Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 1 News List

MeHAS expropriation is unconstitutional: council

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The MeHAS City housing complex in New Taipei City’s Sindian District is pictured on Sept. 3.

Photo: Kuo Yi, Taipei Times

The Council of Grand Justices yesterday ruled that the Taipei City Government’s land expropriation to build the controversial MeHAS City (美河市) joint development housing complex in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) was unconstitutional.

The city government in 1991 expropriated 239 plots in Sindian to build the Xindian Depot close to the Mass Rapid Transit System’s (MRT) Xiaobitan Station to house machines for the Songshan-Xindian Line’s operations.

Substantial areas remained unused after the completion of the depot, and in 2007, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was the Taipei mayor at the time, contracted out the project to build MeHAS City to Radium Life Tech Co (日勝生).

The move sparked anger among landowners, who said that the city government seized more land than it needed at extremely low prices to boost public transportation, but later used their properties to build houses for profit.

More than 100 landowners appealed to the Judicial Yuan for a constitutional interpretation after their lawsuit against the city government failed earlier this year.

The council said that the land expropriated had not entirely been used for the MRT’s operations, and the expropriation therefore had infringed upon the public’s property rights.

The land seizure was carried out in accordance with articles stipulated in earlier versions of the Mass Rapid Transit Act (大眾捷運法) and the Mass Rapid Transit Land Development Act (大眾捷運系統土地開發辦法), which allowed the city government to seize the land according to the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例), it said.

The first two acts violate the principle of proportionality stipulated in Article 23 of the Constitution because they are contrary to the spirit of protecting people’s property and freedom of residence, and should no longer be cited until they are amended, it said.

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