For The Annulment Of Certain Provisions Of Law No. 95/1999 Coll.

Original Language Title: návrh na zrušení některých ustanovení zákona č. 95/1999 Sb.

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80/2000 Coll.

Constitutional Court
On behalf of the Czech Republic

The Constitutional Court decided on 15 March 2000 in plenary on the proposal
group of deputies to annul part of § 4 para. 2 sentence after the semicolon
expressed by the words "this legal person may not acquire agricultural land above
in § 5 para. 4 "of § 7 para. 1 point. d)
expressed by the words "point. a)" and the provisions of § 8. 1
expressed by the words "point. a), b) and d)" Law no. 95/1999 Coll., on the transfer | || agricultural and forest land from state ownership to other persons and
amending Act no. 569/1991 Coll., on land Fund of the Czech Republic,
amended, and Act no. 357/1992 Coll. inheritance tax,
gift tax and real estate transfer tax, as amended


The petition is denied.


On 14 June 1999, the group of 54 deputies of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament
represented in proceedings before the Constitutional Court
JUDr. Zdenek Koudelka and Ing. Ladislav Skopal, for the annulment of
§ 4 para. 2 sentence after the semicolon in the words "this
legal person may not acquire agricultural land referred to in § 5 para. 4
" of § 7 para . 1 point. d) the words "point. a)" and
provisions of § 8. 1 in the words "point. a), b) and d)" Law no. 95/1999
Coll., on conditions for the transfer of agricultural and forest land from property
state to other persons and amending Act no. 569/1991 Coll., on land Fund
Czech Republic, as amended, and Act no. 357/1992
Coll. on inheritance tax, gift tax and tax on transfer of real estate
, as amended. The law was published in the Official Gazette
on 25 May 1999. A group of MPs in its proposal
argues that the law violates the constitutionally guaranteed equality of forms of ownership
constitutionally unacceptable and unjustified preferences agribusiness
independent farmers and
business discriminates against legal persons, guaranteed by Art. 11 and 26 of the Charter of fundamental rights and freedoms (
"Charter"). The petitioners point out that the Act establishes
condition that public land can only be sold to a natural person or a community with very limited exceptions
sale of the plots also
legal persons. According to § 7 para. 1 of the Act Land Fund may sell agricultural land
authorized persons (according to the Land Act), also self
farmers who demonstrably run agricultural production
least two years on land with an area of ​​at least 10
hectares in the cadastral municipality or the adjacent area, which includes the land earmarked for sale
, members of cooperatives, respectively. shareholders of company,
who run agricultural production for at least two years to land in or adjacent
cadastral municipality, and finally individuals
Czech nationality, which holds at least 10 hectares of agricultural land in that territory
. According to the explanatory memorandum to the law it is a sale
about 500,000 hectares of agricultural land in the privatization of state agricultural

According to the petitioners, it is of course freely available
owner to sell their property to anyone within private law, in this case
governed by the Civil Code. It is obvious that the same contractual
freedom has happened is that in private law relationships
acts as a legal entity (§ 21 BGB). Different situation arises
if the state wants to modify the sale of his property a special law which
as statutory law enters into contractual freedom guaranteed
Civil Code. This situation is different according to the petitioners, occurs when
become the way the law by directive regulates the conditions of the purchase contract on the part
buyer who is not a public corporation. Of course, the state can
restrict the acquisition of property, but only upon proof of public interest.
Otherwise inappropriate uses of public regulation type classically
private-legal field. Here, the petitioners refer to the Constitutional Court
which similarly expressed the inadmissibility of interference in the form of municipal
generally binding regulations in private relations (Judgments. Nos. Pl.
US 14/93 and Pl. US 29/93) .

In this case, the state restricted the right to apply for the purchase of state-owned agricultural land
and excluded from access to state property legal entities. Said

Attitude of the state, however, is inconsistent with Art. 11 of the Charter, which allows
exclusivity of ownership for residents and restricts some property just
designated person. The condition of such a restriction is to protect the public interest
state. The state has certainly free within private relations
voluntarily choose other hand, for the purchase contract for the sale of land
under the Civil Code accede However, if statutory regulation and
selection of people who are allowed to apply for the transfer of state property
not do so arbitrarily, but only in justified cases, while
law must be durable and binding on third parties who
may in the future acquire ownership of a given subject or not to acquire.

The provisions of § 4, paragraph 1 of which allows the acquisition
ownership of all state citizens, but in paragraph 2
effectively exclude legal entities with very limited exception, in the opinion of the petitioners
violation of equal ownership forms. The acquisition
ownership is permitted only legal persons who are owners of those buildings
law affected land, which belongs to the original
farmhouses or serve agricultural production and related
water management - not just only for the acquisition of these built
land. If you have not Land Fund as described in § 6 and 7 of the Act
all plots by price regulation, may sell the remaining land in
public tender on the basis of free pricing persons under § 4
paragraph. 1 point. a), b) and d), ie. not legal persons. Completely constitutional
would have been an admission of legal persons domiciled
in the Czech Republic or whose members or partners are not
strangers or homeless, so as to guarantee equality between natural persons and
juridical persons. In the explanatory memorandum of the Act is not discriminatory attitude
neither well justified. In the general part
explanatory memorandum to the draft law, this essential element in the law almost
not paying attention, in part special then this issue
petitioner expresses inconsistently.

At the end of its proposal, the appellants submit that do not seek complete freedom
sale of state land to all legal persons but only those that already own
farmhouses and buildings used for agricultural production or related
water economy, while ownership of real estate
with us, with the exception of inheritance restricted to domestic entities.
Formal inequality is associated with material inequalities when
sale of land under this law will be implemented on a large scale and on favorable terms


After finding that there were no grounds for rejecting a petition under § 43
Act no. 182/1993 Coll., On the Constitutional Court, as amended, nor
for stopping proceedings under § 67 of the same Act, the proposal was in line with
§ 69 of this Act, be sent to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
request for comment.

Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic through its
chairman said in its statement that the explanatory memorandum to the Act
states that the basic aim of the law is no financial effect of the sale of state
farmland, but the privatization of these land for natural
entities doing business in agricultural production and also the transfer of land
through municipalities for public benefit purposes, and housing.
Only in case of selling the plots to the owners of buildings allows
sales and corporate entities. The reason is the unification of the ownership of land and buildings
. The aim of the contested provisions in these cases was to reduce
legal entity acquiring state land and prefer natural persons
already run agricultural production, either personally or through
legal entities, which are members or associates. This law
set further conditions justified the need for effective management in agriculture
. In this case you can also identify with the understanding
constitutional principle of equality, as expressed in decision no. 11/1992
Collection of the Constitutional Court of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic
: "It is certainly to the state, in order to ensure its functions
decided that certain groups will provide fewer benefits than others. Even here, however
not proceed completely arbitrarily. If the legislature determines
favor one group and at the same time sets disproportionate obligations on another, it may be

So only with reference to the public good. "Therefore, there is reason
believe that the statutory restrictions on the acquisition of property rights
not contrary to the provisions of Article. 11 and 26 of the Charter.
|| | in this state of affairs can not, in the opinion of the Chamber of Deputies
Czech Republic, but to express the opinion that the legislature acted in
belief that the law is in conformity with the Constitution, the constitutional order
Czech Republic and our law. Moreover, it follows from the observations
party law was approved by the necessary majority of deputies
Chamber of deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on 1 April 1999 and
April 28, 1999 was approved by the required majority of senators of the Senate || | Parliament of the Czech Republic, was signed by the appropriate constitutional authorities
and was duly published.

Czech Senate to the group of deputies expressed
through its President. He stated that the exclusion of domestic corporate
persons engaged in agricultural production, the possibility to acquire
state agricultural land has been the subject of extensive discussions at
discussing the bill in the Senate. During the debate the draft bill were
this draft criticized for shortcomings in the regulatory and legislative
technical nature, notably a lack of cohesion and dissonance
individual provisions of the bill and the lack of links with other
legislation; However, the law was finally passed by the Senate.

In the opinion of the Senate exclusion of legal persons (with two exceptions)
of options to acquire state agricultural land and gratuitous transfer
exclusion of legal persons from the possibility of buying
state agricultural land (unless the owners, respectively.
co-owners of buildings or residential, economic or other buildings belonging to the original
farmhouses or serving agricultural production, or it
related to water management) and related preferences
individuals who already run agricultural production or
are members or associates of legal entities engaged in agricultural production or
already own some acreage of farmland, the legislature
determine its strategic interest, and to whom priority of his supreme will will cost
ownership of land transferred to the present.

Czech Senate approved the bill at its fourth meeting
, in a vote in which the 67 senators present voted in favor
to 40 for the bill. It must therefore express the opinion that
second chamber of the Czech Parliament had acted in the belief that
adopted Act is consistent with the Constitution of the Czech Republic and
with the Czech Constitution and our legal order.


After reviewing the draft Constitutional Court came to the conclusion that there are no
grounds for annulment of the contested provisions of Law no. 95/1999 Coll.

The petitioners argue inconsistent with Art. 11 of the Charter, and that argument by pointing
specify the guaranteed equality of forms of ownership, which
however, in their opinion, were violated by the possibility of acquiring
state land are, in fact, to minor exceptions excluded
legal persons. Limitations specified in the opinion of the petitioners
unconstitutionally discriminated against legal persons in the agricultural business.

The general reference to Art. 11 of the Charter, however, captures the sense of constitutional
regulation of property rights only partially. In the first paragraph of Article. 11
Charter is contained enhanced the general clause guaranteeing the right to acquire
property and protection of property rights already acquired. In the second, third and fourth
paragraph of the same article then expressed content, method and
range limitation of property rights, where the public interest, respectively.
General interest justifies, and in this context also expressed the possibility
Act provide that certain things can only be owned by citizens
or legal persons established in the country.

Procedure chosen legislator, ie. A decision that the state as the owner will
agricultural and forest lands converted to a legally defined entities
is not in conflict with the constitutional principles of Article. 11 paragraph. 1 of the Charter, which is protected | || ownership rights only in the case, if it is a property right
already existing, and not just the alleged entitlement, whether this claim
leaning on any legal grounds. It follows that a mere dispute about ownership
in which the emergence of property rights has yet to be granted or

Such a law itself has yet to be constituted, it is not constitutionally protected.
Act concerning the conditions of transfer of agricultural and forest land from property
state to other persons no bodies, including legal persons from the possibility
own the land once and for all and not exclude legal persons
such case generally prohibits owning land. It is only the will of the state as a sovereign
owner of the land to decide to whom priority
its ownership transferred free of charge, or who sells the land.

In another argument, the petitioners While admitting that the state as everyone
owner has the right to freely dispose of their property, and even
admit that it has full freedom to adapt the procedure before a purchase
contracts on its side. In their opinion, but not to lay down such conditions
law but only norm of lesser legal force under the applicable legal provisions
. In this context, the appellants refer to the findings of the Constitutional Court
. Nos. Pl. US 14/93 and Pl. US 29/93 (Collection of
resolution of the Constitutional Court, Volume 1, pp. 83 et seq., And p. 95 et seq.)
In which the Constitutional Court expressed the view that generally binding decrees
municipalities can not stipulating the rights and obligations beyond the law to interfere in the private relations
. Outlined the analogy of the judgments of the Constitutional Court
the present case, however, is not lying. These findings are related
generally binding municipal ordinances on which the Constitutional Court ruled
under Article. 87 paragraph. 1 point. b) of the Constitution of the Czech Republic, and has
due to the fact that they have been dealt with entirely different situation, it is not solving the issue
applied by analogy, how about it petitioners
attempt. In this case, far from being merely an adjustment process
before concluding a purchase contract, but overall the transfer of ownership
respect to the conditions laid down in the Charter. According to paragraph 2 of Article. 11
Charter law may provide that certain things can be only
owned by citizens or legal persons registered in the Czech Republic.
The state can certainly lower the legal standard under the Act to modify what the petitioners called
procedure before concluding a purchase contract.
This does not contradict the fact that it is the only legislature that can route Act
general way interfere with the regulation of property relations
while respecting the public interest provided for in Article. 11 paragraph. 2, 3, 4 Charter
which in this case happened. In the same sense, expresses
paragraph 2 Art. 1 of the Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
whereby Member States have the right to "... take
laws as they deem necessary, to control the use of property in
accordance with the general interest. "

The state undoubtedly has the right to the transfer, respectively. the sale of its assets in large-scale
follow not only the general principles of the Civil Code
in individual cases, but also to adapt the general law
specific conditions for the transfer of ownership of all cases, and it
focus on common interests the whole society, the respect of Article. 11
paragraph. 2, 3 and 4 of the Charter requires. The explanatory notes to the Act and the
stenographic record of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic
clear that the bill was alleged that the sale of state land has
taking into account the general interest aimed at "finding more responsible | || owner in the hope that it will be a good housekeeper. "
Proposal was based on the notion that it is in the public interest that the land was given priority
into the hands of those who work there and who have a personal interest in building
own economic existence and achieve their own prosperity.
Opposite the open sale to any legal person opens preferably
space speculative purchases of financially strong groups.
Why the law provides that the Land Fund may sell agricultural land
authorized persons according to the law of the land, as well as to private farmers and cooperatives
members, respectively. Trading Companies who meet the conditions laid down by law
, as well as persons in the area
own at least 10 hectares of agricultural land and buildings which belong to the land
intended for sale.

Preferred conversion of agricultural land to natural persons
self-employed farmers, thus justifying state efforts to safeguard the proper
tillage and reduce the possibility of land speculation. This goal is
constitutional, even if the material selected for its fulfillment can not

Surely eventual speculative transfers in the future to avoid completely.
The law does not exclude even after all other land sales to property other than
entities in the Act, including the property
legal persons.

Petitioners' arguments that touch the rights of business (Art. 26
paragraph. 1 of the Charter) and the alleged discrimination legal entities operating in
agriculture must also be rejected. Art. 26 paragraph. 1 of the Charter guarantees everyone
'right to engage in commercial and economic activity. "
Wording of the contested provision can not be any interpretation
come to the conclusion that some of the players in this law somehow
limited. Right business does not in itself qualify for
means and facilities necessary for the selected type

Art. 11 of the Charter as well as Art. 26 paragraph. 2 of the Charter are an expression
overall concept of the rule of law in the Czech Republic. Although explicitly
any constitutional document Czech Republic does not state that "
social rule of law", in fact, as in many western countries
her entire constitutional and legal system based on the principle that the property | || agrees and is limited to general interests protected by law (Art. 11 paragraph. 3
Charter), and the possibility of state intervention in the regulation of property rights in public
respectively. the general interest. If such an adjustment in the public interest
occurs, but it is by no means an intervention in the "equality
forms of ownership", as claimed by the petitioners. Constitutional and legal system of the Czech Republic
refuses to classify different values ​​and a different level of legal protection
what was described as a totalitarian regime
"various types and forms of ownership." For that reason, we do not see
Constitutional Court, the petitioners' efforts after the "equality of forms of ownership" under reasonable
current constitutional order. It is based on a universal concept
property, which is subject to modification by law protected
general interests.

The Constitutional Court did not find that the contested provisions of the Act were
violation of fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and international treaties under Article
. 10 of the Constitution. Therefore the Constitutional Court for the annulment
certain provisions of the Act no. 95/1999 Coll., On conditions of transfer
agricultural and forest land from state ownership to other persons and
amending Act no. 569/1991 Coll. Land Fund of the Czech Republic,
amended, and Act no. 357/1992 Coll., on inheritance tax,
gift taxes and real estate transfer tax, as amended
regulations rejected (§ 82 para. 1 of Act no. 182/1993 Coll.).

Chairman of the Constitutional Court:

Pp. JUDr. Holeček vr

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