Taichung Municipal Government processed “Modifying Major Parts of the Urban Planning Project for Taichung City (from Residential Area to an Area only for Medical Use) (by Ch’eng Ch’ing General Hospital, Chung Kang Branch)” (hereafter the Modification) based on Article 27, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 4 of the Urban Planning Act. The municipal government conducted public exhibition and townhall meetings. After the mandatory period of public exhibition, the Modification was sent to the Ministry of the Interior for approval. The Ministry of the Interior approved the Modification with Letter T’ai-Nei-Ying No. 0980801598 (hereafter referred to the Approval), and then the Taichung Municipal government promulgated and implemented the modification with Announcement No. 0980060884 on April 6, 2009.
The petitioners are ten residents and the management committee of K’ai Sa Chin Ti Residence, which is adjacent to, but not within the scope of the Modification. Petitioners contended that their residence is too close to the scope of the Modification, as the distance between their residence and the building in the hospital zone is only 1.5 meters. Moreover, the proposed Modification involved issues of the floor area ratio, parking space, and the receded outer limits of the base may affect their rights and interests. The petitioners initiated an administrative appeal against the Approval. The administrative appeal was dismissed, in part on the merits and in part procedurally. The petitioners then sued the Ministry of the Interior in Taichung High Administrative Court. Taichung High Administrative Court ruled in favor of the petitioners in the 101-Su Judgment No. 260, which revoked both the Approval and the decision of administrative appeal. The Ministry of the Interior and the Chung Kang Branch of the Ch’eng Ch’ing General Hospital appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled against the petitioners. The Supreme Administrative Court’s 103-P’an Judgment No. 114 held that the Judicial Yuan’s Interpretation No. 156 (hereinafter the subject Interpretation) could not in and of itself lead to the conclusion that the Urban Planning Act was intended to be a protective norm for a third party outside the scope of a modification of urban planning. Therefore, any third party outside the scope of a proposed modification of the urban planning project cannot seek judicial remedies on the ground that the modification of urban planning has infringed upon its rights or legal interests. Therefore, the Supreme Administrative Court overruled 101-Su Judgment No. 260 of Taichung High Administrative Court. The petitioners brought 103-P’an Judgment No. 114 of the Supreme Administrative Court, a final judgment, before this Court. The petitioners argued that the term “individuals in a particular area” in the subject Interpretation is unclear and ambiguous, causing the final judgment that misunderstood the subject Interpretation, which resulted in the dismissal of the suit brought by the petitioners. The final judgment infringed upon the petitioners’ right to seek judicial remedies, property right, and the freedom of residence. The petitioners, therefore, sought supplementary interpretation to the subject Interpretation by the Constitutional Court.
When a party raised an issue of application regarding the Judicial Yuan’s Interpretation applied in a final judgment and petitions this Court for a supplementary Interpretation, , if the Court considers that there is indeed lack of clarity in language, unsoundness in reasoning, or other legitimate reason, this Court should take and adjudicate the case. (See Interpretation Nos. 503, 741, 742 and 757.) The following are the reasons for this Interpretation:
Article 16 of the Constitution provides the right to judicial remedies in order that individuals have the right to seek remedies from courts when their rights or legal interests are infringed upon. According to the constitutional principle of “where there is a right, there is a remedy”, once individuals’ rights or legal interests are infringed upon, the state has responsibility to provide them with opportunities to receive timely and effective remedies through court litigation and fair trials in accordance with the due process of law.
The subject Interpretation states that “the modification made by a competent authority is a unilateral administrative action; if the modification directly limits the rights or interests of individuals living in a specific area or increases their burdens, then the modification has the nature of an administrative disposition” and that “if the administrative disposition causes inappropriate or illegal harm against particular persons or multiple persons who are identifiable, the victims may seek remedies through administrative appeals or administrative litigations.” The phrase “individuals living in a specific area” refers to the individuals living within the scope of a particular modification of urban planning. However, if the particular modification of urban planning infringes upon the rights or legal interests of individuals outside the scope of the particular modification of urban planning, given the constitutional principle that “where there is a right, there is a remedy”, such individuals should be entitled to seek remedies by way of administrative litigation, so that the individuals may vindicate their right to judicial remedies provided by Article 16 of the Constitution. The subject Interpretation should, therefore, be supplemented. It should be noted that the facts about whether the individuals’ rights or legal interests have been infringed upon should be decided in the context of the particular cases.
The petitioners also argued that Article 19, Paragraph 1 of the Urban Planning Act violates due process of law. Article 19, Paragraph 1 was cited by the final judgment, but it was only cited to explain whether particular citizens or groups may or may not rely on Article 19, Paragraph 1 to claim that they have rights or legal interests against state agencies. In other words, the question of whether Article 19, Paragraph 1 violates due process of law is irrelevant to the final result of the judgment. Therefore, the petition on this issue does not meet the procedural requirements set out in Article 5, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 2 of the Constitutional Court Procedure Act, and, therefore, it should be dismissed in accordance with Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Constitutional Court Procedure Act.
*Translated by Chi CHUNG