence or non-protection or a partial defence or protection of the said rights (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 December 2004).

The Constitutional Court has more than once also held that persons who have acquired certain rights according to the law, have the right to reasonably expect that these rights will be maintained and implemented for the established time period. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that a person who meets the conditions established by law acquires the right to a pension established by law. This person may reasonably expect that this right will be protected and defended by the state. It has already been mentioned that when the pension established by law which is not in conflict with the Constitution is granted and paid, this right and legitimate expectation acquired by the person should also be linked to the protection of the rights of ownership of this person (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 13 December 2004, and 22 October 2007).

8.4. It also needs to be noted that the constitutional protection of acquired rights and legitimate expectations does not mean that the system of pensionary maintenance established by law may not be reorganised. While reorganising this system, the Constitution must be observed in every case. The system of pensions may be reorganised only by law, only guaranteeing the old age and disability pensions provided for by the Constitution, as well as observing undertaken obligations by the state, which are not in conflict with Constitution, to pay corresponding payments to persons who meet the requirements established by law. If, while reorganising the pensionary system, the pensions established by means of laws which are not directly specified in Article 52 of the Constitution were eliminated, or the legal regulation of these pensions were amended in essence, the legislature would be obligated to establish a fair mechanism for compensation of the existing losses to the persons who had been granted and paid such pensions. It also needs to be noted that the legislature, while reorganising the system of pensions so that the bases for pensionary maintenance, persons to whom the pension is granted and paid, the conditions of granting and payment of pensions, the amounts of pensionary maintenance are changed, must provide for a sufficient transitional time period during which the persons who have a corresponding job or perform corresponding service which entitles them to a respective pension under the previous regulation, would be able to prepare for these changes (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003).

8.5. One of the essential elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law which is consolidated in the Constitution is legal certainty and legal clarity. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law implies various requirements for the legislature, other law-making subjects, inter alia, the fact that the requirements established in legal acts must be based on the provisions of general type (legal norms and principles) which can be applied in regard to all the specified subjects of respective legal relations; the differentiated legal regulation must be based only on objective differences of the situation of subjects of public relations regulated by respective legal acts; the legal regulation established in laws and other legal acts must be clear, easy to understand, consistent, formulas in the legal acts must be precise, consistency and internal harmony of the legal system must be ensured, the legal acts may not contain any provisions, which at the same time regulate the same public relations in a different manner; when setting legal limitations, heed must be paid to the requirement of reasonableness and the principle of proportionality, according to which the established legal measures have to be necessary in a democratic society and suitable for achieving legitimate and universally important objectives (there must be a balance between the objectives and the measures), they may not restrict the rights of the person more than it is necessary in order to achieve the said objectives; when legally regulating public relations it is compulsory to pay heed to the requirements of natural justice comprising, inter alia, the necessity to ensure the equality of persons before the law, the court and state institutions and officials, etc.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the legislature, when regulating the relations linked to the granting of the state pension of officials and servicemen, must use such formulas which would be consistent, clear and understandable to the participants of legal relations. Otherwise, preconditions would be created for an improper implementation of the right of officials and servicemen to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen.

8.6. It also needs to be noted that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is inseparable from the principle of justice, and vice versa. The Constitutional Court has held in its rulings more than once that justice is one of the basic objectives of law as a means of regulation of social relations. It is one of basic moral values and one of basic foundations of a state under the rule of law. It may be implemented by ensuring certain equilibrium of interests, by escaping fortuity and arbitrariness, instability of social life and conflict of interests (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 3 December 2003).

9. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the legislature, while establishing which persons are granted and paid the state pension, the grounds and conditions for granting and payment of the state pension, as well as the amounts of this pension, must follow the constitutional principle of equality of all persons (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 26 September 2007).

10. Article 29 of the Constitution provides:

All persons shall be equal before the law, the court, and other State institutions and officials.

The rights of the human being may not be restricted, nor may he be granted any privileges on the ground of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views.”

The norms of Article 29 of the Constitution consolidate the principle of equality of all persons. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution consolidates a formal equality of all persons, while Paragraph 2 of this article consolidates the principle of non-discrimination and not granting privileges to persons. The constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law requires that in law the main rights and duties be established equally to all (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 18 April 1994, 30 December 2000, and 23 September 2008).

The Constitutional Court has held that this principle must be followed in the course of enactment of laws and their application. The constitutional principle of the equality of all persons means an innate human right to be treated equally with the others (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 2 April 2001, 23 April 2002, 4 July 2003, and 3 December 2003) and includes the obligation to legally assess the homogeneous facts in the same manner and prohibits any arbitrary assessment of essentially the same facts in a different manner; on the other hand, this principle does not deny the possibility of providing in a law for different legal regulation in respect to certain categories of persons who are in different situations (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 April 2002, 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, and 26 September 2007). The variety of social life may determine the manner and content of legal regulation (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003). However, the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when a certain group of people to which a certain legal norm is established, if compared to other addressees of the same legal norm, were treated differently, even though there are not any differences in their character and extent between these groups that such an uneven treatment would be objectively justified (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 November 1996, 30 December 2003, 13 December 2004, and 26 September 2007).

While assessing whether an established different legal regulation is a grounded one, particular legal circumstances must be taken into account. First of all, differences of legal situation of subjects and objects to which different legal regulation is applied must be considered (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 28 February 1996, 13 November 1997, and 4 July 2003). The compliance of a concrete legal norm with Article 29 of the Constitution may be assessed only by taking into account all significant circumstances (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that, while establishing the conditions for granting and payment of the state pension of officials and servicemen and other conditions, the legislature must heed the requirement which stems from Article 29 of the Constitution that officials and servicemen, whose legal situation is the same, when there are no differences of such nature and such extent among them that different treatment of such officials and servicemen would be objectively justified, would be treated equally. Different conditions for granting the state pension of officials and servicemen may be established taking account of the differences of the legal situations and peculiarities of the legal situation of officials and servicemen, inter alia, different grounds of their release from service.

11. Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution provides: “Each human being may freely choose a job or business, and shall have the right to have proper, safe and healthy conditions at work, to receive fair pay for work and social security in the event of unemployment.”

Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution, inter alia, consolidates the right of each human being to social security in the event of unemployment. If due to certain reasons a person cannot take care of his welfare, the duty arises for the state to establish such legal regulation, under which social support would be ensured for the person in the event of unemployment; the legislature may choose and consolidate in laws the model of provision of the said support, inter alia, various forms thereof, however, one may not establish any such legal regulation which would create preconditions for such a situation to emerge, where a person, who has lost his job due to certain reasons, would not receive the corresponding social support. In this context, it needs to be noted that the duty also arises for the legislature to regulate the legal relations of social support in such way that preconditions would be created for each member of society to take care of his own welfare by himself, and not only to rely on the state social security.

III

On the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter and Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. Article 3 (wording of 13 July 2000) of the Law on Pensions prescribed:

The state pension of officials and servicemen shall be granted and paid to officials and servicemen who left service, and who are specified in Article 1 of this law:

(1) who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter for 20 years or more;

(2) who have served in the prosecutor’s office for 20 years and more and who have reached the age of the old age pension which is established by the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions;

(3) who have been recognised to be persons with incapacity for work for reasons related to the service;

(4) who have been released from service due to their health, when there is a conclusion from the departmental central medicine expertise commission, or who were recognised to be persons with incapacity for work for reasons which are not linked to service and who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter for 5 years and more;

(5) who have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension) established by means of laws or statutes and who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter for 5 years and more.

Officials and servicemen who have been removed from the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence and the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter due to their own fault (if that fault does not incur criminal liability) shall be granted the state pension only in the case where they have served for 20 years or more and they have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension) established by law.”

2. The conditions which must be met by the officials and servicemen in order to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen are established in Article 3 (wording of 13 July 2000) of the Law on Pensions. Under Paragraph 1 of this article, the state pension of officials and servicemen is granted only to those officials and servicemen who left service (save those who, under Paragraph 2 of this article, were removed from service due to their own fault (if this fault does not incur criminal liability)), if they, before leaving service, had served for a corresponding number of years or who had served for the corresponding number of years and had reached the age of the old age pension established by law (applied only to officials who have served in the prosecutor’s office) or recognised to be persons with incapacity for work for reasons related to the service, etc.

The conditions for granting the state pension of officials and servicemen which are established in Paragraph 2 of this article are applied to those officials and servicemen who were removed from service due to their own fault if this fault does not incur criminal liability.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that while comparing the conditions for granting the state pension to officials who served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments which are subordinate to the latter and who were removed from service due to their own fault, if this fault does not incur criminal liability, with the conditions for granting the state pensions of officials and servicemen to the said officials who left service, it is obvious that an additional condition in order to receive the pension—the requirement that these officials must reach the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension) established by law—is established for the officials and servicemen who were removed from service due to their own fault, if this fault does not incur criminal liability.

3. In this context it needs to be noted that an official or serviceman, who has served for 20 years or more and who was removed from service due to his own fault if this fault does not incur criminal liability, however, who has not reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when he has reached the age of the old age pension) established by law, acquires the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen upon reaching the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when he has reached the age of the old age pension) established by law.

4. It also needs to be noted that while construing Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions which is impugned by the petitioner in a systemic manner together with Paragraph 3 (wording of 18 May 2004) of Article 13 of this law, it is obvious that officials and servicemen who were removed from service due to the fact that they were convicted of commission of an intentional crime shall not be granted the state pension of officials and servicemen in general.

5. Having compared the legal regulation established in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 3 (wording of 13 July 2000) of the Law on Pensions, it is obvious that the conditions for granting the state pensions of officials and servicemen are differentiated according to the grounds of discontinuation of service of officials and servicemen.

6. It has been mentioned that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The petitioner grounds the incompliance of the impugned provisions with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution on the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court whereby a person, who created certain values by his work, including the funds of social insurance, acquires the right to pension as a form of property.

While deciding whether the provision which is impugned by the petitioner is not in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as mentioned in this ruling:

state pensions differ in their nature and character from old age pensions of the state social insurance, as well as from other pensions of the state social insurance, and they are paid from the state budget and not from the fund of social insurance;

while establishing other pensions that are not expressis verbis specified in Article 52 of the Constitution, the legislature may also establish certain conditions in order to receive these pensions;

under Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions, the relations linked to non-payment of the granted and paid state pension are not regulated; on the contrary, this paragraph regulates the relations when these pensions are granted and paid to officials and servicemen who have been removed from service due to their own fault, if that fault does not incur criminal liability.

Therefore, by the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions, one does not violate the imperatives which stem from Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution.

7. It has also been mentioned that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, substantiates the incompliance of the impugned provision with Article 29 of the Constitution by the fact that the legal regulation which consolidates the condition that a person, who seeks to acquire the right to the state pension, must have reached a certain age is discriminative with regard to younger people.

While deciding whether the provision impugned by the petitioner is not in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as held in this ruling, taking account of the peculiarities of the state service and of granting the state pension, the legislature may establish such legal regulation whereby granting the state pension for officials and servicemen who were released from service because of the fact that they had violated the requirements raised for their service is related to additional conditions for granting and payment of the pension.

It needs to be noted that this additional condition is applied to all those, who were removed from service due to their own fault, if this fault does not incur criminal liability. Therefore, in this respect, these persons are treated equally.

Thus, by the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions, one does not deviate from the imperatives which are consolidated in Article 29 of the Constitution.

8. It has also been mentioned that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, substantiates the incompliance of the impugned provision with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law by the fact that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions means a repeated punishment of officials and servicemen who were removed from service due to their own fault, if this fault does not incur criminal liability.

It needs to be noted that, as mentioned in this ruling of Constitutional Court, under the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions, the officials and servicemen who were removed from service due to their own fault, if this fault does not incur criminal liability, do not lose the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen. The state pension of officials and servicemen is granted to them either at the time of their removal from service, if they have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension) established by law or later, upon reaching the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension). Therefore, by such legal regulation the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is not violated.

9. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions was not in conflict with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

10. As mentioned before, the petitioner requests an investigation into not only the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions, but also the compliance of Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) with the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

11. Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) prescribed: “Officials and servicemen who have been removed from the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence and the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons and the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter due to their own fault (if that fault does not incur criminal liability) shall be granted the state pension only in the case where they have served for 20 years or more and they have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension).”

It needs to be noted that the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) is analogous to the legal regulation which was contained in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions.

12. Having held in this ruling that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 July 2000) of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions was not in conflict with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, while invoking the same arguments, it should be held that Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) was not in conflict with Articles 23, 29 and 52 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

IV

On the compliance of Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter and Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions prescribed: “State pensions of officials and servicemen shall not be paid to pensioners who are fully supported by the State.”

2. The provision which is impugned by the petitioner that the granted state pension of officials and servicemen shall not be paid to pensioners who are fully supported by the state also means that when a person starts being fully supported by the state, the payment of the granted state pension of officials and servicemen which has been paid until then is terminated, or one does not start to pay the granted state pension of officials and servicemen, if it was granted, but not started to be paid yet.

The legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions also implies that paying the state pensions of officials and servicemen, which was terminated for the persons who receive full support from the state, has to be renewed to these persons upon losing such support.

3. While deciding whether the provision of Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions is not in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as mentioned in this ruling of Constitutional Court:

while establishing such legal regulation according to which the persons who meet the conditions provided by law (retirement from service, time of service, age, etc.) acquire the right to a certain pension for service established in the law, the state alongside accepts the duty to grant and pay this pension. The person who meets the conditions established by law has the right to demand that the state fulfil the obligation undertaken by law and pay the payments of the established amount;

the duty arises for the state to fulfil those obligations of property nature which it has undertaken by law, therefore, when the pension established in the law which is not in conflict with the Constitution is granted and paid, it must be continued to be paid, while this right and legitimate expectation acquired by the person should also be linked to the protection of the rights of ownership of this person;

the right to require to pay the payments of pensionary maintenance which are established under the Constitution and laws which are not in conflict with it stems from Article 52 of the Constitution, while under Article 23 of the Constitution, the aspects of this right are defended;

cases, when the granted state pension of officials and servicemen is no longer paid may be established by the legislature by means of a law only following the Constitution.

4. It has been mentioned that non-payment of the state pension of officials and servicemen is conditioned by the fact that a corresponding person is fully supported by the state. Therefore, full support of the state is an essential condition, upon which it depends whether the granted state pension of officials and servicemen will be paid or not.

The legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions and in other articles of this law does not reveal in what meaning the formulation “full support of the state” is used. The meaning of the formulation “full support of the state” which is used in this law and which is the ground not to pay the state pension of officials and servicemen is not clear upon an assessment of other laws in which similar formulations are used as well.

Thus, in this provision the content of the impugned ground—full support of the state—for non-payment of pension is not revealed enough.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that in itself the formulation “full support of the state” which is used in the meaning of the legal regulation consolidated in this law, especially when its content is unclear, may not be the ground for suspension of the granted and paid state pension of officials and servicemen, i.e. the ground, upon existence of which a person loses the right to the corresponding monetary payment which, under the Constitution, inter alia, Article 52 thereof, must be protected and defended.

It needs to be held that the formulation “full support of the state” used in the impugned provision of Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions should be regarded as undefined and unclear.

5. In this ruling of Constitutional Court it has been mentioned that the Constitutional Court has held that one of the essential elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law which is consolidated in the Constitution is legal certainty and legal clarity. The imperative of legal certainty and legal clarity implies certain obligatory requirements for the legal regulation: it must be clear and harmonious, legal norms must be formulated precisely, they may not contain ambiguities (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 May 2003 and 26 January 2004). In this constitutional justice case it needs to be noted that the notions (formulations) which are linked to the implementation of the constitutional human rights and their restriction must be clear, defined and understandable.

In this ruling of Constitutional Court, it has also been mentioned that the legislature may establish certain cases when the granted pension is not paid, however, while establishing such cases, it must heed the Constitution, inter alia, the requirement of proportionality which stems from the Constitution. In this constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that if the legislature does not properly reveal the content of the impugned provision, it is impossible to assess whether the requirement of proportionality was followed and whether there was a violation of the right of a person and his legitimate expectation (which should be related to the protection of the rights of ownership of this person) to receive the granted and paid state pension of officials and servicemen while limiting payment of the granted state pension of officials and servicemen to the pensioners who receive full support of the state, i.e. whether the ground—“full support of the state”—of non-payment of the state pension of officials and servicemen which is consolidated in the impugned Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions was established while heeding the Constitution.

6. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

7. Having held that Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in this case the Constitutional Court will not investigate whether the impugned Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions was not in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution.

8. As mentioned before, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation not only into the compliance of Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions, but also into the compliance of Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

9. Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) established the following: “State pensions of officials and servicemen shall not be paid to pensioners who are fully supported by the State.”

It needs to be noted that the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) is analogous to the legal regulation which was established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions.

10. Having held in this ruling that Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, while invoking the same arguments, it should also be held that Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

11. In this ruling it has been mentioned that, on 18 January 2007, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter, whereby the title of the Law on Pensions was amended and it was titled as the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen.

This law did not amend Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005).

Having held in this ruling that Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005) was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, following the same arguments it needs to be held that also Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

V

On the compliance of Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen provides: “Customs officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, shall be granted the pensions of officials and servicemen only if they have acquired the right to this pension after coming into force of the Law (No. X-1027) on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter.”

2. It has been mentioned that on 18 January 2007, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter which came into force on 19 January 2007. By this law, the Law on Pensions was supplemented, inter alia, by the provision whereby the customs officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system, or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, acquired the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen (Article 1).

The conditions for granting the state pensions of officials and servicemen were established, inter alia, in Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on Pensions of Officials and Servicemen:

The state pension of officials and servicemen shall be granted and paid to officials and servicemen who left service, who are specified in Article 1 of this law:

(1) who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons, the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter and the customs system (who worked in customs mobile groups or customs posts or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation) for 20 years or more;

(2) who have served in the prosecutor’s office for 20 years and more and who have reached the age of the old age pension which is established by the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions;

(3) who have been recognised to be persons with incapacity for work or a partial capacity for work for reasons related to the service;

(4) who have been released from service due to their health, when there is a conclusion from the departmental central medicine expertise commission, or who were recognised to be persons with incapacity for work or a partial capacity for work for reasons which are not linked to service and who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons, the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter and the customs system (who worked in customs mobile groups or customs posts or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation) for 5 years and more;

(5) who have reached the age of retirement to the reserve (if such age has not been established—when they have reached the age of the old age pension) established by means of laws or statutes and who have served in the systems of the Interior, state security, national defence, the prosecutor’s office, the Special Investigation Service, the Department of Prisons, the establishments and state enterprises which are subordinate to the latter and the customs system (who worked in customs mobile groups or customs posts or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation) for 5 years and more.”

While construing Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 3 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen together with Paragraph 12 of Article 16 of this law, it needs to be noted that only those customs officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation and who meet the conditions established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 3 of this law, as well as who left service after coming into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter, i.e. after 19 January 2007, acquired the right to the state pension of officials and servicemen. Those former customs officials who worked in customs mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, who left service prior to 19 January 2007, did not acquire this right even though they meet the conditions established in Article 3 (wording of 18 January 2007) of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen.

3. It has been mentioned that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, substantiates the incompliance of the impugned provision with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law by the fact that the officials who worked in the customs system are differentiated while taking account of the date of coming into force of the law, meanwhile, according to the petitioner, this is not a difference of such nature and of such extent that the unequal treatment of the customs officials would be reasonably justified.

4. In this ruling of Constitutional Court, it has been held that:

the legislature may also establish other pensions or social assistance than those expressis verbis specified in Article 52 of the Constitution, inter alia, state pensions;

state pensions differ in their nature and character from old age pensions of the state social insurance, and they are paid from the state budget;

the peculiarities of the state pensions permit the legislature, while taking account of all the significant circumstances and heeding the norms and principles of the Constitution, to establish the corresponding conditions for granting this pension.

5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the discretion of the legislature, while establishing the granting of the state pensions, is broader than while regulating other pensions, inter alia, old age pensions or disability pensions. The conditions for granting state pensions may be very different and depend on the peculiarities of the state service, economic resources of the state, etc. In this context, it also needs to be noted that the legislature, while enjoying his discretion, was allowed to choose whether or not to stipulate that the state pension of officials and servicemen would be granted to the officials who held a certain office in the customs systems, as well as under what conditions this pension is granted.

6. In this ruling of Constitutional Court, it has also been mentioned that one of the elements of the principle of legitimate expectations is the protection of rights which are acquired under the Constitution as well as laws and other legal acts which are not in conflict with the Constitution. When the pension established by means of a law, which is not in conflict with the Constitution, is granted and paid, the said pension must be continued to be paid, while this right and legitimate expectation acquired by the person should also be linked to the protection of the rights of ownership of this person.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the customs officials who worked in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation, who left service prior to the entry into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter, under the then valid legal regulation could not have any legitimate expectations to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen, as the right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen was acquired only by those officials who held certain positions in the customs system on the day of coming into force of the law, i.e. 19 January 2007 and/or later.

The status of the customs officials who work in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who perform operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation differs from the status of the former officials who left service prior to the entry into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter in that the officials who worked before the entry into force of the said law did not have legitimate expectations to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen.

7. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, substantiates the incompliance of Paragraph 12 (wording of 19 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen by the fact, that under the Constitution, one must guarantee the human rights and freedoms, therefore, also the acquired right to receive the state pension of officials and servicemen.

In this context, it needs to be noted that, as mentioned before, the legislature, while enjoying broad discretion, had the right to stipulate that the state pension of officials and servicemen would be granted to the officials who still hold certain positions in the customs systems after the entry into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter.

It also needs to be noted that, while establishing the granting of the state pensions of officials and servicemen, the legislature may establish (although he is under no obligation to do that) that these pensions will be granted also to the persons who used to work in the corresponding service previously, but who no longer work there after the entry into force of the law whereby the state pension of officials and servicemen is established for a certain category of officials and servicemen.

8. In this context it needs to be noted that it is obvious from the travaux préparatoires of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter that one of the purposes of this law was to restructure the system of granting the state pensions of officials and servicemen so that service in the customs would become more attractive and that specialists of high qualification would be motivated to continue in office.

In the context of this constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the legislature, while seeking to restructure the system of state pensions of officials and servicemen and to motivate the specialists of high qualification in the customs system to continue in office, sought to ensure the proper functioning of the customs system. For this purpose, such legal regulation was established whereby the state pension of officials and servicemen is granted to officials who were still working in mobile groups or customs posts in the customs system or who performed operational activity and/or pre-trial investigation after coming into force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Title and Articles 1, 3, 6, 12 and 16 of the Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter.

9. Taking account of the intentions of the legislature to motivate specialists of high qualification to continue in office in the customs system, it needs to be held that the amendments of the Law on Pensions, which establish the right to receive the state pension for officials and servicemen who held certain positions in the customs system, were designed for the officials who held certain positions in the customs system on the day of coming into force of the Law on Pensions and/or later, and in this aspect, such officials differ from the persons who used to work in the customs system before and who left service prior to the entry of the said amendments of the Law on Pensions into force.

10. Therefore, the legal regulation established in Paragraph 12 of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen does not deviate from the principle of the equality of rights of persons which is consolidated in Article 29 of the Constitution and does not violate the requirements which stem from Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 52 thereof and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

11. It has been mentioned that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, impugns the compliance of Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen with the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution.

In this context, it needs to be noted that the relations of social security which occur in the event of unemployment are not regulated in Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen. The norm which is impugned by the petitioner regulates the relations of different nature than those consolidated in the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution, therefore, there is no ground to state that Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is in conflict with the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution.

12. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) of Article 16 of the Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, Article 29 thereof, the provision “each human being may <...> receive <...> social security in the event of unemployment” of Paragraph 1 of Article 48 thereof, Article 52 thereof, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

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

ruling:

1. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 12 July 2000) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 64-1923) of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter was not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2005, No. 71-2558) was not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

3. To recognise that Paragraph 5 (wording of 21 December 2000) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 111-3579) of Article 11 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4. To recognise that Paragraph 3 of Article 11 of Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, State Security, National Defence, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Prisons and of the Establishments and State Enterprises Which are Subordinate to the Latter (wording of 19 May 2005) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2005, No. 71-2558) was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2005, No. 71-2558; 2007, No. 8-314) of Article 11 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

6. To recognise that Paragraph 12 (wording of 18 January 2007) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 8-314) of Article 16 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions of Officials and Servicemen is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis