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  • Interpretation
  • No.546
  • Date
  • 2002/05/31
  • Issue
    • Is J. Y. Yuan-Tze No. 2810, in interpreting to the effect that an administrative appeal should be denied if no substantive legal benefit exists, in violation of the Constitution?
  • Holding
    •       J. Y. Yuan-Tze No. 2810 provides, “In respect of the medical checkup or capability evaluation conducted to determine a person’s eligibility for taking an examination held pursuant to the Examination Act, a decision stating to the effect that an examinee failed the checkup or evaluation is no doubt an administrative action.  If the disposition is either illegal or improper, the examinee may file an administrative appeal according to Article 1 of the Administrative Appeal Act.  Nonetheless, if the disposition has become irremediable by the time the decision is made, the administrative appeal should not be accepted and thus should be dismissed pursuant to Article 7 of the Administrative Appeal Act since there is no substantive benefit for the administrative appeal.”  The foregoing interpretation is meant to explain that, in filing an administrative litigation, some necessity of protection of the right involved should exist.  In other words, it should be premised on the existence of litigated benefit.  If the infringed rights or legal interests of the litigant are irreparable or the legal status or other interests of the litigant are unrecoverable regardless of the outcome of a review or a trial, then there is no substantive benefit in proceeding with the litigation and/or conducting a substantive review.  However, the so-called irreparability or unrecoverability of infringed rights or interests despite the outcome of a review or a trial does not include such circumstances as the repetitive exercise of a recurrent right or legal interest by the people due to participation in or enjoyment of a system designed by the state.  Thus, where the competent authority disapproves a citizen’s application for candidacy for public office because such authority decided that he or she is not qualified, the applicant may initiate an administrative litigation against such decision.  Although the election has already been held, the outcome of a review or a trial will still produce substantive benefit for the applicant who may participate in another election and become a candidate for public office as long as that particular election system still exists. Thus, the people’s right to be elected is not only constitutionally protected but, in nature, can be exercised repeatedly.  The aforesaid situation varies substantially from such circumstances where there is no necessity of protection of rights.  Therefore, the competent courts shall still hear such lawsuits.  Supplemental opinions are thus given by this Court in respect of the interpretation at issue. 
      
  • Reasoning
    •       Under the Constitution, the people have the right to right to take public examinations and to hold public office.  The right to take public examinations refers to the right of those people who possess certain qualifications to register for state-administered examinations aimed at selecting and appointing public servants and for examinations admitting professionals and technical personnel.  On the other hand, the right to hold public office refers to the right of the people to assume various offices by law or through elections, thereby contributing to public service.  If any citizen claims that the public authority has infringed upon any of his or her rights mentioned above, he or she should be allowed to file a lawsuit before a court of law, which will deliberate and decide the case pursuant to law.  Only then will the legal principle be realized, which states, “Where there is a right, there is a remedy.” 
      
    •       J. Y. Yuan-Tze No. 2810 provides, “In respect of the medical checkup or capability evaluation conducted to determine a person’s eligibility for taking an examination held pursuant to the Examination Act, a decision stating to the effect that an examinee failed the checkup or evaluation is no doubt an administrative action.  If the disposition is either illegal or improper, the examinee may file an administrative appeal according to Article 1 of the Administrative Appeal Act.  Nonetheless, if the disposition has become irremediable by the time the decision is made, the administrative appeal should not be accepted and thus should be dismissed pursuant to Article 7 of the Administrative Appeal Act since there is no substantive benefit for the administrative appeal.”  The foregoing interpretation is meant to explain that, in filing an administrative litigation, some necessity of protection of the right involved should exist.  In other words, it should be premised on the existence of litigated benefit.  If the infringed rights or legal interests of the litigant are irreparable or the legal status or other interests of the litigant are unrecoverable regardless of the outcome of a review or a trial, then there is no substantive benefit in proceeding with the litigation and/or conducting a substantive review.  However, the so-called irreparability or unrecoverability of infringed rights or interests despite the outcome of a review or a trial does not include such circumstances as the repetitive exercise of a recurrent right or legal interest by the people due to participation in or enjoyment of a system designed by the state.  Therefore, even if the infringed right could not be restored to the status quo ante due to the passage of time despite the lawsuit brought by the litigant, similar events are still likely to occur in the future in light of the reasonable expectation, thus giving rise to the necessity of protection of the rights.  Remedies should be made available to the litigant so as to safeguard his or her rights and interests.  Where the competent authority disapproves a citizen’s application for candidacy for public office because such authority decided that he or she is not qualified, the applicant may initiate an administrative litigation against such decision.  Although the election has already been held, the outcome of a review or a trial will still produce substantive benefit for the applicant who may participate in another election and become a candidate for public office unless that particular election system no longer exists. Thus, the people’s right to be elected is not only constitutionally protected but, in nature, can be exercised repeatedly.  The aforesaid situation varies substantially from such circumstances where there is no necessity of protection of rights.  The competent courts accepting such cases shall still conduct substantive review of the cases.  If the original disposition, in disqualifying the applicants, is either illegal or improper, the original disposition or administrative appeal decision shall be revoked so that subsequent applications filed for elections of similar type will no longer be disapproved. 
      
    •       Additionally, in respect of the petitioner’s contention that the provisions of Article 35-I (ii) of the Public Officials Election and Recall Act, as well as Article 13-I of the Regulation Governing the Deliberation and Review of Administrative Appeals by the Administrative Appeal Review Committees of the Executive Yuan and Its Subordinate Agencies are in violation of the Constitution, this Court dismisses said petition according to Article 5-I (ii) of the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act because the said provisions are not the statute or regulation relied upon by the court of last resort in its final judgment.
      
    • *Translated by Vincent C. Kuan.
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