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Petition for constitutional interpretation of urban renewal act

2012/04/22 17:51:41

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Fifty-one lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang have signed a petition seeking a constitutional interpretation of the urban renewal act as guidance for future amendments to the controversial law, party Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang said Sunday.

The purpose of the petition is to examine whether the urban renewal act violates the constitution and whether the principle of majority rule is applicable to the act, said Lu, one of the legislators who signed the petition.

Current regulations under the urban renewal act allow developers to compulsorily purchase properties based on the principle of majority rule. However, the legal process and voting mechanism involved lacks protection for the minority, the petition states.

Moreover, the current regulations violate people's constitutional rights such as freedom of residence, which grants people the right to move freely and choose where they want to live, along with their right to existence, their right to work, and their right to own property, the petition adds.

In addition, the act allows developers to obtain construction licenses and begin the presale of houses without the consent of all the residents involved in a urban renewal project, while the fact that government agencies can forcibly demolish houses and relocate the owners violates basic rights under the constitution, according to the petition.

A re-examination of the urban renewal act was called for after the forced demolition of a house in Taipei's Shilin District at the end of March.

One of the homeowners' land was included in a redevelopment plan known as the "Wenlin Yuan" project without the family's consent, leading to questions of whether the forced demolition of the family home infringed upon the family's constitutional rights.

The legislators that passed the urban renewal act are now asking the Constitutional Court to interpret the urban renewal act to determine whether certain regulations violate constitutional rights, Lu added.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers led by Legislator Lin Shu-fen have also acquired enough signatures to petition for a constitutional interpretation of the urban renewal act.

(By Sherry Tang and C.J. Lin)