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On limiting the liability of servicemen and officials for administrative violations of law

Case No. 14/2008

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 15 (WORDING OF 16 JANUARY 2007) OF THE CODE OF ADMINISTRATIVE VIOLATIONS OF LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

28 May 2010

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,

with the secretary of the hearing—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

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 19 May 2010 heard constitutional justice case No. 14/2008 subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it provides that for administrative violations of law police officials shall be liable under the disciplinary statute and shall be held administratively liable under general procedure only for violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, for those of hunting, fishing, other environmental protection norms as well as norms of health protection of residents, customs rules, requirements of legal metrology, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, was investigating a case of an administrative violation of law. By its ruling, the court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law (hereinafter referred to as the CAVL) to the extent that it provides that for administrative violations of law police officials shall be liable under the disciplinary statute and shall be held administratively liable under general procedure only for violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, for those of hunting, fishing, other environmental protection norms as well as norms of health protection of residents, customs rules, requirements of legal metrology, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality.

II

The petition of the petitioner is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL establishes limited immunity of servicemen of actual military service, officials of the police and services of the interior as well as of the persons equated to them from administrative liability, i.e. such persons may be held administratively liable only for the administrative violations of law which are in the list established in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL. The petitioner has doubts whether the establishment of the said limitation upon administrative liability is in compliance with the Constitution.

2. The striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law, which is established in the Preamble to the Constitution, implies that it is obligatory to try to secure the safety of every individual and the whole society from criminal attempts against them (Constitutional Court ruling of 8 May 2000). According to the petitioner, this constitutional doctrine is to be applied not only to crimes, but to administrative violations of law as well. Thus, the state, as the organisation of the entire society, is under obligation to resort to various lawful and efficient measures, which prevent administrative violations of law and which limit and decrease their spread. One of the most efficient measures securing the attainment of these objectives is inevitability of liability and adequacy of the imposed punishment to the committed violation. Therefore, the establishment of immunity from administrative liability must be entrenched only as a clearly regulated exception to the general rule that each person must be held liable for a violation of law committed by him.

3. In the constitutional jurisprudence it is recognised that, in general, immunity is additional guarantees of protection of the person which are necessary and indispensable for proper performance of the duties of the said person (Constitutional Court ruling of 8 May 2000). According to the petitioner, immunity cannot become a privilege awarded by means of a law to a corresponding person (their group) and creating preconditions for appearance of impunity of a corresponding group of persons or for application of a type of legal liability which is significantly milder and inadequate. The immunity and the extent thereof established by a law should be constitutionally reasoned, proportionate to the objectives sought by the establishment of the immunity, i.e. the immunity should be only of the extent which, while taking account of the status of the corresponding person, his role in the life of the state, the discharged functions, the office held, and other important circumstances, is necessary in order to secure the proper performance of his duties, by maintaining a just balance among various constitutional values—inevitability of liability, adequacy of punishment and the necessity to secure proper performance of the duties by the said person. Otherwise, according to the petitioner, the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality would be disregarded.

4. While considering whether the immunity of corresponding officials, which is entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, from administrative liability is constitutionally reasoned, it is pointed out that by its ruling of 17 December 2007 the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 4 of Article 47 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Courts to the extent that it was established that a judge may not be held administratively liable was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 114 of the Constitution, since the immunity from administrative liability of a judge is not established in the Constitution, except the cases when administrative liability is related with the restriction of the freedom of a judge. It is also noted that Members of the Seimas, the Prime Minister, Ministers do not enjoy immunity from administrative liability, either, save the cases when this is related with restriction of their freedom. While taking account of this, the petitioner doubts whether the duties discharged by police officials are so much more important, if compared with the functions performed by the aforesaid persons, so that application of administrative liability to police officials would be justified only in certain cases. According to the petitioner, the status of police officials is not an exceptional one, administrative liability should be applied to them as to ordinary citizens. It is not clear to the petitioner also upon what objective or other rational arguments Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL singles out a group of administrative violations for which the corresponding persons are held liable by common grounds, whereas for other administrative violations of law they are held liable under disciplinary statutes. According to the petitioner, such differentiated legal regulation is not based upon objective differences of the situation of subjects of social relations regulated by it. Therefore, the petitioner doubts whether it is allowed to establish a limitation upon administrative liability in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, whether the principle of equality of rights entrenched in Article 29 of the Constitution, which prohibits to grant privileges not grounded upon the status of a person or other important circumstances, is not thus denied, and whether this is not in conflict with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, Olga Kisel, chief specialist of the Criminal and Administrative Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, wherein the following arguments are presented.

1. The norms-principles entrenched in Article 29 of the Constitution prohibit only discrimination, i.e. they prohibit “volitional restriction of the rights of a person or exemption from duties, which are necessary by the law (privilege)” under the grounds set forth in this article. It is important to distinguish between discrimination of rights and legitimate differentiation, where the essence of these two concepts is different by the purposes and on the grounds of restriction or extension of rights. The norms-principles formulated in Article 29 of the Constitution are not “a strict dogma—it is a somewhat dominant tendency, a legal and methodological basis upon which all other laws concretising this norm are created”.

2. The state is granted a bigger freedom of actions to increase the extent of rights in order to secure proper discharge of duties and protection of the public interest. The functions (and character thereof) performed by statutory state servants may vary to a great extent. This also exerts influence on the variety of regulation of liability of the officials specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL for administrative violations of law. The extent of the rights and duties of statutory state servants depend upon the character of the functions performed by them, therefore, the legislator not only has an opportunity to differentiate, but also he must differentiate the extent of the rights and liability of some groups of state servants in order to secure proper discharge of duties by each state servant. While making use of the legislator’s discretion granted to it and taking account of the circumstances, the Seimas chooses a corresponding type of liability and establishes the procedure and conditions of the implementation thereof; while granting additional rights to certain groups of persons, the Seimas seeks to achieve the necessary balance between the actually discharged duties of the person and his subjective rights. This, according to the representative of the party concerned, should not be regarded as violation of Article 29 of the Constitution.

3. In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, a court, when it considers an issue of bringing a person to liability of a certain type (administrative or disciplinary) under Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, assesses the received data under procedure established by laws not only “formally” (whether the administrative violation of law is provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL) but also “substantially” (whether the administrative violation of law is of such nature that the official must be brought precisely to disciplinary, but not to administrative liability).

4. The representative of the party concerned does not agree with the opinion of the petitioner, that the duties discharged by judges are more significant than the duties of the officials listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL and that the aforesaid statutory state servants, while enjoying partial immunity from administrative liability, have the immunity guarantees of a greater extent than judges. According to her, the petitioner treats “the disputed legal situation” improperly because of the following reasons. First, granting of partial immunity to statutory state servants is to be related not with the relative significance of the discharged duties, but with the character of the essence of the special functions and duties performed to the society and the state. Thus, the legal status of the groups of state servants listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL is not more significant than the status of judges, Members of the Seimas, the Prime Minister, and Ministers; it is simply exceptional one and is necessary due to the specificity of the performed functions. Second, courts, which have an exceptional state and social importance, their activity and the status of judges are regulated in detail in Chapter IX “The Court” of the Constitution, whereas the status of statutory state servants and granting of partial immunity to them is not the matter of legal regulation by the Constitution.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from Assoc. Prof. A. Vaičaitis, who works at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law of the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL to the extent that it provides that for administrative violations of law police officials shall be liable under the disciplinary statute and shall be held administratively liable under general procedure only for violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, for those of hunting, fishing, other environmental protection norms as well as norms of health protection of residents, customs rules, requirements of legal metrology, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality.

In its acts the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is inseparable from the principle of justice, and vice versa (inter alia Constitutional Court rulings of 17 March 2003, 3 December 2003, 24 December 2008, and 8 October 2009). The Constitutional Court has also held more than once that the constitutional principle of proportionality is one of the elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (inter alia Constitutional Court rulings of 29 December 2004, 29 September 2005, and 10 April 2009). While taking account of this, the petition of the petitioner requesting investigation into whether disputed Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL to the corresponding extent is not in conflict with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice and proportionality is to be regarded as a petition requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL to the corresponding extent is not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. The CAVL was adopted on 13 December 1984 and came into force on 1 April 1985. Prior to the restoration of the independence of the State of Lithuania, the CAVL (wording of 13 December 1984) was amended and/or supplemented more than once.

3. After the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, the CAVL (wording of 13 December 1984 with subsequent amendments and supplements) remained in effect.

4. After the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania was adopted by the 25 October 1992 referendum, Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”—a constituent part of the Constitution—established that laws, other legal acts or parts thereof, which were in force on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this law, and shall remain in force until they are either declared null and void or brought in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

5. It needs to be noted that, on 23 December 1997, the Seimas adopted the Law on Temporary Prolongation of the Validity of Laws Adopted until 11 March 1990 Which are in Force in the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania, which came into force on 27 December 1997. This law approved the list of the laws which had been adopted until 11 March 1990 and whose validity was temporarily prolonged until 1 January 2000. This list also included the CAVL, adopted on 13 December 1984, with subsequent amendments and supplements

The Law on Temporary Prolongation of the Validity of Laws Adopted until 11 March 1990 Which are in Force in the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania (wording of 23 December 1997) has been amended more than once, inter alia by the laws on amending Article 1 of the Law on Temporary Prolongation of the Validity of Laws Adopted until 11 March 1990 Which are in Force in the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania which were adopted by the Seimas on 7 December 1999, 20 December 2000, 31 October 2002, 11 December 2003, 9 December 2004, 13 December 2005, 14 December 2006, 18 December 2007, 13 November 2008 and 10 December 2009. Under the Law on Temporary Prolongation of the Validity of Laws Adopted until 11 March 1990 Which are in Force in the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania (wording of 10 December 2009), the CAVL (wording of 13 December 1984 with subsequent amendments and supplements) shall be in force until 1 January 2011.

6. Article 15 “Liability for Administrative Violations of Law of Members of the Military and Other Persons to Whom Disciplinary Statutes are Applied” (wording of 13 December 1984) of the CAVL prescribed:

Members of the military and persons liable for call-up called up for training exercises, as well as privates and chiefs of bodies of the interior shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes. For violation of the road traffic rules, hunting, fishing rules and rules of preservation of fish stock, customs rules, and contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative responsibility under general grounds. Such persons may not be imposed a fine, correctional labour and administrative arrest.

Other persons, save those specified in the first paragraph of this Article, to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations are applied, shall be brought to disciplinary liability in cases directly provided for in these acts for administrative violations of law, whereas in other cases they shall be brought to administrative liability according to general grounds.

In the cases provided for in the first paragraph of this Article, the bodies (officials) that have been granted the right to impose administrative penalties, instead of imposing the penalties may refer the material regarding the violations of laws to respective bodies so that they would decide the question on bringing the culprits to disciplinary liability.”

It needs to be noted that by means of the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 13 December 1984) of the CAVL the limitations upon bringing the persons, to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations are applied, to administrative liability were entrenched: some persons—members of the military, persons liable for call-up called up for training exercises, as well as privates and chiefs of bodies of the interior—were liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes, whereas they were brought to administrative liability under general grounds, i.e. under the CAVL, only for the administrative violations of law listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 (wording of 13 December 1984) of the CAVL, however, they could not be imposed a fine, correctional labour and administrative arrest (Paragraph 1); other persons, to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations are applied, were brought to disciplinary liability for administrative violations of law directly provided for in these acts, whereas in other cases they were brought to administrative liability according to general grounds, i.e. under the CAVL (Paragraph 2).

7. Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 December 1984) of Article 15 of the CAVL has been amended and/or supplemented more than once:

on 4 December 1990, the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania”, which came into force on 14 December 1990, by Item 2 whereof it set forth Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 December 1984) of Article 15 of the CAVL as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service and reservists called up for training exercises, as well as officials of bodies of the interior shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes. For violations of the road traffic rules, hunting, fishing rules, other legal norms of environmental protection, customs rules, as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 26 May 1992, the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania”, which came into force on 15 June 1992, by Sub-item 2 of Item 9 whereof it set forth Paragraph 1 (wording of 4 December 1990) of Article 15 of the CAVL as follows:

Servicemen of actual national defence service and reservists called up for training exercises, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes. For violations of the road traffic rules, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 11 July 1996, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles of 15, 189, 2411, 2591 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law Supplementing It with Articles 1897, 2412, 2474, which came into force on 2 August 1996, by Article 1 whereof Paragraph 1 (wording of 26 May 1992) of Article 15 of the CAVL was amended—after the word “customs rules” the words “the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof” and this paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual national defence service and reservists called up for training exercises, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes. For violations of the road traffic rules, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof, as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 17 February 2000, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, which came into force on 15 March 2000, by Article 5 whereof, in Paragraph 1 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 15 of the CAVL, instead of the words “servicemen of actual national defence service and reservists called up for training exercises” the words “servicemen of actual military service” were entered, after the words “the road traffic rules” the words “the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety” were entered and this paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes. For violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof, as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 2 May 2000, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Supplementing Articles 15, 187, 2591 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, which came into force on 1 June 2000 (Article 4 of this law), by Article 1 whereof, in Paragraph 1 (wording of 17 February 2000) of Article 15 of the CAVL, after the word “statutes” the words “whereas officials of the Special Investigation Service shall be liable under the Statute of the Special Investigation Service” were entered and this paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes, whereas officials of the Special Investigation Service shall be liable under the Statute of the Special Investigation Service. For violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof, as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 15 June 2000, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 15, 123, 1732, 221, 222, 224, 2591 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, on Recognition of Article 179 as No Longer Valid and on Supplementing the Code with Article 17317, which came into force on 5 July 2000, by Article 1 whereof, in Paragraph 1 (wording of 2 May 2000) of Article 15 of the CAVL, after the words “rent and use thereof” the words “for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control” were entered and this paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes, whereas officials of the Special Investigation Service shall be liable under the Statute of the Special Investigation Service. For violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 5 July 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, by Article 1 whereof, which came into force on 1 August 2002 (Paragraph 1 of Article 52 of this law), the first sentence of Paragraph 1 (wording of 15 June 2000) of Article 15 of the CAVL was amended and the entire paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes, whereas officials of the Special Investigation Service shall be liable under the Statute of the Special Investigation Service, and officials of the State Security Department shall be liable under the Statute of the State Security Department. For violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds”;

on 16 January 2007, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending Articles 15, 441, 1897, 224, 24710, 2591, 320 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law and on Supplementing the Code with Articles 443, 444, 445, 21425, 21426, which came into force on 30 January 2007, by Article 2 whereof it amended Paragraph 1 (wording of 5 July 2002) of Article 15 of the CAVL: instead of the words “the rules of measurement means ascribed to the state metrological control, manufacture thereof, trade in such means, rent and use thereof” the words “requirements of legal metrology” were entered and this paragraph was set forth as follows:

Servicemen of actual military service, as well as officials of the police and of the and persons equated to them shall be liable for administrative violations of law under disciplinary statutes, whereas officials of the Special Investigation Service shall be liable under the Statute of the Special Investigation Service, and officials of the State Security Department shall be liable under the Statute of the State Security Department. For violations of the road traffic rules, the fire safety regulations and other normative acts regulating fire safety, hunting, fishing rules, other norms of environmental protection, as well as those of health protection of residents, customs rules, requirements of legal metrology, for violations of distribution and use of budgetary allocations, violations of the procedure for public procurement, for hindering the officials of the State Control or the persons authorised by them from discharging the duties commissioned to them and for failure to carry out decisions made by the officials of the State Control as well as for contraband the said persons shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds.”

8. While summing up the provisions of the laws by which Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL were amended and/or supplemented, it needs to be noted that by means of these provisions one amended the names of the offices, where the persons holding such offices could be brought to administrative liability only for the administrative violations of law listed in the said paragraph, or one expanded the list of such offices, or one expanded the list of the administrative violations of law for which the officials listed in this paragraph were to be brought to administrative liability under general grounds. It also needs to be noted that in the course of amending and/or supplementing Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, the said paragraph continued to contain the limitations upon bringing of persons, to whom disciplinary or service statutes are applied, to administrative liability: for administrative violations of law these persons were liable under disciplinary or service statutes, whereas they were brought to administrative liability under general grounds, i.e. under the CAVL, only for the administrative violations of law listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL.

It needs to be mentioned that the prohibition to impose a fine, correctional labour, and administrative arrest upon the persons listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL for the administrative violations of law specified in the same paragraph was abolished by the law adopted by the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas on 4 December 1990, and as from the entry of this law into force, i.e. as from 14 December 1990, for commission of the administrative violations of law listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL any administrative penalty provided for in the CAVL could be imposed upon the person to whom disciplinary or service statutes were applied.

9. Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 15 (wording of 13 December 1984) of the CAVL were not amended or supplemented till 15 July 2009.

It has been mentioned that Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 15 of the CAVL prescribed:

Other persons, save those specified in the first paragraph of this Article, to whom disciplinary regulations or special disciplinary rules are applied, shall be brought to disciplinary liability in cases directly provided for in these acts for administrative violations of law, whereas in other cases they shall be brought to administrative liability according to general grounds.

In the cases provided for in the first paragraph of this Article, the bodies (officials) that have been granted the right to impose administrative penalties, instead of imposing the penalties may refer the material regarding the violations of laws to respective bodies so that they would decide the question on bringing the culprits to disciplinary liability.”

10. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, had doubts regarding the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL with the Constitution when it was considering a case of an administrative violation of law, wherein the protocol of an administrative violation of law was drawn up with regard to a police official.

It needs to be noted that Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL established the limitations upon bringing not only police officials, but also servicemen of actual military service, officials of services of the interior and persons equated to them, officials of the Special Investigation Service and the State Security Department, to administrative liability. The limitations upon bringing of all the officials listed in Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL to administrative liability were the same in the aspect that for administrative violations of law these persons were liable under either disciplinary or service statutes, whereas they were brought to administrative liability under general grounds, i.e. under the CAVL, only for the administrative violations of law listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL.

Paragraph 2 of Article 15 of the CAVL also established limitations upon bringing certain persons—other persons, save those specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations are applied—to administrative liability: in cases directly provided for in disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations, for commission of administrative violations of law these persons were brought to disciplinary liability, whereas in other cases they were brought to administrative liability according to general grounds.

Paragraph 3 of Article 15 of the CAVL provided for the right of the bodies (officials) that impose administrative penalties, in the cases provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, not to impose and administrative penalty and to refer the material to respective institutions which have the right to decide on bringing the culprits to administrative liability.

Thus, the legal regulation established in Article 15 of the CAVL 15 was integral and all three paragraphs of this article were inseparable from one another. While taking account of this and regardless of the fact that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether only Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL is not in conflict with the Constitution only to certain extent, the Constitutional Court will investigate whether Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, to the extent that it established that servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds for not all administrative violations of law, was not in conflict with the Constitution.

In this context it needs to be mentioned that, under Paragraph 6 of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the State Service (wording of 23 April 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements), “statutory civil servant” means a civil servant whose service is regulated by a statute approved by the law or by the Law on the Diplomatic Service providing for special conditions of recruitment to the state service, performance of duties, responsibility as well as other conditions related to specific features of the service and/or having public administrative powers in respect of persons who are not subordinate to him.

11. On 15 July 2009, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 13, 15, 41, 142, 17219, 17221, 1735, 214, 21410, 21419, 221, 224, 232, 2321, 233, 2461, 2466, 2591, 262, 281, 288, 320 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, on Supplementing the Code with Articles 4112, 4311, 4312, 14211, 18713 and on Recognition of Articles 21412, 21413 Thereof as No Longer Valid, by Article 3 whereof, which came into force on 1 January 2010 (Paragraph 2 of Article 31 of this law), amended Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL and set it forth as follows: “Statutory state servants shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds.”

Thus, the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, which is disputed in the constitutional justice case at issue, was amended in essence—the limitations (which had been entrenched until then) upon bringing statutory state servants (officials) to administrative liability were abolished.

Under Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the annulment of the disputed legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings. The Constitutional Court has held that the same can also be said as regards the cases when the disputed legal act (part thereof) was not repealed, however, the legal regulation established therein was changed (Constitutional Court ruling of 4 March 2003, decision of 14 March 2006, rulings of 30 March 2006, 14 April 2006, and 21 September 2006, decision of 28 May 2007, rulings of 22 June 2009 and 31 March 2010).

However, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court more than once, when a court investigating a case applies to the Constitutional Court after it has doubts concerning the compliance of a law or other legal act applicable in the case with the Constitution (other legal act of higher power), the Constitutional Court has a duty to investigate the request of the court regardless of the fact whether the disputed law or other legal act is valid or not.

12. It has been mentioned that, in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, it is investigated whether the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, whereby limitations upon bringing some persons to administrative liability were established, in the aspect that for administrative violations of law servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) were liable under disciplinary or service statutes, whereas for the administrative violations of law listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL were brought under general grounds, i.e. under the CAVL, was not in conflict with the Constitution.

13. In the course of construction of the legal regulation whereby limitations upon bringing servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) to administrative liability were established, one is to take account of the legal regulation established in other articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CAVL and in other laws regulating liability of servicemen and statutory state servants (officials).

14. In the constitutional justice case at issue the following provisions of the CAVL are to be mentioned:

under Paragraph 1 (wording of 26 May 1992) of Article 9 of the CAVL, an administrative violation (transgression) of law shall be deemed action or failure to act which is contrary to law and is culpable (deliberate or negligent), by means of which state or public order, property, rights and freedoms of citizens, and the established order of governance are encroached upon, and for which administrative liability is provided for by laws; administrative liability for the violations of law provided for in the CAVL shall appear provided these violations by their character according to valid laws do not incur criminal liability (Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 1984) of Article 9 of the CAVL);

persons who have reached sixteen years of age prior to commission of an administrative violation of law shall be held administratively liable (Article 12 (wording of 1984 December 13) of the CAVL);

persons who committed an administrative violation of law shall be imposed an administrative penalty, by means of which it is attempted to punish and educate these persons so that they would observe laws, respect the rules of public life, and that the violator of law and other persons would not commit new violations of law (Article 20 (wording of 26 May 1992) of the CAVL);

the following administrative penalties may be imposed for commission of administrative violations of law: 1) warning; 2) a fine; 3) confiscation of the item which was the tool of commission of an administrative violation of law and of the revenues received by committing the administrative violation of law; 4) deprivation of a special right (the right to drive vehicles, the right to fly as a member of the crew of an aircraft, to perform technical maintenance of aircraft, to work as an air traffic controller, the right to hunt or engage in fishing, the right to steer inland waterways means of transport, the right to drive railway rolling-stock, the right to use or import equipment, facilities, radio transmission or radio monitoring equipment, to use resources of electronic communications, to engage in radio amateurs’ activity and in that of users of other radio stations, the right to hold a certain position in a sea vessel, the right to design buildings or to conduct an expertise examination of designs of buildings); 5) administrative arrest; 6) removal from office (position) (Article 21 (wordings of 17 February 2000 and 3 July 2008) of the CAVL.

It needs to be noted that, under the CAVL, administrative liability is applied to all natural persons, who have reached sixteen years of age on the day of commission of the violation, and, from this standpoint, it is legal liability of general character.

15. It has been mentioned that in the course of construction of the legal regulation whereby limitations upon bringing servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) to administrative liability are established, one is to take account of the legal regulation established in other laws regulating liability of servicemen and statutory state servants (officials).

15.1. Article 22 titled “Responsibility of Police Officials” of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Police Activities (wording of 17 October 2000): police officials shall be personally liable for their own actions and decisions, and the consequences thereof (Paragraph 1); police officials who violate the requirements of the law in the execution of their duties shall, in accordance with the procedure established by laws and other legal acts, be subject to service-related, administrative, material, or criminal liability, depending on the nature of the violation (Paragraph 2); a police official who executes a knowingly unlawful order or directive shall not be relieved of responsibility (Paragraph 3); the state shall, in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts, compensate for damage inflicted on natural or legal persons by the unlawful actions of a police official (Paragraph 4); police officials who act in accordance with the powers granted to them by laws and other legal acts, shall not be held responsible for damages inflicted when acting in accordance with the powers granted by laws and other legal acts (Paragraph 5).

The Statute of the Internal Service (wording of 29 April 2003 with subsequent amendments and supplements) approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of the Statute of the Internal Service inter alia prescribes:

– “service-related transgression” means a violation of the order of the internal service set out by the Statute of the Internal Service and other legal acts or failure to perform duties of an official, or inadequate performance of such duties done by guilty acts of an official in violation of law or his failure to act (Paragraph 6 of Article 2);

– “discredit to the name of the officer” means guilty acts of or failure to act by an official related or unrelated to the performance of service-related duties, however, apparently discrediting the authority of the internal service system, destroying confidence in an institution of internal affairs or compromising it (Paragraph 7 of Article 2);

for service-related transgressions officials shall be brought to service-related liability without taking into consideration the application of criminal liability or administrative liability (Paragraph 1 of Article 25);

one of the following service-related penalties may be imposed on an official for a service-related transgression, taking into account its type, reasons of performing such a transgression, a degree of guilt of the transgressor, his personality, caused consequences and other circumstances: 1) a note of warning; 2) a reprimand; 3) a severe reprimand; 4) demotion in rank by one grade; 5) transfer to the position one grade lower than the held one; 6) dismissal from the internal service (Paragraph 1 of Article 26).

15.2. Paragraph 3 of Article 26 (wording of 7 July 1999) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Organisation of National Defence and on Military Service provides that a serviceman who violated discipline or laws shall be liable under statutes and laws.

The Disciplinary Statute of the Armed Forces approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of the Disciplinary Statute of the Armed Forces (wording of 20 January 2006) inter alia prescribes:

a serviceman, who committed a deed which is defined in the Code of Administrative Violations of Law and for which liability is provided under disciplinary statutes shall be liable only under this statute; for other deeds defined in the Code of Administrative Violations of Law the serviceman is brought to administrative liability under general grounds (Paragraph 4of Article 2);

a serviceman of obligatory initial military service or professional military service, who committed a disciplinary violation, shall be imposed these disciplinary penalties: 1) a reprimand; 2) additional tasks of service; 3) prohibition to leave the place of service; 4) reduction of the official remuneration; 5) demotion in the serviceman’s rank; 6) dismissal from service (Paragraph 1 of Article 31).

15.3. Paragraph 1 of Article 22 of the Statute of the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of the Statute of the Special Investigation Service (wording of 1 April 2003) provides that for service-related transgressions the officials of the service shall be imposed the following disciplinary penalties: 1) a note of warning; 2) a reprimand; 3) a severe reprimand; 4) transfer to a lower position; 5) dismissal from service.

15.4. Paragraph 7 of Article 18 (wording of 5 July 2002) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the State Security Department prescribes: an official of the Security Department shall be liable for violations of laws under procedure established by laws.

The Statute of the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of the Statute of the State Security Department (wording of 5 July 2002) inter alia prescribes:

security officials shall be liable for administrative violations of law in accordance with the disciplinary procedure on the basis of this statute, except for the cases specified by laws; material on an administrative violation of law committed by a security official and subject to disciplinary liability shall be handed over to the Director General of the Security Department (Paragraph 3 of Article 9);

security officials shall be imposed the following disciplinary penalties for violations of laws and other legal acts and for other disciplinary transgressions: 1) a note of warning; 2) a reprimand; 3) a severe reprimand; 4) demotion in rank; 5) transfer to a lower position; 6) dismissal from service (Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 October 2008) of Article 33).

16. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that administrative liability and service-related liability are different types of legal liability: inter alia their character, objective, subjects, measures, inter alia penalties, are different. For instance, if the administrative penalties provided for in the CAVL and the service-related penalties which are provided in corresponding service statutes are compared, it is clear that in the course of imposition of a service-related penalty one may not impose a fine, confiscation of the item which was the tool of commission of an administrative violation of law and confiscation of the revenues received by committing the administrative violation of law, deprivation of a special right (inter alia the right to drive vehicles, the right to fly as a member of the crew of an aircraft, the right to hold a certain position in a sea vessel), and administrative arrest.

17. When the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL is construed together with the aforesaid provisions of the laws establishing liability of servicemen and statutory state servants (officials), it needs to be noted that by means of such legal regulation pre-conditions were created to the servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) who committed some administrative violations of law (not listed in Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL) to avoid the administrative liability, since for commission of these violations they were liable under disciplinary or service statutes, i.e. they were to be brought to service-related liability.

It needs to be noted that service-related liability may not be assessed as that replacing administrative liability. Although in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL it was provided that for administrative violations of law servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) shall be liable under disciplinary and service statutes, one’s bringing to service-related liability for commission of an administrative violation of law may not be treated as one’s bringing to administrative liability. In this context it needs to be mentioned that, under Paragraph 1 Article 25 of the Statute of the Internal Service, for service-related transgressions officials shall be brought to service-related liability without taking into consideration the application of criminal liability or administrative liability.

It also needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that the constitutional principle non bis in idem does not mean that different kinds of liability may not be applied to the person for a violation of law (Constitutional Court rulings of 7 May 2001, 10 November 2005 and 21 January 2008). In addition, in itself, the constitutional principle non bis in idem does not deny a possibility for the same violation to apply more than one sanction of the same kind (i.e. defined by the norms of the same branch of law) to a person, i.e. the main and additional punishment or the main and additional administrative penalty (Constitutional Court rulings of 10 November 2005 and 21 January 2008).

18. Thus, the legal regulation which is established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL and which is disputed in the constitutional justice case at issue, created pre-conditions for such situations to appear, where the persons which were not specified in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 15 of the CAVL had to be brought, under the CAVL, to administrative liability for all administrative violations of law and they had to be imposed administrative penalties, whereas for some administrative violations of law (not listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL) servicemen and statutory state servants (officials), instead of being brought to administrative liability used to be brought to service-related liability and had to be imposed service-related penalties. Thus, under the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, the service of the person in a certain institution, inter alia the police, determined the fact that for commission of some administrative violations of law the persons serving in such an institution used to be brought not to administrative, but to service-related liability, whereas it means that such legal regulation had granted a certain privilege to these persons—an opportunity to avoid administrative liability for commission of the administrative violations of law which were not listed in Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL.

19. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, it is investigated whether Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, to the extent that it established that servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds for not all administrative violations of law, was not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

19.1. The striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law, which is established in the Preamble to the Constitution, implies that it is obligatory to try to secure the safety of every individual and the whole society from criminal attempts against them (Constitutional Court rulings of 8 May 2000 and 16 January 2006). In a democratic state under the rule of law the legislator has the right and duty to prohibit by means of laws such deeds that may essentially harm the interests of persons, society or the state or there might be a threat of such harm to appear (Constitutional Court rulings of 8 May 2000, 10 June 2003, 29 December 2004 and 10 November 2005).

Under the Constitution, only by means of a law is it permitted to define what deeds are criminal ones, and to establish legal liability for such deeds is permitted by means of a law as well; only such deeds may legislatively be recognised criminal ones, which are really dangerous and by which harm is really inflicted upon the interests of the person, society and of the sate, or due to such deeds there is a threat that such harm will be inflicted (Constitutional Court ruling of 8 May 2000 and 16 January 2006). The Constitution does not prohibit to define, by means of a law, administrative violations of law—deeds which are less dangerous than criminal deeds—and to establish administrative liability for such deeds. Only the deeds, which are less dangerous than criminal deeds, by means of which damage is inflicted upon the interests of a person, society and the state, may be recognised, by means of a law, as administrative violations of law.

Under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the relations linked with establishment of administrative liability for commission of administrative violations of law, enjoys broad discretion, he inter alia may, while taking account of the character, dangerousness and other features of administrative violations of law, as well as of other circumstances of importance, consolidate differentiated legal regulation and establish different administrative liability for corresponding administrative violations of law. However, this discretion of the legislator is not absolute: while doing so, the legislator must heed the norms and principles of the Constitution, inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and the principle of equality of rights of persons entrenched in the Constitution, inter alia Article 29 thereof.

19.2. While construing the provisions of Article 29 of the Constitution, wherein it is established that all persons shall be equal before the law, the court, and other state institutions and officials (Paragraph 1), that 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 (Paragraph 2), the Constitutional Court has held more than once:

in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution formal equality of all persons is entrenched, in Paragraph 2 of the same article the principle of non-discrimination of persons and non-granting of privileges is entrenched;

the constitutional principle of equality of all persons before the law requires that in law the main rights and duties be established equally to all;

the constitutional principle of equality of persons must be followed both in passing of laws and in their application; this principle does not deny a possibility to provide, by means a law, for a different legal regulation in respect to certain categories of persons who are in different situations.

the constitutional principle of equality of all persons before the law would be violated when a certain group of people to which the legal norm is ascribed, 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;

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 the legal situation of subjects and objects to which different legal regulation is applied must be considered.

19.3. The principle of equality of persons which is entrenched in the Constitution, inter alia Article 29 thereof, is inseparable from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which is a universal principle upon which the entire Lithuanian legal system and the Constitution itself are based.

The constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as it has been noted by the Constitutional Court more than once, implies various requirements to the legislator and other subjects of lawmaking, 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; 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.

20. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the legislator, while regulating the relations linked to administrative liability for commission of administrative violations of law, inter alia while establishing limitations upon administrative liability of some subjects for commission of administrative violations of law, must heed the imperatives arising from Article 29 of the Constitution that legal liability for the same administrative violations of law must be established by means of a law and applied to all persons, save the exceptions provided for in the Constitution.

In this context it also needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, it is only the President of the Republic who enjoys immunity not only from criminal, but also administrative liability: while in office, he may neither be arrested nor held criminally or administratively liable (Constitution Paragraph 1 of Article 86). In its ruling of 8 May 2000, the Constitutional Court held that the legal status of the President of the Republic as the Head of State is an individual one, different from that of the rest of the citizens.

Under the Constitution, also Members of the Seimas, Ministers and judges enjoy partial immunity from certain administrative measures: a Member of the Seimas may not be held criminally liable, arrested, nor may his freedom be otherwise restricted without the consent of the Seimas (Paragraph 2 of Article 62 of the Constitution), the Prime Minister, Ministers and judges may not be held criminally liable, arrested or have their freedom restricted otherwise without the prior consent of the Seimas, while between the sessions of the Seimas—without the prior consent of the President of the Republic (Article 100 and Paragraph 2 of Article 114 of the Constitution).

It needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, any other persons, inter alia servicemen and statutory state servants (officials), do not enjoy any immunity from administrative liability.

21. While deciding, whether Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, to the extent that it established that servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds for not all administrative violations of law, was not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, by means of the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 13 December 1984) of the CAVL the limitations upon bringing servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) to administrative liability were entrenched; under this legal regulation, the service of the person in a certain institution, inter alia the police, determined the fact that for commission of some administrative violations of law the persons serving in such an institution used to be brought not to administrative, but to service-related liability and thus they were granted a certain privilege—an opportunity to avoid administrative liability for commission of the administrative violations of law which were not listed in Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 January 2007) of Article 15 of the CAVL.

It has also been mentioned in this ruling that one’s bringing to service-related liability for commission of an administrative violation of law may not be treated as one’s bringing to administrative liability.

It has also been mentioned that the legislator, while regulating the relations linked to administrative liability for commission of administrative violations of law, inter alia while establishing limitations upon administrative liability of some subjects for commission of administrative violations of law, must heed the imperatives arising from Article 29 of the Constitution 29 that legal liability for the same administrative violations of law must be established by means of a law and applied to all persons, save the exceptions provided for in the Constitution.

It needs to be held that there are no legal grounds to state that the limitations (which are entrenched in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL) upon bringing servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) to administrative liability could be constitutionally justified. The legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, whereby, for the administrative violations of law not listed in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the CAVL, servicemen and statutory state servants (officials) were liable under disciplinary or service statutes violated the formal equality of all persons entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution, violated the principle of non-granting privileges entrenched in Paragraph 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution, and deviated from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

22. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, to the extent that it established that servicemen of actual national defence service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them, officials of the Special Investigation Service, officials of the State Security Department, other persons to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations were applied, shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds for not all administrative violations of law, was in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

23. In the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the fact that this ruling of the Constitutional Court recognised that Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL to the corresponding extent was in conflict with the Constitution, does not mean that the service-related penalties imposed upon the persons who, while following Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007) of the CAVL, had been brought to service-related liability under disciplinary or service statutes or special disciplinary regulations, may be questioned only on this ground.

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 has passed the following

ruling:

To recognise that Article 15 (wording of 16 January 2007; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1985, No. 1-1, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 12-492) of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania, to the extent that it established that servicemen of actual national defence service, as well as officials of the police and of the interior and persons equated to them, officials of the Special Investigation Service, officials of the State Security Department, other persons to whom disciplinary statutes or special disciplinary regulations were applied, shall be brought to administrative liability under general grounds for not all administrative violations of law, was in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                     Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                          Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                          Kęstutis Lapinskas

                                                                                          Zenonas Namavičius

                                                                                          Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                          Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                          Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                          Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis