Article 6 of the Mass Rapid Transit Act, promulgated on July 1, 1988 (hereinafter the “MRTA” or the “Act”) provides: “Any land required for the mass rapid transit system may be expropriated . . . in accordance with the law.” (This provision has not been amended since the promulgation of the MRTA; hereinafter “Disputed Provision 1”.) Article 7, Paragraph 1, of the same Act provides: “In order to effectively utilize land resources and promote regional development, a local competent authority may, at its own initiative or in collaboration with private parties or groups, develop lands for fields, stations, and routes as well as lands adjacent to the mass rapid transit system.” (hereinafter “Disputed Provision 2”; the language of this Provision was revised on May 28, 1997, with the same meaning and purpose.) These are the applicable laws for the Joint Development Project of the Xindian Line Machine Plant of the Taipei Metropolitan Area Mass Rapid Transit System, under the auspices of the Taipei City Government (hereinafter the “Joint Development Project”). To address the need for lands under the said Project, the Taipei City Government (the petitioner for land acquisition) submitted to the Ministry of Interior for land expropriation on January 17, 1991, December 11, 1991, and April 15, 1992, respectively. The Ministry of Interior, in turn, approved the land expropriation by issuing memoranda Tai (80) Nei Di Zi No. 891630, dated January 24, 1991, Tai (80) Nei Di Zi No. 8007241, dated December 18, 1991, and Tai (80) Nei Di Zi No. 8104860, dated April 21, 1992. The plans for land expropriation in the abovementioned Nei Di Zi No. 891630 and Nei Di Zi No. 8007241 cited Article 208, Sub-paragraph 2, of the Land Act, Article 48 of the Urban Planning Law, Disputed Provision 1, and Article 7 of the MRTA as the legal basis. However, the detailed specifications for the Joint Development Project were announced and implemented on March 25, 1999; whereas the Taipei City Government approved the Joint Development Project on April 4 of the same year. The content of the Joint Development Project was not ascertained prior to those dates. Therefore, the Taipei City Government can hardly be deemed to have expropriated the lands at issue in accordance with Article 7, Paragraph 3, of the MRTA, which provides that “. . . (land) may be expropriated . . . if negotiations fail.” As for the plans for land expropriation in the abovementioned Nei Di Zi No. 8104860, Article 208, Sub-paragraph 2, of the Land Act, Article 48 of the Urban Planning Law, and Disputed Provision 1 were cited as the legal basis.
The Control Yuan found that (1) the competent authority’s combined application of Disputed Provisions 1 and 2, as well as the sale of expropriated lands, which have residential, commercial, and office buildings constructed thereon through joint development model, to private individuals are against the legislative design, where Disputed Provisions 1 and 2 are not supposed to be applied in tandem, and fail to be in conformity with the principle of the rule of law; and that (2) the MRTA does not specifically stipulate that the expropriated lands of the people may be converted to privately owned by way of “general expropriation” and joint development, and thus the Taipei City Government’s conversion of this type of lands to private individuals runs afoul with the principle that significant matters must be expressly stipulated by statutes. Accordingly, the Control Yuan proposed corrective measures against the Taipei City Government and requested the Executive Yuan to order its subordinate agencies to review and implement improvements (see Control Yuan 101 Jiao Zheng Zi No. 0017 Corrective Measures). The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which is the central competent authority specified in the MRTA, citing the 99 Su Zi No. 1587 judgment of the Taipei High Administrative Court, found that it is not against the law for the Taipei City Government to combine the expropriation and joint development process in tandem. That Ministry further found that the Ministry of Justice did not specifically hold that “joint development lands taken through expropriation may be transferred to private persons only when the law specifically stipulated as such” (see Ministry of Transportation and Communications Memorandum Jiao Lu Zi No. 1025005474, dated May 20, 2013). The Ministry of Interior, which is the agency that approved the expropriation of lands, found that there is no controversy over the transfer of jointly developed lands taken through expropriation to private individuals (see Ministry of Interior Tai Nei Di Zi No. 1020246881, dated July 10, 2013). After the Control Yuan initiated an investigation with Memorandum Yuan Tai Diao Yi Zi No. 1030800021 on January 21, 2014, the Executive Yuan commented on the aforementioned opinion of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Interior that the Executive Yuan “respects the inquisition by the relevant agencies in charges” (See item 3 of the Illustration in Executive Yuan Memorandum Yuan Tai Jiao Zi No. 1030133300, dated May 5, 2014, and Items I.4 (Regarding the Opinion of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications), I.5 and II.1 of the attached “Summarization Table in Response to Control Yuan’s April 18, 2014 Inquisition into the Joint Development of the Xindian Line Machine Plant of the Mass Rapid Transit System”. This Yuan subsequently issued a letter to the Executive Yuan inquiring whether the said “respect” mentioned by Executive Yuan in its aforementioned comment means that the opinion held by the Executive Yuan is consistent with the opinion of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and that of the Ministry of Interior, but different from the opinion of the Control Yuan (see Judicial Yuan Memorandum Yuan Tai Da Er Zi No. 1040024712). In response, the Executive Yuan indicated that it “does not hold a different opinion” from the opinion concluded and held by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Interior based upon each agency’s respective authority (see Item 2 of the Illustration of the Executive Yuan Memorandum Yuan Tai Jiao Zi No. 1040050323). In sum, it is apparent that the Control Yuan and the Executive Yuan, while exercising their authorities on relevant matters, disagreed on the combined application of Disputed Provisions 1 and 2, and whether lands expropriated in accordance with Disputed Provision 1 may be transferred to private individuals through joint development. This petition for a uniform interpretation by the Control Yuan is accepted as it has met the requirements prescribed under Article 7, Paragraph 1, Sub-paragraph 1 of the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act.
Disputed Provision 1, which requires the competent authority’s expropriation of needed lands for the construction of the mass rapid transit system be conducted in accordance with the relevant laws, is designed for the particular purpose of the construction of the mass rapid transit system rather than for the seeking of commercial interests. The objectives of Disputed Provision 2 are for the effective use of land resources, promotion of regional development, and the facilitation of acquiring construction budget for the mass rapid transit system (see Volume 77, No. 46, page 43 of the LEGISLATIVE YUAN GAZETTE). Accordingly, the joint development is for the effective use of land resources and, therefore, involves the sharing of commercial interests and risk-taking. While the competent authority assumes the ownership of the lands expropriated under Disputed Provision 1 in accordance with the relevant laws, the competent authority is not in the same position as an ordinary title owner, who may freely use, profit from, dispose of or exercise other rights over the land. Since the expropriation was for the particular purpose of the construction of the mass rapid transit system, the competent authority may not, under the same plan, process joint development on the said expropriated lands for economic utility in accordance with Disputed Provision 2. Nor is there any ground for the competent authority to transfer title of the expropriated lands to a third party. If there should be any change of circumstances so that the competent authority proposes to implement a subsequent joint development project, the competent authority shall do so in accordance with the relevant laws at such time.
Separately, the scope of the principle of statutory reservation is never limited to the limitations of fundamental rights of the people under Article 23 of the Constitution. While a government’s administrative measure does not directly limit the people’s freedom and rights, that government’s administrative measure should nevertheless be regulated by statutes if it involves significant matters such as public interest or fulfillment of people’s fundamental rights. In case the statute authorizes the competent authorities to promulgate supplemental regulations, such authorization shall be specific and precise (see J.Y. Interpretations Nos. 443, 614, 658, and 707). Having deprived the property right of the people for the purpose of public use or public interest, the competent authority, if subsequently being permitted to transfer title from what originally belonged to the people to a third party, is likely to cause the abuse of the expropriation power and concerns among the people over the profiteering of a particular third party. As such, in case of any change of circumstances, whereby the competent authority, by way of applying the relevant statutory provision at the time, should process and incorporate the needed lands being expropriated in accordance with Disputed Regulation 1 in the subsequent plan for joint development, the competent authority may carry out such action only if there have explicit regulations by law specifying that the competent authority may transfer [title] to the third party, so as to conform with the meaning and purpose of the protection on people’s property right under the Constitution.