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On the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution

Case No. 22/2013

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW AMENDING ARTICLE 125 OF THE CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE 170 (WORDING OF 15 MARCH 2012) OF THE STATUTE OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 24 January 2014
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Vytautas Gapšys, a member of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner

Julius Sabatauskas, Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, Andrius Kabišaitis, Director of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and Jurgita Meškienė, Head of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, acting as the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102, 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 the public Court’s hearing, on 14 January 2014, considered constitutional justice case No. 22/2013 subsequent to the petition set forth in the Resolution (No. XII-583) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Application to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with a Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in View of the Procedure of Its Adoption, is not in Conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 7 November 2013 requesting an investigation into whether the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

  1. On 7 November 2013, the Seimas, the petitioner, adopted the Resolution (No. XII-583) “On the Application to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with a Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in View of the Procedure of Its Adoption, is not in Conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” in Article 1 whereof it set forth the petition requesting an investigation into whether the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The petition of the Seimas, the petitioner, was received at the Constitutional Court on 11 November 2013.

  1. By means of its Decision “On the accepting of the petition as set forth in the Resolution (No. XII-583) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Application to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with a Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in View of the Procedure of Its Adoption, is not in Conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania’ of 7 November 2013” of 13 November 2013, the Constitutional Court decided to accept the petition, set forth in the Seimas resolution of 7 November 2013, requesting an investigation into whether the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. The announcement of the President of the Constitutional Court regarding the accepting of the said petition was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 16 November 2013 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2013, No. 118-5946). As from that day until the publication of the Constitutional Court’s ruling regarding this constitutional justice case, the validity of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 48-1701) that was adopted by the Seimas on 25 April 2006 was suspended.

II

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

On 20 September 2005, a group of members of the Seimas, acting in the capacity of the subject provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and enjoying the right of legislative initiative, submitted to the Seimas a draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution. By means of Article 1 of the said draft law the said group of members of the Seimas proposed that Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution be amended and set forth as follows: “The Bank of Lithuania shall have the right to issue currency.”

On 16 December 2005, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, after consideration, submitted the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) for the registration. According to its contents, this law differed in substance from the amendment to the Constitution that had been initiated by the group of members of the Seimas. Paragraph 1 of that draft law prescribed:

“1. Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be recognised as no longer valid.

  1. Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be regarded as Paragraph 2 of the said article and the words ‘and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal’ after the word ‘powers’ shall be inscribed in the same paragraph, thus, Paragraph 2 shall be set forth as follows:

‘The procedure for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania, its powers and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal shall be established by law.’”

The said Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) was voted on at the Seimas and, on 25 April 2006, the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution was adopted.

The Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) that the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs had submitted for the registration on 16 December 2005 was different in substance from the amendment of the Constitution that had been initiated by the group of members of the Seimas, therefore, the Seimas, the petitioner, has doubts about whether there was a violation of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law after, in the course of the consideration of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, the amendment had been made to the draft law amending the Constitution submitted by the group of members of the Seimas.

To substantiate its doubts about the compliance of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, with the Constitution, the petitioner asserts that the fact that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution consolidates concrete subjects enjoying the legislative initiative of the amending of the Constitution means that, in the course of the consideration of a draft law amending the Constitution at the Seimas, that draft law must not be changed, let alone changed in substance, since the right of the legislative initiative subjects to amend the Constitution is thus negated.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the written explanations were received from Julius Sabatauskas, Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, Stasys Šedbaras, a member of Seimas, Andrius Kabišaitis, Director of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and Jurgita Meškienė, Head of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, in which it is asserted that the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

  1. The Constitution, save the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 147 and Paragraphs 3, 4 of Article 148 of the Constitution, does not establish any peculiarities of the procedure for the deliberating and adopting of a draft law amending the Constitution at the Seimas, therefore, the general provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution that laws shall be adopted at the Seimas according to the procedure established by law must be followed during the consideration and adoption of the amendments to the Constitution insofar as this is not in violation of the imperatives of the Constitution.

The provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 69 and the provisions of Article 76 of the Constitution regulate the same legal relations and the single process—the legislative procedure. The Seimas has the right to regulate the legislative procedure by means of the Statute of the Seimas insofar as this regulation is not in violation of the Constitution. The fact that Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 148 of the Constitution commission the Seimas to consider and adopt amendments to the Constitution regarding its chapters other than the First Chapter “The State of Lithuania” and the Fourteenth Chapter “Alteration of the Constitution”, means that the Seimas has the right to regulate the procedure for the considering and adopting of the amendments to the Constitution insofar as such regulation is not in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

  1. According to the official constitutional doctrine, the stages of the process of legislation are delimited with consideration for their purpose and the actions performed during each of them. After the subjects that have the right of legislative initiative have implemented such a right, a duty arises for the Seimas to consider the submitted draft law. This ends the stage of the implementation of the right of legislative initiative and another stage begins—the consideration and adoption of the draft law. During the second stage, i.e. the consideration of the draft law, the members of parliament have the right to submit remarks and proposals regarding the said draft law, as well as amendments and supplements to the draft law. The purpose of this stage is the improving of the draft law. In case a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution has been submitted to the Seimas by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than by 300,000 voters, an independent stage of the alteration of the Constitution (the implementation of the initiative) ends and another stage—the consideration stage—begins. After the subjects provided for in the Constitution have implemented their initiative, the Seimas has a duty to consider the draft law amending the Constitution.

The purpose of the state of the consideration of the amendments to the Constitution is the improvement of the draft law. This right is equal for all subjects of legislative initiative and it is implemented by submitting a concrete draft law to the parliament or by formulating, in writing, a new substantial idea regarding legislation. After an appropriate subject files a motion regarding a new law, the process of legislation begins. A duty arises for the Seimas, the legislative institution, to begin the consideration of the submitted draft or the idea regarding a new law. This is followed by the other stages of the process of legislation provided for in the Statute of the Seimas. Thus, the purpose of a legislative initiative may not be a mere implementation of the right of legislative initiative. The implementation of the right of legislative initiative is only the first stage of the entire process of legislation the purpose of which is to begin a gradual process of legislation. The implementation of this right granted to the legislative initiative subjects should not be an end in itself.

The Constitutional Court has held that the ignoring of any stage of the process of legislation or any rule of the adoption of laws, which are enshrined in the Constitution, the Statute of the Seimas or other laws, is not allowed; the necessity of the passing of laws in a gradual manner according to the stages and rules of the process of legislation stems from the Constitution. The duty of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, as consolidated in Item 3 of Article 67 of the Statute of the Seimas, to consider and present conclusions concerning drafts of proposed supplements and amendments of the Constitution and to preliminarily ascertain whether draft laws under discussion are in conformity with the Constitution, has never been impugned as regards its compliance with the Constitution. The Constitutional Court, when investigating the compliance of the norms of other legal acts with the Constitution, has held that a failure of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs to discharge a part of its duty to preliminarily ascertain whether draft laws under discussion are in conformity with the Constitution would also mean a violation of the Constitution.

  1. When invoking the provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine formed by the Constitutional Court, in order to implement the requirements of the Constitution, the Seimas has the right to form sub-units of the Seimas and commission them also to consider draft laws and other draft legal acts that are later adopted by the Seimas and to give conclusions regarding such draft laws and other draft acts. The said sub-units have a constitutionally significant duty to adopt one of the decisions provided for in the Statute of the Seimas. The Statute of the Seimas consolidates the duty of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs to consider and present conclusions concerning drafts of proposed supplements and amendments of the Constitution.

The Constitution provides only for the peculiarities of the submitting and considering of amendments of the Constitution at the Seimas, whereas the regulation of the procedure itself is left for the discretion of the Seimas so that the latter could implement its duty, which arises from the Constitution, to regulate the process of legislation.

  1. The Constitution may be altered if there is an objective necessity to do so and if such an alteration does not violate the norms, principles and the stability of the Constitution. It is possible to adopt draft amendments to the Constitution in accordance with the procedure established in the Statute of the Seimas only when the said draft amendments are in line with the requirements formulated in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court. No such requirements are raised for the stating of the initiative of amending the Constitution, therefore, the statement of the initiative of amending the Constitution begins the process of legislation the final purpose of which is the adoption of the amendment to the Constitution.

The process of legislation and all its stages take place according to the procedure established by the Statute of the Seimas and has the same purpose, therefore, all the subjects taking part in it must seek to achieve the same result. When considering draft amendments to the Constitution, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs must adopt one of the decisions provided for in the Statute of the Seimas. If the committee takes a decision to improve the draft law, it must improve it in a manner so that the draft submitted to the Seimas for consideration would be in line with all the requirements put forward by the Constitution and established in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court. The Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs is a sub-unit of the Seimas, therefore, the concept of the consideration of drafts at the Seimas undoubtedly includes their consideration at this committee. Consequently, it is impossible to state that an amendment to a draft law amending the Constitution in the course of the consideration of the said draft at the Seimas means that such a draft law has been submitted not by the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held that, when they pass laws and other legal acts, the Seimas and each member of the Seimas are bound by the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, as well as the Statute of the Seimas that has the power of law. The duty of the Seimas to follow the rules of passing laws that are defined in the Statute of the Seimas is a constitutional duty of the Seimas. Irrespective of the fact of how many members of the Seimas enjoy the right of the initiative under the Constitution or laws, and irrespective of the fact of how many members of the Seimas have actually initiated an amendment (even if such an amendment should be initiated by all 141 members of the Seimas), the stating of the initiative cannot change the legislative procedure established by the Statute of the Seimas or limit the rights and duties of any member of the Seimas.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written opinions were received from Dr. Vaidotas A. Vaičaitis, an associate professor at the Department of Public Law of the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University, Prof. Dr. Rima Ažubalytė, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Mykolas Romeris University, Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, and Deividas Kriaučiūnas, Director General of the European Law Department under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania.

V

  1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, V. Gapšys, the representative of the Seimas, the petitioner, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner, presented additional explanations and answered the questions.

In the opinion of V. Gapšys, the representative of petitioner, the fact that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution stipulates that a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than by 300,000 voters is a subject of the initiative of a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution, is not an end in itself. This provision of the Constitution means that the purpose of the initiative of those subjects is the adoption of a constitutional amendment of namely the same content, therefore, this initiative cannot end at the stage of its submission. If the Seimas were allowed to change a draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by the subjects, provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution, the meaning of such a draft changed by the Seimas might become contrary to that of the draft submitted by the subject of the initiative of a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution.

According to the representative of the petitioner, the right of the lead committee to improve a draft law, which is consolidated in Article 150 of the Statute of the Seimas, should be understood in a more narrow manner as regards a draft law amending the Constitution. The Committee has the right to improve a draft law amending the Constitution, but cannot change it. The purpose of this right of the committee consolidated in the Statute of the Seimas is that a draft law amending the Constitution would be in line with the juridical technique and that the draft would not contain any contradictions or inaccuracies, however, the committee cannot change the substance of the content of a draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

In the opinion of the representative of the petitioner, the free mandate of a member of the Seimas should not be understood in an absolute fashion—it may be implemented only by adhering to the procedures established in the Constitution and the Statute of the Seimas. It is absolutely impossible to assert that the fact that a member of the Seimas does not have the right to submit his or her proposals at the stage of the consideration of a draft law amending the Constitution limits his or her free mandate. According to Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, a member of the Seimas can submit an initiative of an amendment to the Constitution only together with other members of the Seimas.

The first Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, which had been initiated by a group of members of the Seimas, was designated for the amending of the constitutional provision related to the issuing of currency, however, after its consideration at the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, the provision regarding the right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency was dropped and a different paragraph of Article 125 of the Constitution was supplemented. In the opinion of V. Gapšys, the change in the draft law amending the Constitution was a substantial one, therefore, the essence of Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution was deviated from and the procedure for the alteration of the Constitution established in it was violated.

  1. J. Sabatauskas, Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, A. Kabišaitis, Director of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and J. Meškienė, Head of the Public Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas—the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned—virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations and answered the questions.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the compliance of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. The arguments of the petitioner make it clear that it has doubts whether in the course of the adoption of the impugned law one was following the requirement established in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, according to which, a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas has the right to make a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution. The doubts of the petitioner regarding the constitutionality of the impugned law are related to the fact that, during the consideration of this law, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs changed, in substance, the content of the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution that had been submitted by a group of 45 members of the Seimas, thus, according to the petitioner, the said Seimas committee denied the right of a subject—a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas—to implement namely its own initiative, i.e. a subject, which is not pointed out in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, submitted the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution in the wording that was substantially different from the initial wording of that draft law.

Thus, the circumstances of the adoption of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution are important for the constitutional justice case at issue.

  1. Prior to the entry into force of the impugned law on 26 May 2006, Article 125 of the Constitution prescribed:

“In the Republic of Lithuania, the Bank of Lithuania shall be the central bank which belongs to the State of Lithuania by right of ownership.

The Bank of Lithuania shall have the sole right to issue currency.

The procedure for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania as well as its powers shall be established by law.”

Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 125 (wording of 25 October 1992) of the Constitution established the exclusive powers of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency; it should be noted that those powers were the only powers of the Bank of Lithuania that were explicitly consolidated in the Constitution. According to Paragraph 3 of the same article, the Seimas had to establish the other powers of the Bank of Lithuania, as well as the procedure for its organisation and activities, by means of a law.

  1. On 20 September 2005, a group of members of the Seimas (45 members of the Seimas) submitted the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799) (hereinafter also referred to as draft law No. XP-799) Article 1 whereof proposed that Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution be altered and that it be laid down as follows: “The Bank of Lithuania shall have the right to issue currency.” Thus, that draft law proposed that the word “sole” be deleted from Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution, thus, it was proposed that the exclusive character of the right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency be abolished, however, in general, that the constitutional powers of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency be preserved. Draft law No. XP-799 did not propose any changes to Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution.

The explanatory note to this draft law makes it clear that it had been drafted in order to create the legal preconditions for the adoption of the euro, the currency of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union. In order to reach this objective, the deleting of the word “sole” from Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution was chosen. According to the explanatory note, this “will not negate either the exclusive influence of the ECB in the issuing of currency into circulation, or the right of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency”. Thus group of members of the Seimas that had initiated draft law No. XP-799 held that the powers of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency were of such importance that those powers had to be consolidated at the constitutional level even in the case of the adoption of the euro in the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. Prior to its consideration at the lead committee—the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, draft law No. XP-799 had been considered at both the Seimas Committee on European Affairs and the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance. In addition, the opinion (CON/2005/38) of the European Central Bank of 26 October 2005 at the request of Lietuvos bankas on a draft law amending Article 125 of the Constitution, as well as various remarks and proposals from various state institutions and establishments of science and studies, was received and public hearings concerning this project were arranged.

On 5 December 2005, Artūras Paulauskas, a member of the Seimas, registered the proposal, regarding the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799), that Article 1 of the draft law in question be laid down as follows:

“Article 1. The Alteration of Article 125 of the Constitution

  1. Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be recognised as no longer valid.

‘The Bank of Lithuania shall have the right to issue currency.’

  1. Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be regarded as Paragraph 2 of the said article.
  2. The words ‘and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal’ after the word ‘powers’ shall be inscribed in the same paragraph, thus, Paragraph 2 shall be set forth as follows:

3. 2. The procedure for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania, its powers and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal shall be established by law.’

  1. On 16 December 2005, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, in the capacity of the lead committee, considered draft law No. XP-799 and, upon the assessment of all the received remarks and proposals, adopted the Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799)”. This conclusion formulated the decision of the committee “to assent to draft law (No. XP-799(2)) that was improved at the committee”.

The Conclusion of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” of 16 December 2005, which makes it is clear that draft law No. XP-799(2), to which the said committee later assented, had been drafted after the complete assent to the proposal of Seimas Speaker Artūras Paulauskas regarding draft law No. XP-799 that was submitted on 5 December 2005. The same conclusion indicated that Seimas Speaker Artūras Paulauskas was “a person enjoying the right of legislative initiative”.

5.1. In its Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” of 16 December 2005, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs noted, inter alia, the following:

– “The proposed text ‘[t]he procedure for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania, its powers and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal shall be established by law’ as a supplement to Paragraph 3 of Article 125 is more precise and clearly indicates that the grounds of dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania must only be specified in a law. This is a special norm in case a question arises whether the Seimas has the right to dismiss the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania on the grounds other than those indicated in the Law on the Bank of Lithuania, and to express no-confidence on the grounds that are not in line with the provisions of Article 14 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank”;

– “According to the provisions of the Statute of the Seimas, when draft laws are considered at the Lead Committee, the latter has the right to improve those draft laws. It should be noted that the proposal of the Speaker of the Seimas is related to the objectives of draft law XP-799, which are to align the national legal acts with the Treaty establishing the European Community and to ensure the participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the economic and monetary union.”

5.2. It should be noted that, in its Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” of 16 December 2005, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs did not assent to the remark of the Law Institute of Lithuania that “under the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, neither the Speaker of the Seimas nor other individual members of the Seimas have the right to initiate motions to alter the Constitution. Since the group of members of the Seimas that had presented draft law XP-799 did not propose any amendment to Paragraph 3 of Article 147 of the Constitution, therefore, the amendment to Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution as formulated in the proposal for draft law XP-799, in view of the procedure of its presentation, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution 147 and should be assessed as an ultra vires action”. To substantiate its decision, the said committee noted that, “[a]ccording to the provisions of the Statute of the Seimas, when draft laws are considered at the Lead Committee, the latter has the right to improve those draft laws. It should be noted that the proposal of the Speaker of the Seimas is related to the objectives of draft law XP-799, which are to align the national legal acts with the Treaty establishing the European Community and to ensure the participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the economic and monetary union.”

  1. On 16 December 2005, J. Sabatauskas, Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, registered the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) (hereinafter also referred to draft law Nr. XP-799(2)) that had been assented to by the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs by means of its Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” of 16 December 2005.

It was proposed that draft law No. XP-799(2) establish the following:

“Article 1. The Alteration of Article 125 of the Constitution

  1. Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be recognised as no longer valid.
  2. Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution shall be regarded as Paragraph 2 of the said article and the words ‘and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal’ after the word ‘powers’ shall be inscribed in the same paragraph, thus, Paragraph 2 shall be set forth as follows:

‘The procedure for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania, its powers and the legal status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his dismissal shall be established by law.’”

6.1. The comparison between draft law No. XP-799(2) and draft law No. XP-799 makes it is clear that:

– draft law No. XP-799(2) proposed that Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution be recognised as no longer valid, whilst draft law No. XP-799 contained no such proposition—the latter merely proposed that the word “sole” be deleted, thus, draft law No. XP-799(2) proposed that the Constitution not establish any right of the Bank of Lithuanian to issue currency, i.e., that the powers of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency, which, as mentioned before, had been the sole powers of the Bank of Lithuania that were explicitly consolidated in the Constitution, be no longer consolidated at the constitutional level; meanwhile, draft law No. XP-799 had proposed that the exclusive character of the right of the Bank of Lithuania be annulled, however, by preserving, in general, the constitutional consolidation of the right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency, since, as mentioned before, the group of members of the Seimas that had initiated draft law No. XP-799 held that the powers of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency were of such importance that those powers had to be consolidated at the constitutional level even in the case of the adoption of the euro in the Republic of Lithuania;

– draft law No. XP-799(2) proposed that Paragraph 3 (deemed to be Paragraph 2) of Article 125 of the Constitution be supplemented, although draft law No. XP-799 had contained no proposal for its amendment whatsoever: draft law No. XP-799(2) proposed that the said paragraph be supplemented with the provision to the effect that both the legal status and the grounds of dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania must be established by means of a law. The Conclusion of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” of 16 December 2005 makes it is clear that an attempt was thus made to strengthen the independence of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania—to limit the right of the Seimas to dismiss the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania on grounds other than those established by EU law.

6.2. Thus, although both draft laws in question sought the same objective, i.e. to create legal preconditions for adopting the currency of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union—the euro, the scope of the constitutional legal regulation proposed by draft law No. XP-799 was altered by draft law No. XP-799(2), which also contained the proposal for the alteration of a different provision of the Constitution as well as proposed the essentially different means to achieve the aforesaid objective if compared to draft law No. XP-799: to refuse the consolidation of the constitutional powers of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency and to obligate the Seimas to establish the legal status and the grounds of dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania. Consequently, as regards their contents, draft laws No. XP-799 and XP-799(2) were different in substance.

  1. In its sitting of 20 January 2006, the Seimas voted on draft law No. XP-799(2) and assented to it (112 members of the Seimas voted for it, 11 members of the Seimas voted against it, and seven members of the Seimas abstained).

In its sitting of 26 April 2006, the Seimas voted on draft law No. XP-799(2) for the second time and assented to it (106 members of the Seimas voted for it, six members of the Seimas voted against it, and nine members of the Seimas abstained). Thus, the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution was adopted. It came into force on 26 May 2006.

  1. Thus, the content of the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution is identical not to the content of the submitted draft law No. XP-799, but to that of draft law No. XP-799(2), which was assented to by the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs after the adoption of its Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” on 16 December 2005 and which was registered at the secretariat of Seimas sittings by the chairperson of the same committee; in view of its content, the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) differed in substance from draft law No. XP-799, which had been submitted by the group of 45 members of the Seimas that initiated the amendment to Article 125 of the Constitution.

II

  1. The provisions of the Statute of the Seimas regulating the submission of draft laws amending the Constitution, as well as their consideration and adoption at the Seimas, are also of importance for this constitutional justice case.
  2. It should be noted that at the time of the consideration of draft law No. XP-799 and draft law No. XP-799(2) at the Seimas, inter alia, the following provisions of the Statute of the Seimas significant for the context of the constitutional justice case at issue were in force.

2.1. Item 3 of Article 67 “Remit of the Committee on Legal Affairs” (wording of 5 September 2002) of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) established that the consideration and presentation of conclusions concerning drafts of proposed supplements and amendments of the Constitution and the preliminarily ascertaining of whether draft laws under discussion are in conformity with the Constitution are within the remit of the Committee on Legal Affairs.

2.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of Chapter XXI “Consideration of Draft Laws in the Lead Committee” of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) prescribes:

“During the consideration in the lead committee one of the following decisions must be adopted and presented for the consideration of the draft at the Seimas sitting:

1) to approve a draft law submitted by the initiators or a draft law improved by the committee and the committee’s conclusions;

2) to approve or to reject the amendments of the draft law received from persons having the right of legislative initiative (approved amendments shall be included in the draft law improved by the committee; all of the amendments received from these persons shall be included in the committee’s conclusions);

3) to adjourn the consideration in the committee and to return the draft law and the draft of conclusions for improvement by persons in charge of drafting the conclusions who are to implement the actions indicated by the committee;

4) to submit the draft for public comments;

5) to return the draft to its initiators for improvement;

6) to reject the draft.”

2.3. Chapter XXVI “Amendment of the Constitution and Consideration of Draft Constitutional Laws” (Articles 168–171) of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) used to prescribe, inter alia, the following:

– the laws provided for in Article 150 of the Constitution as well as constitutional amendments shall be deemed to be constitutional laws; the procedure of their consideration and passage shall be established in Chapter XIV of the Constitution and this chapter of the Statute of the Seimas (Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 168);

– the consideration of a draft Law Amending the Constitution shall commence at the Seimas only in cases when the draft is submitted by a group of at least 1/4 of the members of the Seimas or at least 300,000 voters who have expressed their will by putting their signatures under the text of the proposed amendment, with the exception of cases provided for in the Constitution which provide for a constitutional amendment only by referendum (Paragraph 1 of Article 169);

– laws amending the Constitution shall be considered and voting at the Seimas thereon shall be held twice, with an adjournment of at least three months between voting; a law amending the Constitution shall be deemed to have been passed by the Seimas provided that at least 2/3 of all the members of the Seimas voted in favour thereof during each voting, and that the same text of the amendment was put to the vote each time (Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 171).

Article 170 “Consideration of Constitutional Laws” of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) used to prescribe the following:

“1. Draft constitutional laws shall be registered, submitted, considered, and passed according to the procedure established in Chapters XXIX–XXV of this Statute, unless otherwise provided in this Chapter.

  1. Said drafts may not be considered according to the procedures of urgency or special urgency.
  2. Before the commencement of the consideration of such a draft at a Seimas sitting, the draft must be considered by the lead committee within a ten-day period prior thereto and distributed to members of the Seimas, as well as delivered to the President of the Republic and the Government within a seven-day period prior thereto.
  3. After the consideration at the Seimas sitting, the procedure for the passing of the law shall commence no sooner than after 10 days.
  4. The Committee on Legal Affairs shall be the lead committee examining draft constitutional laws.
  5. Any restriction on the discussions regarding the constitutional law which is under consideration, with the exception of cases when such a decision is adopted by a majority vote of at least 1/3 of all members of the Seimas, shall be prohibited.”

Thus, according to the legal regulation established in Article 170 of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998), draft laws amending the Constitution had to be considered at the Seimas under the same procedure as the one according to which other draft laws had to be considered, with the exception of the peculiarities of the consideration provided for in the said article. The fact that the Committee on Legal Affairs was the lead committee examining draft laws amending the Constitution was among the peculiarities that are significant for the constitutional justice case at issue; no requirements related to the decisions adopted by this committee related to the content of draft laws amending the Constitution were established.

2.3.1. In order to summarise the legal regulation established in Chapter XXVI of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) it should be noted that:

– after the consideration of a draft law amending the Constitution at the lead committee, the draft improved by the said committee could be registered under the general procedure, i.e., this draft could be registered not only by the subjects, provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution, but also by other subjects that do not have such a right;

– no special requirements, inter alia, limitations, were established as regards the decisions concerning draft laws amending the Constitution that could be adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs as the lead committee after it has considered such draft laws;

– the same text of a draft law amending the Constitution had to be submitted both times for the voting at the Seimas, however, no limitations were provided for the submitting of the text of a draft law amending the Constitution that was different from the one submitted by the subjects, provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

2.3.2. When the legal regulation established in Paragraphs 1 and 5 of Article 170 of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) is construed in conjunction with the legal regulation established in Paragraph 1 of Article 150 the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998), it should be noted that the general powers of a lead committee to adopt decisions on draft laws, as provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 150 the Statute of the Seimas, were established for the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs as the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution; under Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of the Statute of the Seimas, such powers included, inter alia, the adopting of a decision to approve a draft law that has been improved by the committee. Thus, such legal regulation had granted the powers for the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, inter alia, to change, in substance, the content of a draft law submitted by the subjects (inter alia, a group of 1/4 of the members of the Seimas), provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

  1. It should be noted that, although the legal regulation significant to the constitutional justice case at issue has been amended, its content, however, has not seen any substantial changes.

3.1. The provision of Item 3 of Article 67 (wording of 5 September 2002) of the Statute of the Seimas that the consideration and presentation of conclusions concerning drafts of proposed supplements and amendments of the Constitution and the preliminarily ascertaining of whether draft laws under discussion are in conformity with the Constitution are within the remit of the Committee on Legal Affairs, has not been amended.

3.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of Chapter XXI of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998), Item 1 whereof established the powers of the lead committee to approve a draft law submitted by the initiators, or a draft law improved by the committee, and conclusions of the committee, has not been amended.

3.3. It should be noted that the title and provisions of Chapter XXVI of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998) were amended by means of the Statute “On the Amending of Chapter XXVI of the Statute of the Seimas and on the Supplementing of the Statute with Chapter XXVI(1)” that was adopted on 15 March 2012, whilst the Statute “On the Amending of Articles 29(1), 88, 127, 128, 134, 135, 136, 139, 140, 169, 180(6), 180(9), 180(25) and 214 of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania” adopted on 9 December 2013 amended Article 169 of Chapter XXVI of the Statute of the Seimas.

3.3.1. The now valid Chapter XXVI “Amending the Constitution” (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas regulates the procedure for the registering, submitting, considering and adopting of draft laws amending and supplementing the Constitution, constitutional laws and constitutional acts, as a constituent part of the Constitution, which are specified in Article 150 of the Constitution, as well as the recognition thereof as no longer valid (Paragraph 1 of Article 168 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas). The same chapter provides, inter alia, the following:

– draft laws amending the Constitution are registered, submitted, considered, and passed according to the procedure established in Chapters XXIX–XXV of this Statute, unless otherwise provided in this chapter (Paragraph 2 of Article 168);

– the right of the initiative to amend the Constitution at the Seimas is enjoyed by a group of at least 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or at least 300,000 citizens of the Republic of Lithuania having the right to vote (Paragraph 1 of Article 169); the provisions of Chapter I “The State of Lithuania” and Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” may only be altered by referendum (Paragraph 4 of Article 169);

– laws amending the Constitution shall be considered and voting at the Seimas thereon shall be held twice, with an adjournment of at least three months between voting; a draft law amending the Constitution shall be deemed adopted by the Seimas provided that at least two-thirds of all the members of the Seimas vote in favour thereof during each voting and that the same text of the draft law amending the Constitution is put to the vote each time (Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 171).

Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) titled “Specific Features of Submission and Consideration of Draft Laws Amending the Constitution” of the Statute of the Seimas prescribes:

“1. The Seimas must consider a draft law amending the Constitution initiated at the Seimas by 300,000 citizens of the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with the procedure laid down by the law. This draft shall be submitted at a Seimas sitting by a member of the initiative group of citizens or any other person authorised by the initiative group not later than within a week following the registration of the draft during the Seimas session and where the draft is registered between the Seimas sessions—at the first sitting of the next Seimas session.

  1. Following the submission at a Seimas sitting, draft laws amending the Constitution shall be submitted for public comments in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 126 of this Statute.
  2. Draft laws amending the Constitution may not be considered according to urgency or special urgency procedure.
  3. The Committee on Legal Affairs shall be the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution. The committees appointed by the Seimas as additional for consideration of a draft law amending the Constitution must take their decision regarding this draft not less than a month prior to the consideration of this draft in the Committee on Legal Affairs.
  4. The Committee on Legal Affairs must consider a draft law amending the Constitution not later than ten days prior to the debate on this draft at a Seimas sitting. A decision taken by the Committee on Legal Affairs with regard to the draft law amending the Constitution must be distributed to the Members of the Seimas not later than seven days before the consideration of the draft at a Seimas sitting; the decision must also be forwarded to the President of the Republic and the Government.
  5. Any restriction on the discussions regarding a draft law amending the Constitution when debating on it at a Seimas sitting, with the exception of the cases where such a decision is adopted by a majority of votes cast by at least 1/3 of all of the members of the Seimas, shall be prohibited.
  6. Comments and proposals of the members of the Seimas regarding the text of a draft law amending the Constitution submitted after the approval by the Seimas of the draft by a majority of votes cast by not less than 2/3 of all the members of the Seimas when voting for it for the first time, shall not be debated and voted on when the Seimas debates and votes on the draft law amending the Constitution for the second time.”

Thus, in order to construe the legal regulation laid down in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas in conjunction with the one laid down in Paragraph 2 of Article 168 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas, it should be noted that namely Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas establishes the peculiarities of submission and consideration of draft laws amending the Constitution; to the extent of any absence of the establishment of such peculiarities, draft laws amending the Constitution must be submitted and considered at the Seimas under the same procedure as the one according to which other draft laws must be considered.

3.3.2. The fact that the Committee on Legal Affairs is the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution (Paragraph 4 of Article 170 of the Statute of the Seimas) is a peculiarity established in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas that is important for the constitutional justice at issue; it has been mentioned that no requirements related to the decisions adopted by this committee related to the content of draft laws amending the Constitution were established in this article.

3.3.3. In order to construe the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 2 of Article 168 (wording of 15 March 2012) and Paragraph 4 of Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas in conjunction with the one laid down in Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998), it should be noted that the powers of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, as the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution, have not changed: according to Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of the Statue of the Seimas, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs has been granted the powers, inter alia, to adopt a decision to assent to a draft law improved by the committee, i.e., inter alia, to change, in substance, the content of a draft law submitted by the subjects (inter alia, a group of 1/4 of the members of the Seimas), provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

3.4. In summary, it should be noted that the now valid Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) “Specific Features of Submission and Consideration of Draft Laws Amending the Constitution” of the Statute of the Seimas does not establish any requirements concerning draft laws amending the Constitution that could be adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs as the lead committee after it has considered such draft laws; in addition, no limitations are provided for the submitting of the text of a draft law amending the Constitution that is different from the one submitted by the subjects (inter alia, a group of 1/4 of the members of the Seimas), provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

III

  1. The Seimas, the petitioner, has doubts about the compliance of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, with the Constitution. Thus, in order to solve this constitutional justice case, it is important to disclose the content of the legal regulation, explicitly and implicitly consolidated in the Constitution, governing the alteration of the Constitution.
  2. The constitutional legal regulation governing the alteration of the Constitution is determined by the concept, nature, and purpose of the Constitution itself.

The Constitution is supreme law. The source of the Constitution is the national community, the civil Nation, itself (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 25 May 2004). The Constitution reflects the social contract—a democratically accepted obligation by all the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to the current and future generations to live according to the fundamental rules entrenched in the Constitution and to obey them in order to ensure the legitimacy of the governing power, the legitimacy of its decisions, as well as to ensure human rights and freedoms, so that the concord would exist in the society (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 25 May 2004 and its decision of 20 April 2010). As an act of the supreme legal power and as the social contract, the Constitution is based on universal, unquestionable values, which are the belonging of the sovereignty to the Nation, democracy, the recognition of human rights and freedoms and respect for them, respect for law and the rule of law, limitation of the scope of powers, the duty of state institutions to serve the people and their responsibility to the society, public spirit, justice, the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 25 May 2004, 19 August 2006, 24 September 2009, and its decision of 19 December 2012).

Having adopted the Constitution, the legal act of the supreme legal power, by referendum, the Lithuanian Nation formed the standardised basis for the common life of its own, as the state community—the civil Nation, and consolidated the state as the common good of the entire society (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 25 May 2004, 19 August 2006, and 24 September 2009). One of the most important obligations of a democratic state based on law and justice is to respect, defend and protect the values, as well as human rights and freedoms, upon which the Constitution itself adopted by the Nation is based and whose actual consolidation, defence and protection is the raison d’être of the state itself; otherwise, it would not be possible to consider the state as being the common good of the whole society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 19 August 2006, 24 September 2009, and its decision of 19 December 2012).

  1. As the Constitutional Court emphasised in its ruling of 28 March 2006, the stability of the Constitution is a great constitutional value; the stability of the Constitution is one of the preconditions for securing the continuity of the state and respect for the constitutional order and law as well as ensuring the implementation of the objectives declared in the Constitution by the Lithuanian nation, upon which the Constitution itself is founded. The stability of the Constitution is such its feature which, together with its other features (inter alia, and, first of all, with the special, supreme legal power of the Constitution) makes the constitutional legal regulation different from the legal (ordinary) regulation established by legal acts of lower legal power (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 14 March 2006) and makes the Constitution different from all the rest legal acts (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006).
  2. It should be noted that any amendments to the Constitution change the content of the provisions of the Constitution and the interrelations between those provisions, also, the balance of the values consolidated in the Constitution might be changed; in case some provisions of the Constitution are amended, there might be changes in the content of the other provisions thereof, as well as that of the overall constitutional legal regulation. However, when amendments to the Constitution are being made, the imperative that the Constitution is an integral act must be heeded (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that all provisions of the Constitution are interrelated to the degree that the content of some provisions of the Constitution determines the content of other provisions thereof; the provisions of the Constitution constitute a harmonious system; no provision of the Constitution can oppose its other provisions. The nature of the Constitution as an act of supreme legal power and the idea of constitutionality imply that there are not, nor can there be, any gaps or internal contradictions in the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 25 May 2004, 13 December 2004, and 28 March 2006).

In view of this fact, it should be noted that no amendments to the Constitution may oppose any provisions of the Constitution, or values entrenched in those provisions, against one another, inter alia, the legal regulation established in the chapters and articles of the Constitution may not be opposed against the constitutional legal regulation that is established in the constituent parts of the Constitution. Any amendment to the Constitution may not create any such new constitutional regulation under which one provision of the Constitution would deny or contradict another provision of the Constitution, so that it would be impossible to construe such provisions as being in harmony. Thus, an imperative stems from Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution to the effect that no amendments to the Constitution may violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them.

  1. The aforementioned concept, nature, and purpose of the Constitution, the stability of the Constitution as a constitutional value, and the imperative of the harmony among the provisions of the Constitution imply certain substantive and procedural limitations on the alteration of the Constitution. The substantive limitations on the alteration of the Constitution are the limitations consolidated in the Constitution regarding the adoption of the constitutional amendments of certain content; the procedural limitations on the alteration of the Constitution are related to the special procedure for the alteration of the Constitution that is consolidated therein.
  2. The substantive limitations on the alteration of the Constitution stem from the overall constitutional regulation and they are designed to defend universal values, upon which the Constitution as supreme law and as a social contract and the state as the common good of the entire society are based, and to protect the harmony of these values and the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution.

6.1. Article 1 of the Constitution consolidates the fundamental constitutional values—the independence of the state, democracy and the republic; they are inseparably interrelated and form the foundation of the State of Lithuania, as the common good of the entire society consolidated in the Constitution, therefore, they must not be negated under any circumstances (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 19 December 2012).

In its decision of 19 December 2012, the Constitutional Court noted that the principle of recognition of the innate nature of human rights and freedoms should also be regarded as a fundamental constitutional value that is inseparably related to the constitutional values—the independence, democracy and the republic—which constitute the foundation of the State of Lithuania as the common good of the entire society consolidated in the Constitution; the innate nature of human rights and freedom may not be negated, either.

It has been mentioned that an imperative stems from the Constitution to the effect that no amendments to the Constitution may violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them. In view of this fact, it should be noted that, the Constitution does not permit any such amendments thereto that would deny at least one of the constitutional values lying at the foundations of the State of Lithuania as the common good of the entire society consolidated in the Constitution—the independence of the state, democracy, the republic, and the innate character of human rights and freedoms, with the exception of the cases where Article 1 of the Constitution would be altered in the manner prescribed by Paragraph 1 of Article 148 of the Constitution, or Article 1 of the Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”, which is a constituent part of the Constitution, would be altered in the manner prescribed by Article 2 of the latter law.

6.2. It should be noted that the fundamental constitutional values consolidated in Article 1 of the Constitution—the independence of the state, democracy, the republic—are closely interrelated with the geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania, which is consolidated in the Constitution and implies European and transatlantic integration pursued by the Republic of Lithuania. As the Constitutional Court noted in its ruling of 7 July 2011, the geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania means the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the EU and NATO as well as the necessity to fulfil the corresponding international commitments related with the said membership. It should also be noted that such geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania is based upon the recognised and protected universal constitutional values which are common with the values of other European and North American states.

6.2.1. The geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania is expressed in the text of the Constitution both in the negative and positive aspects. The negative aspect of the geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania is expressed in the Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions”, whereas the positive aspect—in the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”. These constitutional acts are a constituent part of the Constitution.

6.2.2. The Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions” lays down the limits that may not be overstepped by the Republic of Lithuania in the processes of its participation in international integration and consolidates the prohibition on joining any new political, military, economic, or other unions or commonwealths of states formed on the basis of the former USSR. It is clear from the preamble to the latter constitutional act that one adopted it by invoking the 16 February 1918 and 11 March 1990 Acts on the Restoration of the Independent State of Lithuania, as well as the will of the entire Nation as expressed on 9 February 1991. Thus, the basis of the provisions of this Constitutional Act is the same fundamental principle of the state founded upon the declaration of the sovereign will of the Nation as consolidated in Article 1 of the Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”—the State of Lithuania shall be an independent democratic republic. Therefore, under the Constitution, the provisions of the Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions” should enjoy the same protection as the provision “[t]he State of Lithuania shall be an independent democratic republic”, which is stipulated in Article 1 of the Constitution and Article 1 of the Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”. In view of this fact, it needs to be held that, although Article 148 of the Constitution does not explicitly regulate the procedure for the alteration of the constituent parts of the Constitution, inter alia, the procedure for the alteration of the Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions”, the requirement stems from the very essence of the provisions of the Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions” to amend those provisions under the procedure that is the same procedure for the alteration of the constitutional provision “[t]he State of Lithuania shall be an independent democratic republic”, i.e. under the same procedure as established in Article 2 of the Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”.

It has been mentioned that an imperative stems from Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution to the effect that no amendments to the Constitution may violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them. In view of this fact, it should be noted that, under the Constitution, no amendments may be made to the Constitution that would deny the provisions of the Constitutional Act “On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania to Post-Soviet Eastern Unions”, with the exception of the cases where certain provisions of this constitutional act would be altered in the same manner as provided for in Article 2 of the Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”.

6.2.3. The membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union was constitutionally confirmed by means of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”. The preamble to this Constitutional Act makes it clear that the Seimas adopted it in order to execute “the will of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania expressed in the referendum on the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union, held on 10-11 May 2003” and while “expressing its conviction that the European Union respects human rights and fundamental freedoms and that the Lithuanian membership in the European Union will contribute to a more efficient securing of human rights and freedoms”, “noting that the European Union respects national identity and constitutional traditions of its Member States”, and “seeking to ensure a fully-fledged participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the European integration as well as the security of the Republic of Lithuania and welfare of its citizens”.

Thus, it needs to be emphasised that the full participation of the Republic of Lithuania, as a Member of the European Union, in the European Union is a constitutional imperative grounded in the expression of the sovereign will of the Nation and that the full membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union is a constitutional value.

It should be noted that the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union” establishes, inter alia, the constitutional grounds of the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union. In case such constitutional grounds were not consolidated in the Constitution, the Republic of Lithuania would not be able to be a full member of the European Union: the Republic of Lithuania as a Member State of the European Union shall share with or confer on the European Union the competences of its state institutions in the areas provided for in the founding Treaties of the European Union and to the extent it would, together with the other Member States of the European Union, jointly meet its membership commitments in those areas as well as enjoy the membership rights (Article 1). The norms of European Union law shall be a constituent part of the legal system of the Republic of Lithuania. Where it concerns the founding Treaties of the European Union, the norms of European Union law shall be applied directly, while in the event of collision of legal norms, they shall have supremacy over the laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania (Article 2). It needs to be emphasised that these constitutional grounds of the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union were consolidated in the Constitution so as to execute the will of the Nation that the Republic of Lithuania could be a member of the European Union.

In view of this fact, it needs to be held that those grounds themselves and the expression of the sovereign will of the Nation, as the source of these grounds, determine the requirement that the provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union” be altered or annulled only by referendum.

It has been mentioned that the geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania means, inter alia, the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the EU as well as the necessity to fulfil the corresponding international commitments related with the said membership; it has also been mentioned that any amendments to the Constitution may not violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them. In view of this fact, it should be noted that, under the Constitution, as long as the aforesaid constitutional grounds for membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union, which are consolidated in Articles 1 and 2 of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”, have not been annulled by referendum, any amendments to the Constitution that would deny the commitments of the Republic of Lithuania arising from its membership in the European Union are not permitted.

6.3. The respect for international law, which is also a constitutional value, is related to the geopolitical orientation of the State of Lithuania that is consolidated in the Constitution.

It should be noted that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 135 of the Constitution, in implementing its foreign policy, the Republic of Lithuania shall follow the universally recognised principles and norms of international law. The constitutional principle of the respect for international law, i.e. the principle of pacta sunt servanda, as consolidated in this provision, means the imperative of fulfilling in good faith the obligations assumed by the Republic of Lithuania under international law, inter alia, international agreements.

As the Constitutional Court has noted, the observance of international obligations undertaken of its own free will and the respect of the universally recognised principles of international law (as well as the principle pacta sunt servanda) are a legal tradition and a constitutional principle of the restored independent State of Lithuania (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 14 March 2006 and 5 September 2012). It should be noted that the respect for international law is an inseparable part of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, whose essence is the rule of law.

It has been mentioned that any amendments to the Constitution may not violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them. In view of this fact, it should be noted that the Constitution does not permit any such amendments to the Constitution that would deny the international obligations of the Republic of Lithuania (inter alia, the aforementioned obligations of the Republic of Lithuania arising from its membership in NATO are preconditioned by the geopolitical orientation of the Republic of Lithuania) and at the same time—the constitutional principle of pacta sunt servanda, as long as the said international obligations have not been renounced in accordance with the norms of international law.

6.4. It should be noted that a special requirement for the alteration of the provisions of the aforesaid Article 1 and other provisions of Chapter I “The State of Lithuania” of the Constitution as well as of those of Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” thereof has been established—according to Paragraph 2 of Article 148 of the Constitution, they may only be altered by referendum. Thus, the values and principles consolidated in these provisions of the Constitution enjoy bigger protection in comparison with those consolidated in other provisions of the Constitution that can be amended by the Seimas also (Paragraph 3 of Article 148 of the Constitution).

It has been mentioned that any amendments to the Constitution may not violate the harmony of the provisions of the Constitution or the harmony of the values consolidated by them. In view of this fact, it should be noted that, under the Constitution, the Seimas is not permitted to introduce any such amendments to the Constitution that would deny the provisions of Chapter I “The State of Lithuania” and Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” of the Constitution. If the Seimas adopted such amendments to the Constitution, it would also violate the principle, consolidated in Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution, that the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution.

It should also be noted that, in view of the imperative of the harmony among the provisions of the Constitution, it is not permitted that there should be any introduction, by referendum, of such amendments to the Constitution that would, without correspondingly amending the provisions of Chapter I “The State of Lithuania” and Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” of the Constitution, lay down the constitutional legal regulation contradicting the provisions of Chapters I and XIV of the Constitution.

  1. As mentioned before, the procedural limitations on the alteration of the Constitution are related to the special procedure for the alteration of the Constitution that is consolidated therein. This procedure is established in Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” of the Constitution.

7.1. It has been mentioned that the stability of the Constitution constitutes such a property of the Constitution which, in conjunction with its other properties, inter alia, and, primarily, in conjunction with a special, supreme, legal power of the Constitution, distinguishes the constitutional legal regulation from the (ordinary) regulation laid down by the legal acts of lower legal power. On the other hand, the stability of the Constitution does not deny a possibility of making amendments to the Constitution when this is objectively necessary (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 14 March 2006); the Constitution should not be altered if there is no legal necessity to do so (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006). As the Constitutional Court has noted, this is assured by the procedure for the making amendments to the Constitution that is more difficult and more complex in comparison with the procedure for the amending of constitutional and ordinary laws (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 14 March 2006 and 28 March 2006).

In this context it should be mentioned that Items 1 and 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution establish separate powers of the Seimas to consider amendments to the Constitution and to adopt them, as well as to pass laws. It also needs to be mentioned that the passage of laws, inter alia, the passage of constitutional laws, is regulated in Articles 68–72 of the Constitution, whilst the alteration of the Constitution—in separate Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” (Articles 147–149); the provisions of Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” of the Constitution enjoy bigger protection: as mentioned before, under Paragraph 2 of Article 148 of the Constitution, those provisions may only be altered by referendum, whilst the provisions of Articles 68–72 of the Constitution can also be altered by the Seimas.

Thus, under the Constitution, the different procedures for the amending of constitutional law and that of ordinary law are established. The special procedure for the alteration of the Constitution may not be identified with the passage of laws (inter alia, constitutional ones) ; in order to secure the stability of the constitutional legal regulation governing the alteration of the Constitution, a special procedure for the alteration of this regulation was established. It should be noted that such constitutional legal regulation was established, inter alia, in an attempt to ensure that the Constitution would be amended only when it is necessary and that any rash amendments to the Constitution could be prevented.

7.2. The special procedure for the making amendments to the Constitution, which is established in the Constitution, includes, inter alia, the following special requirements.

7.2.1. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 147 of the Constitution, the Constitution may not be amended during a state of emergency or martial law. No such prohibition has been established for the passage of laws.

7.2.2. Under Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 148 of the Constitution, the powers of the Seimas to amend the Constitution are limited: the provisions of Article 1 and those of Chapter I “The State of Lithuania” and Chapter XIV “Alteration of the Constitution” may only be altered by referendum.

7.2.3. Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas: a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters. The said subjects are different in substance from the subjects of legislative initiative—members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government, 50 thousand citizens—which are established in Article 68 of the Constitution.

7.2.4. Paragraph 3 of Article 148 of the Constitution establishes a special procedure for the adoption of amendments to the Constitution at the Seimas: amendments of the Constitution must be considered and voted at the Seimas twice; there must be a break of not less than three months between the votes. The Constitution establishes no such requirement for the consideration and adoption performed twice as regards the passage of laws.

7.2.5. Paragraph 3 of Article 148 of the Constitution establishes the requirement for a qualified majority of votes of members of the Seimas in case a law amending the Constitution is adopted: a draft law on the alteration of the Constitution is deemed adopted by the Seimas if, during each of the votes, not less than 2/3 of all the members of the Seimas vote in favour thereof. No such requirement for a qualified majority of votes as regards the passage of laws is established: according Article 69 of the Constitution, laws shall be deemed adopted if the majority of the members of the Seimas participating in the sitting have voted in favour thereof (Paragraph 2); constitutional laws shall be adopted if more than half of all the members of the Seimas vote in favour thereof and they shall be altered by a not less than a 3/5 majority vote of all the members of the Seimas (Paragraph 3).

7.2.6. Paragraph 3 of Article 148 of the Constitution established a special limitation on the submitting of an amendment to the Constitution that has not been adopted to the Seimas for reconsideration: it may be submitted not earlier than after one year. The Constitution establishes no such limitation as regards the passage of laws.

7.2.7. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 149 of the Constitution establish a special procedure for the promulgation of a law amending the Constitution: the President of the Republic shall sign the adopted law on the alteration of the Constitution and officially promulgate it within five days; if the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate such a law within the specified time, the Speaker of the Seimas signs and promulgates it. Under Article 71 of the Constitution, within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall either sign and officially promulgate the law, or shall refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for reconsideration (Paragraph 1); if the law adopted by the Seimas is not referred back and is not signed by the President of the Republic within the specified period, the law shall come into force after it is signed and officially promulgated by the Speaker of the Seimas (Paragraph 2).

Thus, when the President of the Republic promulgates the law amending the Constitution, his or her powers are restricted to a larger extent in comparison with the promulgation of other laws: the Constitution does not provide that the President of the Republic has the right of delaying veto in connection with laws amending the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 19 June 2002 and 24 December 2002). The amending of the Constitution by the Seimas only when it is necessary to do so and the prevention of any rash amendments to the Constitution are ensured by other special requirements established in the Constitution (inter alia, the Constitution establishes the special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas, the requirement for the consideration and adoption performed twice as regards the adoption of amendments to the Constitution, and the requirement for a qualified majority of votes of 2/3 of all members of the Seimas in case amendments to the Constitution are adopted).

7.2.8. Paragraph 3 of Article 149 of the Constitution establishes a special procedure for the entry into force of a law amending the Constitution: a law amending the Constitution comes into force not earlier than one month after its adoption. No such term of the entry into force of a law has been established with regard of the entry into force of other laws adopted by the Seimas: under Paragraph 1 of Article 70 of the Constitution, the laws adopted by the Seimas shall come into force after they are signed and officially promulgated by the President of the Republic, unless the laws themselves establish a later date for their coming into force.

It should be noted that the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 149 of the Constitution is also applied for the situation specified in Paragraph 2 of the same article, where the Speaker of the Seimas officially promulgates a law amending the Constitution: the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 149 of the Constitution that, if the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate a law amending the Constitution within five days, this law comes into force “when the Speaker of the Seimas signs and promulgates it”, must be construed in conjunction with the provision of Paragraph 3 of this article and cannot deny the latter provision.

  1. It has been mentioned that the arguments of the petitioner make it clear that, in substance, it has doubts whether in the course of the adoption of the impugned law one was following the requirement established in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, according to which, a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas has the right to make a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution.

8.1. Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution prescribes: “A motion to alter or supplement the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania may be submitted to the Seimas by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the Members of the Seimas or not less than by 300,000 voters.”

8.2. The notion “[a] motion to alter or supplement the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, as employed in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, should not only be interpreted literally as meaning an abstract proposal or idea lacking clarity and concreteness to alter or supplement the Constitution. Such a construction of this notion would have no constitutional grounds, since it would mean that the subjects, provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution, would be able to submit any proposal to amend or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas, inter alia, a proposal containing only an idea or a purpose of the motion to amend or supplement the Constitution, but not the concrete text of an amendment to the Constitution, and the Seimas would have to consider such a proposal; in case the Seimas is submitted a proposal to amend or supplement the Constitution containing no concrete formulation of the concrete provision amending or supplementing the Constitution, inter alia, with no indication to a concrete article (an item or paragraph thereof) of the Constitution, whose amendment or supplement is being proposed, there would be no object for consideration at the Seimas.

Thus, the notion “[a] motion to alter or supplement the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution means that this is a draft amendment to the Constitution, i.e. a draft law amending the Constitution.

8.3. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas: a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters; the said subjects are different in substance from the subjects of the right of legislative initiative—members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government, 50 thousand citizens—which are established in Article 68 of the Constitution.

It should be noted that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies the special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas. Both those subjects—a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters—enjoy the same right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas. It should also be noted that this right to make a motion to alter the Constitution that is enjoyed by the subjects of this right as specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, i.e. a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters, is an exceptional right, i.e. only these subjects have the right to submit to the Seimas a concrete draft amendment to the Constitution, i.e. a concrete draft law amending the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the said right is not conferred on any other subjects. Inter alia, the subjects of the right of legislative initiative—members of the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government, 50 thousand citizens—which are established in Article 68 of the Constitution, do not have such a right.

It should also be noted that the exclusive right to make a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that is enjoyed by the subjects of this right as specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, i.e. a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters, means that, first of all, these subjects, when they submit their amendment to the Constitution, have the right to assess the objective necessity of such an amendment; this right also means that only the authorised representatives of such subjects can submit such a draft law amending the Constitution to the Seimas for consideration, i.e. to make a presentation regarding this draft at a sitting of the Seimas.

8.4. In this context, Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution should be construed in conjunction with Paragraph 3 of Article 148 thereof, which provides for a special procedure for the adoption of amendments to the Constitution at the Seimas—the requirement of a special qualified majority of the votes of members of the Seimas in order to adopt a law amending the Constitution: amendments of the Constitution concerning the provisions of the chapters of the Constitution other than its Chapters I and XIV must be considered and voted at the Seimas twice; there must be a break of not less than three months between the votes; a draft law on the alteration of the Constitution is deemed adopted by the Seimas if, during each of the votes, not less than 2/3 of all the members of the Seimas vote in favour thereof.

8.4.1. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies the special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas. Both those subjects—a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters—enjoy the same right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas; this right is an exclusive one, i.e. only the said subjects have the right to submit to the Seimas a concrete draft amendment to the Constitution—a draft law amending the Constitution. Thus, under the Constitution, the draft laws amending the Constitution that have only been submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters may be considered and voted upon in the Seimas; the Seimas may not consider and vote upon any such motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that would be proposed by subjects other than the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

If the Constitution were construed in a different manner (inter alia, in a manner that a different subject, but not the ones provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution, would be able to submit to the Seimas a new motion to amend or supplement the Constitution—a new draft law amending the Constitution—for further consideration), the exclusive right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that is established in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and enjoyed by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters would be denied—the preconditions would thus be created for the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution with a virtually different content on the pretext of the motion to alter or supplement the Constitution submitted by a subject, specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that enjoys such a right. In addition, such a construction would be incompatible with the aforementioned purpose of a special procedure for the constitutional legal regulation governing the alteration of the Constitution—to ensure that the Constitution would only be amended when it is necessary and that any rash amendments to the Constitution could be prevented.

8.4.2. It should be noted that the exclusive right to make a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that is enjoyed by the subjects of this right as specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, i.e. a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters, does not mean that the Seimas, while considering the submitted motion, is not allowed, in general, to amend the text of a draft law amending the Constitution. However, the changes in the text of a draft law amending the Constitution cannot deny the exclusive right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas, that is established in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and is enjoyed by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters; as mentioned before, under the Constitution, the draft laws amending the Constitution that have only been submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters may be considered and voted upon in the Seimas; the Seimas may not consider and vote upon any such motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that would be proposed by subjects other than the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution. Therefore, under the Constitution, when the Seimas considers certain draft laws amending the Constitution, which have been submitted by the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, it may introduce only such modifications to the proposed draft laws that do not affect the content of these draft laws in substance, i.e. modifications that are aimed at editing the proposed draft amendments to the Constitution in order to improve the texts of these draft laws in terms of the Lithuanian language and legal technique or that make the proposed draft formulations more accurate or concrete without changing the scope of the proposed constitutional legal regulation.

8.4.3. In view of this fact it should be noted that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution gives rise to the prohibition on changing in substance, during the consideration in the Seimas, the content of a proposed draft law amending the Constitution, submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters, inter alia, in such a way that would distort the objective of the proposed constitutional legal regulation, would alter the scope of the proposed constitutional legal regulation, would introduce essentially different means to achieve the objective sought by the proposed constitutional legal regulation, or would propose that a different provision of the Constitution be altered.

In this context, it should also be noted that a substantially amended draft law amending the Constitution must be regarded as a new draft law—a new motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that can be submitted, according to Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters.

8.5. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies the special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas. Both those subjects—a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters—enjoy the same right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas; this right is an exclusive one, i.e. only the said subjects have the right to submit a concrete draft amendment to the Constitution—a draft law amending the Constitution—to the Seimas; under the Constitution, the said right is not conferred on any other subjects. It has also been mentioned that, under the Constitution, when the Seimas considers certain draft laws amending the Constitution, which have been submitted by the subjects specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, it may introduce only such modifications to the proposed draft laws that do not affect the content of these draft laws in substance; a substantially amended draft law amending the Constitution must be regarded as a new draft law—a new motion to alter or supplement the Constitution that can be submitted, according to Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters.

In view of this fact, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that, under the Constitution, structural sub-units of the Seimas, inter alia, its committees, as well as individual members of the Seimas, do not have the right to submit a draft law amending the Constitution that would be different in substance from the draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas, inter alia, where the difference constitutes a different scope of the proposed constitutional legal regulation, or virtually different means of the constitutional legal regulation in order to achieve the objective sought, or a proposal for an amendment of a different provision of the Constitution.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should also be noted that, under the Constitution, when, at the Seimas, a draft law amending the Constitution submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas is being considered, structural sub-units of the Seimas, inter alia, its committees, as well as individual members of the Seimas, have the right to propose non-substantial amendments to the draft law considered by the Seimas, to propose that the draft law be rejected, also, to propose that the group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas that has submitted the draft law under consideration submit a new and substantially changed draft law amending the Constitution.

  1. In this context it should also be noted that, in its ruling of 28 March 2006, the Constitutional Court held that the meaning of the Constitution as an extremely stable legal act would also be ignored if the intervention to its text were made every time when certain social relations that must be legally regulated undergo changes (for example, technological possibilities of certain kinds of activity expand to the extent that was, perhaps, impossible to predict at the time when the text of the Constitution was being drafted).

It needs to be emphasised that the construction and development of the official constitutional doctrine, inter alia, the reinterpretation of the official constitutional doctrinal provisions, also such reinterpretation when the official constitutional doctrine is modified, allow one to disclose the deep potential of the Constitution without changing its text and, in this aspect, to adjust the Constitution to the changes of social life and to the constantly changing living conditions of society and the state, as well as to ensure the viability of the Constitution as the fundamental of the life of society and the state; the formation and development of the official constitutional doctrine is a function of constitutional justice (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006). As the Constitutional Court has noted, in the acts of the Constitutional Court adopted in new constitutional justice cases, which further construe and develop, inter alia, reinterpret, the official constitutional doctrinal provisions, also in a manner modifying the official constitutional doctrine, one is prompted not to make any intervention to the text of the Constitution when such intervention is not legally necessary; thus, one contributes to the ensuring of the stability of the text of the Constitution and the constitutional order (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006).

IV

  1. The Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue is related to the constitutional institute of the Bank of Lithuania.
  2. The basis of the constitutional institute of the Bank of Lithuania is the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 125 of the Constitution according to which, in the Republic of Lithuania, the Bank of Lithuania shall be the central bank which belongs to the State of Lithuania by right of ownership. It should be noted that this provision was not changed by the impugned law.

2.1. As already mentioned, Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution (wording of 25 October 1992) defined the exclusive powers of the Bank of Lithuania to issue the currency. It should be noted that these powers were cancelled by the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution.

2.2. According to Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution (wording of 25 October 1992), the procedures for the organisation and activities of the Bank of Lithuania as well as its powers had to be established by the Seimas by means of a law. It should be noted that pursuant to the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution the former Paragraph 3 of Article 125 of the Constitution became Paragraph 2 of Article 125 and was supplemented with the provision that the law should also establish the status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania as well as the grounds of his or her dismissal.

2.3. Some other provisions of the Constitution are related to Article 125 of the Constitution.

2.3.1. Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution establishes the powers of the Seimas to pass laws. Thus, this provision of the Constitution also gives rise to the powers of the Seimas to regulate the activities of the Bank of Lithuania by means of a law, inter alia, to regulate, by means of a law, the procedure of the organisation of the Bank of Lithuania and its powers, the status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, as well as the grounds of his or her dismissal.

2.3.2. Item 11 of Article 67 of the Constitution establishes the powers of the Seimas to appoint and dismiss, inter alia, the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, whilst Item 13 of Article 84—the powers of the President of the Republic to submit to the Seimas the candidature for the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania and to propose to the Seimas to express no-confidence in him or her. These provisions of the Constitution presuppose the procedure of the appointment and dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania according to which the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania is appointed and dismissed by the Seimas on the proposal of the President of the Republic.

In this context it should be mentioned that, according to Article 75 of the Constitution, officials appointed or elected by the Seimas, with the exception of the persons specified in Article 74 of the Constitution, are dismissed from office when the Seimas expresses no-confidence in them by majority vote of all members of the Seimas.

  1. It should be noted that the content of constitutional legal regulation of the institute of the Bank of Lithuania has changed upon the adoption of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”, which is a constituent part of the Constitution and by means of which, as already mentioned, the membership of the of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union was constitutionally confirmed.

3.1. It has been mentioned that, according to the preamble to the said Constitutional Act, the Seimas adopted it in order to execute “the will of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania expressed in the referendum on the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union, held on 10-11 May 2003”, and in order to seek to ensure, inter alia, a fully-fledged participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the European integration. It has also been mentioned that the full participation of the Republic of Lithuania, as a member of the European Union, in the European Union is a constitutional imperative grounded in the expression of the sovereign will of the Nation and that the full membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union is a constitutional value.

It should be emphasised that the constitutional imperative of a full membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union implies that the constitutional value is namely full membership in the European Union, i.e. fully-fledged, rather than partial, participation in the activities of this Union and in the integration of its Member States.

3.2. It has also been mentioned that the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union” establishes, inter alia, the constitutional grounds of the membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union. In case such constitutional grounds were not consolidated in the Constitution, the Republic of Lithuania would not be able to be a full member of the European Union: inter alia, Article 1 of this Constitutional Act enshrines the principle that the Republic of Lithuania as a Member State of the European Union shares with or confers on the European Union the competences of its state institutions in the areas provided for in the founding Treaties of the European Union and to the extent it would, together with the other Member States of the European Union, jointly meet its membership commitments in those areas as well as enjoy the membership rights.

3.2.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that one of the areas where, under Article 1 of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”, the Republic of Lithuania, as a Member State of the European Union, shares with and confers on the European Union the competences of its state institutions is the economic and monetary union, the currency of which is the euro as specified in Paragraph 4 of Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union. It should also be noted that, pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, activities of the Member States and the Union in the area of economic and monetary policy shall include a single currency—the euro, and the definition and conduct of a single monetary policy and exchange-rate policy; according to Paragraph 1c of Article 3 of the same treaty, the Union shall have exclusive competence in the area of monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the euro. It needs to be emphasised that by virtue of Article 1 of this Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union”, the Republic of Lithuania shares with and confers the competences of its state institutions in the area of economic and monetary policy in order to jointly meet, together with the other Member States of the European Union, its commitments of full membership in the European Union and to enjoy the full membership rights in the European Union in this area.

3.2.2. It should be noted further that one of the basic tasks to be carried out through the European System of Central Banks (hereinafter also referred to as the ESCB) is to define and implement the monetary policy of the Union (Paragraph 2 of Article 127 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). According to Article 8 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, the ESCB shall be governed by the decision-making bodies of the European Central Bank (hereinafter also referred to as the ECB); according to Paragraph 3 of Article 14 of the same protocol, the national central banks are an integral part of the ESCB and shall act in accordance with the guidelines and instructions of the ECB; according to Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the same protocol, the governors of the national central banks are members of the Governing Council of ECB.

It should also be noted that:

– according to Article 128 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Central Bank shall have the exclusive right to authorise the national central banks, inter alia, to issue euro banknotes (Paragraph 1), and Member States may issue euro coins subject to approval by the ECB of the volume of the issue (Paragraph 2);

– Article 130 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 7 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank establish the principle of independence of the ECB and the national central banks according to which, inter alia, neither a national central bank, nor any member of its decision-making bodies shall take instructions from the government of a Member State or from any other body; in this regard it should be noted that, according to Paragraph 2 of Article 14 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, the Governor of the national central bank may be relieved from office only if he no longer fulfils the conditions required for the performance of his duties or if he has been guilty of serious misconduct.

3.2.3. Accordingly, having regard to Article 1 of the Constitutional Act “On Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union” on the basis whereof the Republic of Lithuania participates, inter alia, in the economic and monetary union, shares with or confers on the European Union the competences of its state institutions, inter alia, in the area of economic and monetary policy, it should be noted that the constitutional status of the Bank of Lithuania is defined as the status of the central bank of the Republic of Lithuania whose competence is partly conferred on the ECB and which is an integral part of the ESCB; thus, the respective independence guarantees should be applied to the Bank of Lithuania and to the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania according to the Constitution, inter alia, in observance of the constitutional principle pacta sunt servanda.

It should be noted further that having regard to such a constitutional status of the Bank of Lithuania and the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, the powers of the President of the Republic established in Item 13 of Article 84 of the Constitution to propose to the Seimas to express no-confidence in the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania should only be related to the possibility of expressing no-confidence in the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania under such circumstances the nature of which prevent the Chairperson of the Board from performing his or her duties in general.

In this context, it should be noted further that, according to the Constitution, the legislature, when regulating the activities of the Bank of Lithuania, inter alia, defining the grounds and procedure for the dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, must pay heed to the constitutional status and the respective independence guarantees of the Bank of Lithuania, as of the integral part of the ESCB. This means, inter alia, that one is not allowed to establish any such legal regulation to the effect that:

– the preconditions would be created for the legislature and the executive to exert influence on the Bank of Lithuania, inter alia, an obligation would be created for the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania to submit reports on the performance of his or her functions subject to the approval by the Seimas, the President of the Republic or the Government; it should be noted that the constitutional provision that state institutions serve the people implies the obligation of the legislature to establish the legal regulation to the effect that the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania would have an obligation to inform the public, the Seimas, the President of the Republic, and the Government about the activities of the Bank of Lithuania;

– the established grounds for the dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania before the expiration of the term of his or her powers established by law would not be related to the non-fulfilment of the law-established conditions required for the performance of his or her duties or to the fact that he or she has been guilty of serious misconduct.

  1. To sum up, it should be noted that the aforementioned constitutional imperative of the fully-fledged participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union and its fully-fledged membership in the European Union, as a constitutional value, also implies the constitutional obligation of the Republic of Lithuania to participate, as a fully-fledged Member State, inter alia, in the integration of the member countries into the economic and monetary union, inter alia, by adopting the common currency of this union—the euro—and conferring on the European Union the exclusive competence in the area of monetary policy. It should be noted that such a constitutional obligation of the State of Lithuania is concurrently an obligation arising from its membership in the European Union, which the State of Lithuania is obliged to fulfil while observing its geopolitical orientation consolidated in the Constitution and the constitutional principle of pacta sunt servanda.

It should also be noted that, in order to implement the said constitutional obligation of the Republic of Lithuania for its membership in the European Union, the competence of the Bank of Lithuania in the area of monetary policy, inter alia, the issuing of currency, must be conferred on the European Central Bank.

V

On the compliance of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 and Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the compliance of the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, with, inter alia, Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

It has been mentioned that the arguments of the petitioner make it clear that it has doubts whether in the course of the adoption of the impugned law one was following the requirement established in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, according to which, a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas has the right to make a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution; the doubts of the petitioner regarding the constitutionality of the impugned law are related to the fact that, during the consideration of this law, the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs changed, in substance, the content of the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution that had been submitted by a group of 45 members of the Seimas.

  1. The circumstances of the adoption of the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution make it clear that, on 20 September 2005, 45 members of the Seimas, i.e., a group bigger than that of 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas, submitted the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (draft law No. XP-799), by means of Article 1 whereof it was proposed that the word “sole” be deleted from Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution, thus, it was proposed that the exclusive character of the right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency be abolished, however, in general, that the constitutional powers of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency be preserved even in the situation where the euro would be adopted in the Republic of Lithuania.

It has been mentioned that the content of the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution is identical not to the content of the submitted draft law No. XP-799, but to that of draft law No. XP-799(2), which was assented to by the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs after the adoption of its Conclusion “On the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (No. XP-799)” on 16 December 2005 and which was registered at the secretariat of Seimas sittings by the chairperson of the same committee; the Seimas voted on draft law No. XP-799(2); in view of its content, the Draft Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (No. XP-799(2)) differed in substance from draft law No. XP-799, which had been submitted by the group of 45 members of the Seimas that initiated the amendment to Article 125 of the Constitution. It has also been mentioned that although both draft laws in question sought the same objective, i.e. to create legal preconditions for adopting the currency of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union—the euro, the scope of the constitutional legal regulation proposed by draft law No. XP-799 was altered by draft law No. XP-799(2), which also contained the proposal for the alteration of a different provision of the Constitution as well as proposed the essentially different means to achieve the aforesaid objective if compared to draft law No. XP-799: to refuse the consolidation of the constitutional powers of the Bank of Lithuania to execute the issuance of currency and to obligate the Seimas to establish the legal status and the grounds of dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania. Consequently, as regards their contents, draft laws No. XP-799 and XP-799(2) were different in substance.

  1. It has also been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution specifies the special subjects who enjoy the right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas. Both those subjects—a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters—enjoy the same right to submit a motion to alter or supplement the Constitution to the Seimas; this right is an exclusive one, i.e. only the said subjects have the right to submit a concrete draft amendment to the Constitution—a draft law amending the Constitution—to the Seimas; under the Constitution, the said right is not conferred on any other subjects. It has also been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution gives rise to the prohibition on changing in substance, during the consideration in the Seimas, the content of a proposed draft law amending the Constitution, submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters; under the Constitution, structural sub-units of the Seimas, inter alia, its committees, as well as individual members of the Seimas, do not have the right to submit a draft law amending the Constitution that would be different in substance from the draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas, inter alia, where the difference constitutes a different scope of the proposed constitutional legal regulation, or virtually different means of the constitutional legal regulation in order to achieve the objective sought, or a proposal for an amendment of a different provision of the Constitution.
  2. Thus, the circumstances of the adoption of the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution make it clear that, in the course of the consideration at the Seimas, one put to vote the draft of this law that differed in substance from the draft law that had been submitted by the group bigger than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas; such a draft law that had been amended in substance was submitted to the Seimas not by the subjects, provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution, but by the Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs upon the assent of the same committee. In view of this fact, it needs to be held that, in the course of the adoption of the impugned Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, one disregarded the prohibition, stemming from Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, against the consideration of a draft law amending the Constitution that is submitted by structural sub-units of the Seimas and individual members of the Seimas and whose content would differ in substance from the draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas.
  3. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the manner of its adoption, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

Having held the foregoing, the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the procedure of its adoption, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

VI

On the compliance of Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

  1. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that, having found that the provisions of a law whose compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the petitioner, but which interfere with the social relations regulated by the impugned law, are in conflict with the Constitution, the Constitutional Court must state this fact. This should be applied mutatis mutandis with regard to the provisions of a legal act—the Statute of the Seimas—that regulate the procedure of the adoption of the impugned law.
  2. In the course of the construction of the legal regulation laid down in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) “Procedure of the Adoption of Draft Laws Amending the Constitution” of the Statute of the Seimas in conjunction with the one laid down in Paragraph 2 of Article 168 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas, it has been mentioned that namely Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas establishes the peculiarities of submission and consideration of draft laws amending the Constitution; to the extent of any absence of the establishment of such peculiarities, draft laws amending the Constitution must be submitted and considered at the Seimas under the same procedure as the one according to which other draft laws must be considered.

The fact that the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs is the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution (Paragraph 4 of Article 170 of the Statute of the Seimas) is a peculiarity established in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas that is important for the constitutional justice at issue; it has been mentioned that no requirements related to the decisions adopted by this committee related to the content of draft laws amending the Constitution were established in this article. Thus, according to such legal regulation, Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of the Statute of the Seimas has granted the general powers to the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs, as the lead committee considering draft laws amending the Constitution, to adopt decisions regarding the draft laws, inter alia, under Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 150 of the Statute of the Seimas, to adopt a decision to assent to a draft law improved by the committee, i.e., inter alia, to change, in substance, the content of a draft law submitted by the subjects (inter alia, a group of 1/4 of the members of the Seimas), provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

  1. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution gives rise to the prohibition on changing in substance, during the consideration in the Seimas, the content of a proposed draft law amending the Constitution, submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters; under the Constitution, structural sub-units of the Seimas, inter alia, its committees, as well as individual members of the Seimas, do not have the right to submit a draft law amending the Constitution that would be different in substance from the draft law amending the Constitution that was submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas, inter alia, where the difference constitutes a different scope of the proposed constitutional legal regulation, or virtually different means of the constitutional legal regulation in order to achieve the objective sought, or a proposal for an amendment of a different provision of the Constitution.
  2. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that a legal gap, inter alia, legislative omission, always means that the legal regulation of corresponding social relations is established neither explicitly nor implicitly, neither in a certain legal act (part thereof) nor in any other legal act at all, even though there exists a need for a legal regulation of these social relations, whilst the said legal regulation, in the case of legislative omission, must be established precisely in that legal act (precisely in that part thereof), since this is required by a certain legal act of higher power, inter alia, the Constitution itself.
  3. It has been mentioned that the specific features of submission and consideration of draft laws amending the Constitution are established namely in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas.

It has also been mentioned that Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) “Specific Features of Submission and Consideration of Draft Laws Amending the Constitution” of the Statute of the Seimas does not establish any requirements concerning draft laws amending the Constitution that could be adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs as the lead committee after it has considered such draft laws; in addition, no limitations are provided for the submitting of the text of a draft law amending the Constitution that is different from the one submitted by the subjects (inter alia, a group of 1/4 of the members of the Seimas), provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution. Thus, such legal regulation created preconditions for the subjects that are not provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution to submit, in the course of the consideration at the Seimas, inter alia, such draft laws amending the Constitution, which would differ in substance from the one submitted by the subjects, specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution.

  1. In view of this fact, it needs to be held that, the failure to establish, in Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) “Specific Features of Submission and Consideration of Draft Laws Amending the Constitution” of the Statute of the Seimas, the prohibition against any substantial changes made by the Committee on Legal Affairs to draft laws amending the Constitution that have been submitted by the subjects, specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution and the failure to establish, in the same article, the prohibition against the first vote on the substantially changed text of a draft law amending the Constitution disregarded the prohibition, stemming from Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, on changing in substance, during the consideration in the Seimas, the content of a proposed draft law amending the Constitution, submitted by a group of not less than 1/4 of all the members of the Seimas or not less than 300,000 voters.
  2. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012) of the Statute of the Seimas, insofar as it does not establish the prohibition against any substantial changes made by the Committee on Legal Affairs to draft laws amending the Constitution that have been submitted by the subjects, specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution and does not establish the prohibition against the first vote on the substantially changed text of a draft law amending the Constitution, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution.

VII

  1. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution, a law (or part thereof) of the Republic of Lithuania or other act (or part thereof) of the Seimas, act of the President of the Republic, act (or part thereof) of the Government may not be applied from the day of the official publication of the decision of the Constitutional Court that the act in question (or part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution.
  2. In the constitutional justice case at issue it has been held that the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, in view of the manner of its adoption, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution. It means that, as from the day of the official publication of this ruling, the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution, inter alia, also Paragraph 2 of Article 125 of the Constitution, may not be applied.
  3. In view of the overall constitutional legal regulation, inter alia, the constitutional status of the Bank of Lithuania, it needs to be emphasised that the recognition that the Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution is in conflict with the Constitution does not mean that the wording of Article 125 of the Constitution that was valid prior to the entry into force of the said law will become effective again. Thus, it should be noted that that the Constitution does not provide for the exclusive right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency.
  4. It has been mentioned that the nature of the Constitution as an act of the supreme legal power itself and the idea of constitutionality imply that the Constitution may not have nor does it have any gaps or internal contradictions. Thus, after this ruling of the Constitutional Court has officially been published, there will not emerge any gap or inner conflict in the Constitution.

It has also been mentioned that Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution establishes the powers of the Seimas to pass laws; thus, this provision of the Constitution gives rise to the power of the Seimas to regulate the activities of the Bank of Lithuania by means of a law, inter alia, to regulate, by means of a law, the procedure of the organisation of the Bank of Lithuania and its powers, the status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, as well as the grounds of his or her dismissal.

It has also been mentioned that the provisions of Item 11 of Article 67 and Item 13 of Article 84 of the Constitution presuppose the procedure of the appointment and dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania according to which the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania is appointed and dismissed by the Seimas on the proposal of the President of the Republic.

  1. It needs to be emphasised that the legislature, when it regulates the activities of the Bank of Lithuania, inter alia, the procedure of the organisation of the Bank of Lithuania and its powers, the status of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, as well as the grounds of his or her dismissal, is bound by the Constitution.

The legislature must pay heed to the constitutional status of the Bank of Lithuania, according to which, a certain part of the competence of the Bank of Lithuania has been conferred on the ECB and the Bank of Lithuania is an integral part of the ESCB. In this context, it should be noted that such a constitutional status of the Bank of Lithuania implies that its competence in the monetary policy has been conferred on the ECB and that the Bank of Lithuania and the institute of the Chairperson of its Board enjoy corresponding guarantees; as mentioned before, the Constitution does not provide for the exclusive right of the Bank of Lithuania to issue currency.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should also be noted that the legislature, inter alia, must establish such grounds of the dismissal of the Chairperson of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania before the expiration of the law-established term of his or her powers that would only be related to the non-fulfilment of the law-established conditions required for the performance of his or her duties or to the fact that he or she has been guilty of serious misconduct, also, it must establish the legal regulation to the effect that the Bank of Lithuania would not enjoy its exclusive right to issue currency as from the day of the adoption of the euro in the Republic of Lithuania.

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

ruling:

  1. To recognise that the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Article 125 of the Constitution (wording of 25 April 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 48-1701), in view of the procedure of its adoption, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
  2. To recognise that Article 170 (wording of 15 March 2012; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2012, No. 34-1626) of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, insofar as it does not establish the prohibition against any substantial changes made by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania to draft laws amending the Constitution that have been submitted by the subjects, specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of the Constitution, that have the right to make a motion to amend the Constitution and does not establish the prohibition against the first vote on the substantially changed text of a draft law amending the Constitution, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 147 of 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:                            Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                                 Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                                 Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                 Vytas Milius

                                                                                                 Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                                 Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                 Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                 Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                                 Dainius Žalimas