Lt

On dismissing legal proceedings in a case

Case No. 14/2010

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 DECISION

ON THE DISMISSAL OF THE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE CASE SUBSEQUENT TO PETITION NO. 1B-14/2010 OF A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 15 (WORDING OF 1 JULY 2008) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE RECONCILIATION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INTERESTS IN THE STATE SERVICE WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 5 July 2013

Vilnius

 

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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at the procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court considered petition No. 1B-14/2010 of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Paragraph 1 of Article 55 and Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

  1. A group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law on the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service “in view of the content and the extent of regulation, is not in conflict with the constitutional principles of an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law; with Article 1 of the Constitution providing that the State of Lithuania shall be an independent democratic republic; with Article 2 of the Constitution providing that the State of Lithuania shall be created by the Nation and sovereignty shall belong to the Nation; with Article 3 of the Constitution providing that no one may restrict or limit the sovereignty of the Nation or make claims to the sovereign powers belonging to the entire Nation; with Paragraph 1 of Article 55 of the Constitution providing that the Seimas shall consist of representatives of the Nation—141 members of the Seimas who shall be elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot, and with Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution providing that the members of municipal councils shall be elected for a four-year term, as provided for by law, from among citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and other permanent residents of the administrative unit by the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and other permanent residents of the administrative unit, on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.”

This petition was received at the Constitutional Court on 23 March 2010.

  1. By the Ordinance (No. 2B-48) of the President of the Constitutional Court of 2 April 2010, subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, the preparation of case No. 14/2010 for the Constitutional Court’s hearing commenced.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, impugns the compliance of Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law of the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service (hereinafter also referred to as the Law) with the Constitution.

The impugned Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law prescribed: “Persons in the state service who are recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts as violators of the requirements of this Law may not be given incentives, promoted for a year following the day the violation has come to light, and in case of expiration of their official duties on any grounds may not be accepted to the state service for three years following the day the violation has come to light.”

  1. On 12 June 2012, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 18 and 22 of the Law on the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service which came into force on 27 June 2012, Article 9 whereof amended the impugned Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) and set it forth in a new wording. Article 15 (wording of 12 June 2012) of the Law prescribed:

“1. Persons in the state service who are recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts as violators of the requirements of Section 2 of this Law may not be given incentives for a year following the day the violation has come to light. Persons in the state service who are recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts as violators of the requirements of Item 6 of Article 3 of Section 1 of this Law may not be given incentives, admitted, promoted or elected to higher positions for a year following the day the violation has come to light. Persons in the state service who are recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts as violators of other requirements of this Law may not be given incentives, admitted, promoted or elected to higher positions for a year following the day the violation has come to light, whereas the persons who have been dismissed from office for violation of this Law, may not be admitted, appointed or elected to office in the state service for three years following the day of their dismissal from office.

  1. For the persons who work in the state service, also other restrictions and prohibitions may be established linked to the violation of the requirements of this Law, the Law on Prevention of Corruption, the Law on the State Service, the Code of Conduct for Politicians or any other legal act regulating the norms of professional ethics and conduct.”
  2. It needs to be noted that, in comparison with the impugned legal regulation, in Article 15 (wording of 12 June 2012) of the Law there remained the same established measures for violations of the requirements of this Law, however, the grounds of their application changed. Only one measure has been established for violations of certain requirements of this Law—a prohibition against giving incentives for a year following the day the violation has come to light to the persons who work in the state service who have been recognised in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts as the ones that committed those violations. The ground for the application of the prohibition to the persons who are recognised as violators of the requirements of this Law from being admitted, appointed or elected to office in the state service for three years following the day of dismissal from office has changed as well. It was also established that other laws may include other restrictions and prohibitions linked to the violations of the requirements of the legal acts regulating the norms of professional ethics and conduct.

Thus, after the Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 18 and 22 of the Law on the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service had come into force, the legal regulation consolidated in Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, became no longer effective. Article 15 (wording of 12 June 2012) of the Law has consolidated the legal regulation whose contents is different in substance.

  1. Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that the annulment of the disputed legal act shall be the grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings and if this becomes clear before the beginning of the judicial hearing, the Constitutional Court shall decide this question in the deliberation room.

In its acts the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the formula “shall be the grounds <...> to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings” of Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court is to be construed as establishing the powers of the Constitutional Court, in cases, when not courts, but other subjects specified in Article 106 of the Constitution apply to the Constitutional Court, and the impugned legal act (part thereof) is no longer effective—it is recognised as no longer valid (annulled or amended) or its validity has ended, to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings upon taking account of the circumstances of the case at issue (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003, 28 March 2006, 21 September 2006, 22 June 2009, 31 March 2010, 28 May 2010, and 2 May 2012).

As mentioned before, a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law with the Constitution.

  1. While taking account of the arguments set forth, the instituted legal proceedings subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Law with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Paragraph 1 of Article 55 and Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of an open, just and harmonious civil society and a state under the rule of law are to be dismissed.

Conforming to Article 28 and Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

To dismiss the instituted legal proceedings in case No. 1B-14/2010 subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 15 (wording of 1 July 2008) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Reconciliation of Public and Private Interests in the State Service with Articles 1 and 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3, Paragraph 1 of Article 55 and Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law.

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                   Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                                       Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                                       Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                                       Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                       Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                                       Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                       Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                       Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis