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On the possibility of receiving several state pensions

Case No. 44/2014

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 8 DECEMBER 2009) OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON STATE PENSIONS WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

26 November 2015, No. KT31-N20/2015

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Elvyra Baltutytė, Vytautas Greičius, Danutė Jočienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102, 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 531 the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Constitutional Court, at the Court’s hearing, on 19 November 2015, considered under written procedure constitutional justice case No. 44/2014 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-57/2014) of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions, insofar as, according to the petitioner, this provision stipulates that mothers who receive the state pension of the second degree, who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age and have provided them with a good upbringing, lose the right to receive the state pension of victims granted to political prisoners or deportees, is in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

According to Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on State Pensions (hereinafter also referred to as the Law), female political prisoners or female deportees, having been granted the state pension of the second degree for the fact that they have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age and have provided them with a good upbringing, lose the right to receive the state pension of victims granted to political prisoners or deportees. The nature of these two pensions is different, therefore, the female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age and have provided them with a good upbringing should be entitled to receive both said state pensions. The legal regulation making the payment of the state pension of the second degree dependent on whether the person receives the state pension of victims violates the right of persons to receive well-earned pension benefits and unreasonably limits the constitutional ownership right of persons.

In addition, the petitioner draws attention to the fact that it is impossible to determine the amount of work remuneration received by persons in places of deportation, therefore, the old-age pension paid to deportees is lower; thus, the state pension of victims may be considered a constituent part of the old-age pension of deportees.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from Seimas Deputy Speaker Algirdas Sysas, acting as the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, in which it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

The petitioner impugns the constitutionality of the conditions for granting and paying two types of state pensions in cases where a person is entitled to both these pensions, i.e. the state pension of the second degree granted to mothers who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, and the state pension of victims granted to political prisoners or deportees, where these conditions require that a person should choose one of the said pensions. The right to choose which type of a state pension must be paid has also been established for the recipients of other state pensions. While defining the persons to whom a state pension is granted and paid, as well as the grounds and conditions for granting and the sizes of paying thereof, the legislature must pay heed to the constitutional principle of the equality of persons. Thus, the legislature is not allowed to single out either mothers raising many children or victims of the occupations, or to set out different conditions for granting and paying state pensions to them. If the recipients of two types of state pensions—mothers raising many children and victims of the occupations—were granted the right to receive both said pensions, the legal situation of the other persons who are entitled to other types of state pensions would become unequal.

If Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law did not contain the provision that a person entitled to receive several state pensions is paid at his/her choice only one of those pensions, except in the cases of the state pensions of widow(er)s or orphans where a person may be paid only one of these pensions along with another state pension, this could create such a legal situation where several state pensions are granted and paid to the same person. If a certain group of persons enjoyed exceptional and, in comparison with other groups of persons, disproportionately higher social security, the constitutional imperative of social harmony would be violated. The particularities of state pensions whose nature and characteristics are different from both state social insurance old-age pensions and disability pensions imply that the legislature is allowed to amend the legal regulation governing the pensions the nature of which is very different, however, it may not establish any social security benefits which would be several times higher than those established for other persons. The legislature is obligated to establish equal and non-discriminatory social security so that the proportions of the sizes of the established pensions would not be violated.

A pension, regardless of whether it is paid from a fund created by the state or from the budget, is a state social security measure. Article 4 of the Law establishes the right of mothers who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing to receive the state pension of the second degree, however, the said right is not absolute. Such a right is based on the so-called principle of merit, therefore, it is related not only to the fact of giving birth to or adopting children, but also to providing them with a good upbringing which is the foundation of an honest life, therefore, this pension is an expression of respect for such mothers.

As regards the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with Article 23 of the Constitution, the representative of the party concerned noted that the right to already granted and paid pensions is protected under this article, however, the impugned legal regulation establishes a condition for granting state pensions but does not impose any limitations on the ownership rights to already granted state pensions.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a written opinion of Algimanta Pabedinskienė, the Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania, was received.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 22 December 1994, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions, which came into force on 1 January 1995. This law has subsequently been amended and/or supplemented on more than one occasion.

2. Article 1 “State Pensions of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 12 December 2006) of the Law prescribes:

The following state pensions shall be established in the Republic of Lithuania:

1) the first and second degree state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania;

2) the state pensions of victims;

3) the state pensions of officials and servicemen;

4) the state pensions of scientists;

5) the state pensions of judges.

The state pensions of scientists shall be established on a temporary basis until the development of a system of supplementary pension insurance for scientists.

The first and second degree state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania and the state pensions of victims shall be granted according to this Law. The state pensions of officials and servicemen, the state pensions of scientists and those of judges shall be granted according to special laws.”

Thus, Article 1 of the Law lists the types of state pensions and specifies the laws governing the granting of state pensions.

3. The impugned Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 “Terms and Conditions of the Payment of State Pensions” of the Law prescribes:

A person entitled to receive several state pensions shall be paid at his/her choice only one of those pensions, except in the cases of the state pensions of widow(er)s or orphans where a person may be paid only one of these pensions along with another state pension. […]”

Thus, Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law consolidates the requirement that a person entitled to receive several state pensions must choose one of the said pensions, except for a person entitled to receive the state pension of widow(er)s or orphans where he/she may receive an additional state pension.

Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law has not been subsequently amended and/or supplemented.

4. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law on State Pensions should be interpreted in the context of other provisions of the same law.

4.1. According to the legal regulation laid down in Article 4 “The Right to Receive the First or Second Degree State Pension of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 18 December 2007 with subsequent amendments and a subsequent supplement) of the Law, inter alia, the right to receive the state pension of the second degree is granted to mothers provided that they fulfil all these conditions:

they are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania (Paragraph 3);

they have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing (Item 1 (wording of 6 November 2008) of Paragraph 3);

they have reached the retirement age as specified by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Social Insurance Pensions or are certified as incapable or partially capable of work upon losing 60 percent or more of their capacity for work (before 1 July 2005, referred to as invalids of Group I or Group II), or they worked under special working conditions for which compensation is granted according to the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions where the number of months remaining until a person reaches the retirement age is equivalent to the number of months for which the compensation is paid (Paragraphs 4 and 5).

4.2. Under the legal regulation laid down in Item 2 of Paragraph 1 (wording of 4 May 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) of Article 11 “Persons Entitled to Receive the State Pensions of Victims” and Article 13 “State Pensions for the Victims Who Have Been Certified as Incapable for Work or Partially Capable (Referred to as Invalids before 1 July 2005), Have Reached the Retirement Age, Have Been Imprisoned or Stayed in the Places of Deportation for at Least 15 Calendar Years in the Regions of the USSR Far North or Equivalent Locations” (wording of 15 June 1999 with subsequent amendments and supplements) of the Law, inter alia, political prisoners or deportees are entitled to receive the state pension of victims if:

they are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania whose data about the place of residence in the Republic of Lithuania, or in the case of those without the place of residence—about the municipality in which they are resident, are entered on the Register of Residents of the Republic of Lithuania and who are not recipients of any pensions of a similar type from another state (with the exception of social insurance pensions) or other permanent compensatory payments (Paragraph 1 of Article 11);

the fact of the restoration of the rights of the political prisoners and deportees has been attested to by presenting the relevant documents (rehabilitation certificates) issued by the law-enforcement institutions of the Republic of Lithuania, and the legal status of a victim of the occupations—a political prisoner or deportee—by the documents issued by the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania (Item 2 (wording of 22 June 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 11);

they have been certified as incapable or partially capable of work upon losing 60 percent or more of their capacity for work (before 1 July 2005, referred to as invalids of Group I or Group II) or have reached the retirement age; or have been certified as having lost 45–55 percent of their capacity for work (before 1 July 2005, referred to as invalids of Group III) during unlawful imprisonment or deportation, in the course of actions of the resistance to the occupations of 1940–1990, in places of forced labour, in ghettos or concentration camps, or in the other cases as provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 13 of the Law; or they have been imprisoned or deported for at least 15 calendar years in the regions of the Far North of the former USSR or equivalent locations according to a list of the regions of the Far North of the former USSR and equivalent locations as approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania where five years are left until the retirement age (Article 13).

4.3. If the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law is interpreted in conjunction with that established in Item 1 (wording of 6 November 2008) of Paragraph 3 of Article 4, Item 2 (wording of 22 June 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 11, and Article 13 (wording of 15 June 1999 with subsequent amendments and supplements) of the Law, it should be noted that Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law consolidates the requirement that, inter alia, female political prisoners or female deportees who are entitled to receive (or who receive) the state pension of victims and who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, for which they have become entitled to receive the state pension of the second degree, must choose one of the said pensions.

It should also be noted that, under the legal regulation established in the Law, female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing may become entitled both to the state pension of victims and to the state pension of the second degree simultaneously (for example, if they have reached the retirement age as specified by the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions or are certified as incapable or partially capable of work upon losing 60 percent or more of their capacity for work (before 1 July 2005, referred as invalids of Group I or Group II)), or may become entitled to one of such state pensions earlier than to the other state pension (for example, if they have been certified as having lost 45–55 percent of their capacity for work (before 1 July 2005, referred as invalids of Group III) during unlawful imprisonment or deportation, or in the course of actions of the resistance to the occupations of 1940–1990, they may become entitled to the state pension of victims earlier, whereas those who have worked under special working conditions for which compensation is granted according to the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions may become entitled to the state pension of the second degree earlier).

5. It has been mentioned that, in the opinion of the petitioner, the state pension of victims paid to deportees may be considered a constituent part of their old-age pension, therefore, in the context of the case at issue, it is important to ascertain certain aspects of the payment of social insurance old-age pensions to deportees and political prisoners. The relations of state social insurance pensions are governed, inter alia, by the Law on State Social Insurance Pensions (wording of 19 May 2005 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements).

5.1. Under the legal regulation established in the said law, an old-age pension may be comprised of three parts: the basic part, which guarantees the minimum pension provision for persons and is determined on the basis of the basic pension; the additional part which ensures supplementary pension provision for the persons both listed in the law and covered by state social pension insurance; the said part is determined for each person on the basis of his/her insurance period and the insurance income received during the insurance period; the supplement for the length of insurance period ensures supplementary pension provision for the persons who have completed the period of state social pension insurance exceeding 30 years; the said supplement is determined on the basis of the basic pension as well (Article 6).

5.2. The respective parts of an old-age pension are calculated as follows:

the basic part of the state social insurance old-age pension is equal to 110 percent of the government-approved size of the basic pension which may not be less than 110 percent of the minimum living standard (Article 13, Paragraph 1 of Article 23 (wording of 6 December 2007));

the additional part of the old-age pension is calculated according to the formulas specified by the legislature; such formulas take into account, inter alia, the period of state social insurance pensions completed by a specific person and the amount of insured income received during the period of insurance (self-insurance) (Paragraph 1 of Article 17, Paragraph 1 (wording of 20 December 2012) of Article 19, Paragraphs 1–3 of Article 24 (wording of 20 December 2012 with subsequent amendments and supplements)); when calculating the additional part of a state social insurance old-age pension, account is taken not only of insured income received after 1 January 1994, but also of insured income received before 1 January 1994 where this is done at the request of a person and if it is beneficial for him/her (Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 24 (wording of 20 December 2012 with subsequent amendments and supplements));

the third part of the pension—the supplement for the length of insurance period—is granted to persons who have completed the period of state social insurance pensions exceeding 30 years and is also calculated on the basis of the size of the basic pension (Article 241 (wording of 10 May 2007)).

5.3. Thus, the size of a state social insurance pension depends, among other things, on both the completed period of state social insurance pensions and the amount of insured income received during the period of insurance (self-insurance).

5.3.1. In this context, it should be noted that certain time-periods prior to 1 June 1991 are held equivalent to the period of state social pension insurance completed while under an employment contract or on the basis of membership or service; such time-periods include the actual period of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees provided this time-period is not included in the period of the payment of compulsory state social insurance contributions of the persons covered by state social insurance (Item 7 of Paragraph 2 of Article 54); in addition, the requirement that persons must complete the minimum insurance period while employed exclusively in Lithuanian enterprises, establishments, or organisations does not apply to rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees (Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 June 2012) of Article 1).

5.3.2. It should also be noted that, where a person cannot submit any data about the income held equivalent to insured income for a period equated to the period of state social pension insurance (inter alia, for the actual period of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees as specified in Item 7 of Paragraph 2 of Article 54 of the same law) for important reasons or due to the circumstances beyond his/her control (documents have not been preserved completely or have been preserved partially, the person worked in the republics of the former USSR, was on parental leave in order to care for a child under three years of age, an enterprise, establishment, or organisation in which he/she was employed no longer operates, although it has not been liquidated, the person fulfilled compulsory military service in the Soviet army, etc.), the coefficient of the insured income of the person shall be calculated on the basis of the minimum monthly wage of that period (Paragraph 4 (wording of 20 October 2008) of Article 56).

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, in order to summarise both the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law and related legal regulation, it should be noted that:

female political prisoners or female deportees who are entitled to receive (or who receive) the state pension of victims, who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age and have provided them with a good upbringing, and, thus, have become entitled to receive the state pension of the second degree, must choose one of the said pensions;

when calculating the period of state social pension insurance, the actual period of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees is held equivalent to such insurance period completed while under an employment contract or on the basis of membership or service; the requirement that persons must complete the minimum insurance period while employed exclusively in Lithuanian enterprises, establishments, or organisations does not apply to rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees;

when calculating the additional part of a state social insurance old-age pension, account is taken not only of insured income received after 1 January 1994, but also of insured income received before 1 January 1994 where this is done at the request of a person and if it is beneficial for him/her;

if, for important reasons or due to the circumstances beyond his/her control, a person cannot submit any data about the income held equivalent to insured income, the insured income coefficient upon which the amount of the additional part of an old-age pension depends is calculated for the actual period (held equivalent to the period of state social pension insurance) of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees on the basis of the minimum monthly wage of that period.

III

1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, the Constitutional Court investigates the compliance of the legal regulation consolidated in the Law on State Pensions whereby a person entitled to receive several state pensions is paid at his/her choice only one of these pensions with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

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

The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the types of pensions specified expressis verbis in Article 52 of the Constitution are old-age and disability pensions; under the Constitution, the law may also provide for other pensions in addition to those expressis verbis indicated in Article 52 of the Constitution. The state pensions, which are not directly named in Article 52 of the Constitution, differ in their nature and character from state social insurance pensions; state pensions are granted to persons in recognition of service or merit to the State of Lithuania, or as compensation to the victims specified in the law, and are paid from the state budget (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 July 2003, 29 June 2010, 6 February 2012, and 6 May 2015); the receipt of these pensions is linked not with the social insurance pension contributions of an established amount, but with a particular status of a certain person (his/her service, merit, or other circumstances upon which the granting of the state pension depends); the particularities of state pensions permit the legislature, by taking account of all the significant circumstances and having regard to the norms and principles of the Constitution, to establish the respective conditions for granting these pensions (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 24 December 2008, 29 June 2010, 6 February 2012, and 6 May 2015); the discretion of the legislature as to the granting of state pensions is much broader than in regulating other pensions; the conditions for granting state pensions may be very varied and may depend, inter alia, on the particularities of the specific service and the economic capabilities of the state (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 24 December 2008, 6 February 2012, and 6 May 2015); the legislature may establish by law the maximum size of such pensions and consolidate various ways for determining this size; while paying heed to the Constitution, the legislature may also provide for certain cases where the state pension is not granted to persons (under conditions laid down by law) (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 October 2007 and 29 June 2010).

The Constitutional Court emphasised on more than one occasion that, when defining the persons who are granted and paid state pensions, the grounds and conditions for granting and paying state pensions, as well as the sizes of these pensions, the legislature is obliged to pay heed to the constitutional imperative of social harmony and the principles of justice, reasonableness, and proportionality; the granting and payment of the state pension should not become a privilege; if the legislature, when establishing by law the grounds for the aforesaid pension provision, persons who are granted and paid the aforesaid pensions, the conditions for granting and paying these pensions, as well as their sizes, did not pay heed to the Constitution (for example, if the legislature granted state pensions to persons who may not be granted such pensions, or set unreasonably large sizes of these pensions, or established unreasonable conditions for granting and paying these pensions), then such pension provision could not be defended under the Constitution (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 3 December 2003, 22 October 2007, and 3 July 2014).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that, while implementing its discretion deriving from the Constitution to establish the conditions for granting and paying state pensions, the legislature may stipulate that persons who meet the conditions established in the law for receiving several state pensions must be paid only one of these pensions; in addition, taking into consideration the economic capabilities of the state and other important circumstances and having regard to the constitutional imperative of social harmony, the principles of justice, reasonableness and proportionality, as well as other norms and principles of the Constitution, the legislature may establish individual constitutionally reasoned situations where persons may be paid more than one state pension.

3. Article 52 of the Constitution whereby the grounds for pension provision and social assistance are established must be interpreted in conjunction with Article 23 thereof by which the right of ownership is protected.

The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the right to demand the payment of the pension benefits established in the Constitution and in laws which are not in conflict with the Constitution arises out of Article 52 of the Constitution, whereas the property aspects of the said right are defended under Article 23 thereof; after the types of pensions, the persons entitled to a pension, the grounds and conditions for granting and paying pensions, and their sizes have been established by law, a duty arises for the state to follow the constitutional principles of legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations in the area of pension provision relations; the persons who have been granted and paid a pension established by the Constitution or the law have the right to demand under Article 23 of the Constitution that they should be continued to be paid the pension benefits in the amounts granted and paid previously (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 July 2003, 29 June 2010, and 6 February 2012).

When stipulating by means of a law that the persons who meet the conditions established by law become entitled to a certain pension established in the law, the state at the same time undertakes the obligation to grant and pay such a pension, thus, it must guarantee the respective pension provision for the specified persons on the grounds and in the amounts which are established in the law, whereas the persons who meet the conditions established by law have the right to demand that the state should fulfil the obligation undertaken by law, should grant them the respective pension, and pay the fixed-amount pension benefits; the legislature must establish such legal regulation which would ensure the payment of the respective pension to persons who meet the conditions established by law (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 October 2007 and 29 June 2010).

4. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that legal certainty, legal security, and the protection of legitimate expectations are inseparable elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law. The constitutional principles of legal certainty, legal security, and the protection of legitimate expectations imply the obligation of the state to ensure the certainty and stability of any legal regulation, to protect the rights of persons, and to respect legitimate interests and legitimate expectations. These principles, inter alia, imply that the state must fulfil all its obligations undertaken to a person. If legal certainty, legal security, and the protection of legitimate expectations are not ensured, the trust of persons in the state and law will not be secured, either.

IV

On the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) Article 3 of the Law on State Pensions with the Constitution

1. The group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law on State Pensions is in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law insofar as, according to the petitioner, the said paragraph provides that mothers who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, have provided them with a good upbringing, and who receive the state pension of the second degree lose the right to receive the state pension of victims granted to political prisoners or deportees.

In the opinion of the petitioner, the impugned legal regulation violates the right of persons to receive well-earned pension benefits and unreasonably limits the constitutional right to ownership.

2. It has been mentioned that, according to the impugned legal regulation, female political prisoners or female deportees who are entitled to receive (or who receive) the state pension of victims, who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, have provided them with a good upbringing, and who have become entitled to receive the state pension of the second degree must choose one of the said pensions.

3. While deciding whether the impugned provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law to the specified extent is in conflict with Article 52 of the Constitution, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, the state pensions, which are not directly named in this article of the Constitution, differ in their nature and character from state social insurance pensions: state pensions are granted to persons in recognition of service or merit to the State of Lithuania, or as compensation to the victims specified in the law, and are paid from the state budget; the receipt of these pensions is linked not with the social insurance pension contributions of an established amount, but with a particular status of a certain person (his/her service, merit, or other circumstances upon which the granting of the state pension depends); the particularities of state pensions permit the legislature, taking account of all the significant circumstances and paying heed to the norms and principles of the Constitution, to establish the respective conditions for granting these pensions; the discretion of the legislature as to the granting of state pensions is much broader than in regulating other pensions; the conditions for granting state pensions may be very varied and may depend, inter alia, on the particularities of the specific service and the economic capabilities of the state.

3.1. According to the petitioner, it is impossible to establish the work remuneration received by persons in the places of deportation, therefore, the old-age pension paid to deportees is lower; thus, the state pension of victims may be considered a constituent part of the old-age pension of deportees.

It has been mentioned that, when calculating the period of state social pension insurance, the actual period of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees is held equivalent to such insurance period completed while under an employment contract or on the basis of membership or service; the requirement that persons must complete the minimum insurance period while employed exclusively in Lithuanian enterprises, establishments, or organisations does not apply to rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees.

It has also been mentioned that, when calculating the additional part of a state social insurance old-age pension, account is taken not only of insured income received after 1 January 1994, but also of insured income received before 1 January 1994 where this is done at the request of a person and if it is beneficial for him/her; if, for important reasons or due to the circumstances beyond his/her control, a person cannot submit any data about the income held equivalent to insured income, the insured income coefficient upon which the amount of the additional part of an old-age pension depends is calculated for the actual period (held equivalent to the period of state social pension insurance) of imprisonment or deportation of rehabilitated political prisoners or deportees on the basis of the minimum monthly wage of that period.

Thus, in an attempt to compensate the political prisoners or deportees for the losses incurred as a result of imprisonment or deportation (among other things, for the situation where a person was not able to work for a certain period of time, or was not paid any remuneration for the work done, or was not remunerated for the work in a fair manner), the legislature equated the time of their imprisonment or deportation to the period of state social pension insurance; therefore, the length of this insurance period, due to the imprisonment or deportation of a person, is not shorter than it would have been if the person had been working under ordinary circumstances during the same period of time. In addition, in the course of calculating the additional part of the state social insurance old-age pension, which is the only constituent part of this pension that depends on the amount of the insured income received by the person during the period of insurance (self-insurance), a person may choose such calculation of this part of the pension where the method that is the most advantageous to him/her is applied.

3.2. According to the petitioner, the nature of the state pensions of the second degree paid to mothers who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing is different from the nature of the state pensions of victims paid to political prisoners or deportees, therefore, female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing should be entitled to receive both said state pensions.

3.2.1. It has been mentioned that the Law has established the following state pensions: the first and second degree state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania, the state pensions of victims, the state pensions of officials and servicemen, the state pensions of scientists, and the state pensions of judges.

Thus, state pensions are granted to persons either in recognition of service or in recognition of achievement (for example, the state pensions of officials and servicemen, the state pensions of scientists), or in recognition of merit to the State of Lithuania (for example, the first and second degree state pensions of the Republic of Lithuania), or as compensation to specified victims (for example, to the persons who have become invalids as a result of the aggression perpetrated on 11–13 January 1991 and afterwards, to political prisoners or deportees, to participants in the resistance to the Soviet occupation, to persons who, during World War II, were deported for forced labour or were kept in ghettos or concentration camps, to persons who fought in World War II as prescribed in the law, to participants in the elimination of the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, etc.) etc.

It has also been mentioned that the discretion of the legislature as to the granting of state pensions is much broader than in regulating other pensions; the conditions for granting state pensions may be very varied and may depend, inter alia, on the particularities of the specific service and the economic capabilities of the state; while implementing its discretion deriving from the Constitution to establish the conditions for granting and paying state pensions, the legislature may stipulate that persons who meet the conditions established in the law for receiving several state pensions must be paid only one of these pensions; in addition, taking into consideration the economic capabilities of the state and other important circumstances and having regard to the constitutional imperative of social harmony, the principles of justice, reasonableness and proportionality, as well as other norms and principles of the Constitution, the legislature may establish individual constitutionally reasoned situations where persons may be paid more than one state pension.

3.2.2. Thus, it should be held that, having established the legal regulation in the Law by which female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, as well as other recipients of state pensions (with the exception of persons receiving the state pension of widow(er)s and orphans), must choose which state pension—the state pension of the second degree or the state pension of victims—must be paid to them, the legislature implemented its discretion, stemming from the Constitution, inter alia, from Article 52 thereof, to establish the conditions for granting and paying state pensions.

It should be noted that the stipulation “except in the cases of the state pensions of widow(er)s or orphans where a person may be paid only one of these pensions along with another state pension” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law is not a matter for an investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

3.3. In view of this fact, there are no grounds for stating that the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law disregarded the requirements stemming from Article 52 of the Constitution insofar as the said legal regulation provides that female political prisoners and/or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, must choose which state pension—the state pension of the second degree or that of victims—must be paid to them.

4. While deciding whether the impugned provision to the specified extent is not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, the right to demand the payment of the pension benefits established in the Constitution and in laws which are not in conflict with the Constitution arises out of Article 52 of the Constitution, whereas the property aspects of the said right are defended under Article 23 thereof; while establishing by means of a law that the persons who meet the conditions established by law become entitled to a certain pension established in the law, the state at the same time undertakes the obligation to grant and pay such a pension, thus, it must guarantee the respective pension provision for the specified persons on the grounds and in the amounts which are established in the law; the persons who have been granted and paid a pension established by the Constitution or the law have the right to demand under Article 23 of the Constitution that they should be continued to be paid the pension benefits in the amounts granted and paid previously.

4.1. It has been mentioned that female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing may become entitled both to the state pension of victims and to the state pension of the second degree simultaneously, or may become entitled to one of the said state pensions earlier than to the other state pension.

4.1.1. In the case where, according to the legal regulation established in the Law, female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing become entitled both to the state pension of victims and to the state pension of the second degree simultaneously but where none of the said state pensions has been granted and paid yet, there are no grounds for stating that the impugned legal regulation, under which one of the aforementioned pensions must be chosen, deviates from the requirements stemming from Article 23 of the Constitution, or that this legal regulation denies the legitimate expectations of the person, or the principles of legal certainty or legal security.

4.1.2. In the case where, according to the legal regulation established in the Law, female political prisoners or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing become entitled to one of the aforementioned state pensions after they have already been granted and paid the other state pension, there are also no grounds for stating that that the impugned legal regulation, under which one of the aforementioned pensions must be chosen, deviates from the requirements stemming from Article 23 of the Constitution, or that this legal regulation denies the legitimate expectations of the person, or the principles of legal certainty or legal security, because the said legal regulation creates the possibility of choosing a higher state pension, it does not create any preconditions for reducing the state pension that has already been granted and is paid, and the duty of the state to continue paying the pension benefits of no smaller amount to the persons to whom the pension established by means of a law has been granted and paid is not denied.

4.2. In view of this fact, there are no grounds for stating that the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law disregarded the requirements stemming both from Article 23 of the Constitution and from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law insofar as the said legal regulation provides that female political prisoners and/or female deportees who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, must choose which state pension—the state pension of the second degree or that of victims—must be paid to them.

5. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “a person entitled to receive several state pensions shall be paid at his/her choice only one of those pensions” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009) of Article 3 of the Law is not in conflict with Articles 23 and 52 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law insofar as, according to this provision, female political prisoners or female deportees entitled to the state pension of victims, who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, and, thus, have become entitled to receive the state pension of the second degree, must choose only one of the said pensions.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

To recognise that the provision “a person entitled to receive several state pensions shall be paid at his/her choice only one of those pensions” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 December 2009; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2009, No. 151-6778) of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Pensions insofar as, according to this provision, female political prisoners or female deportees entitled to the state pension of victims, who have given birth to (or have adopted) five or more children, have raised them until they reached eight years of age, and have provided them with a good upbringing, and, thus, have become entitled to receive the second degree state pension of the Republic of Lithuania, must choose only one of the said pensions, 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.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:           Elvyra Baltutytė

                                                                                Vytautas Greičius

                                                                                Danutė Jočienė

                                                                                Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                Vytas Milius

                                                                                Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                Dainius Žalimas