Nationalization of irrigation bodies turned out to be constitutional

“No Violation”:
The Cabinet received support from the Constitutional Court that the old irrigation association system was not based on constitutional rights.

  • Wu Cheng-feng, Chang Wen-chuan, Jake Chung / staff reporter, staff writer

The nationalization of 17 irrigation cooperatives under Taiwan’s Irrigation Department in July 2020 did not violate the constitution, the Constitutional Court ruled yesterday.

The move violates neither the principle of legal clarity guaranteed by Article 14 of the constitution, nor the people’s freedom of association, said the head of the Constitutional Court, Judicial Yuan Heo Zongli. said the governor.

Su said the nationalization process did not violate property rights, nor did it violate the principle of non-retroactivity or justifiable expectations.

Photo: Tsung Chang-chin, Taipei Times

Lawmakers from the Nationalist Party of China (KMT) said nationalizing irrigation cooperatives under the Irrigation Law was disproportionate and amounted to stealing from the public.

The Irrigation Agency was established without amending the Act on the Organization of the Agriculture Council (Executive Yuan Agriculture Committee Ordinance). law). said the legislator.

The agency was established by executive order rather than following due process, they said.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, the Taoyuan Water Conservancy, said the act violated members’ freedom of association, violated their property rights and endangered their livelihoods.

The Executive Yuan refuted this claim, stating that water users’ associations are public corporations that exercise indirect administrative oversight on behalf of the government.

For this reason, the old WUA system was not based on constitutional rights and WUAs cannot seek basic constitutional guarantees, the cabinet said.

According to the Taiwan Agriculture Council, Taiwanese expect improved food safety and fair and efficient use of water, given that farming practices are changing amid concerns about climate change. increase.

These are expectations that irrigation associations, many of which were plagued by financial and administrative problems, could no longer meet, the council said.

The need to nationalize the association into a government agency is urgent and necessary, it said.

The government has initiated dialogue with associations and the general public to ensure they are involved in all stages of the transition, the council added.

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