“Our argument is that there are no land plots.” The Ministry of State Property disputes the decisions of the courts on land titling for large families

9 April 2021

In November 2020, the Yoshkar-Ola City Court ordered the Ministry of State Property of Mari El Republic to grant land plots to a large family and a family with a child with a disability free of charge during 2021. According to the law, these families apply for the land plot in an extraordinary order, but the Ministry filed appeals against both decisions, citing the fact that there are no land plots available. Read more in the article.

A family from Mari El Republic with three children applied for a land plot in December 2015, the allocation of a free plot of land for large families is regulated by the Land Code of Russia, Article 39.5.


The law of the Republic of Mari El also prescribes this right. According to Article 9 of the law “On the Regulation of Land Relations in the Republic of Mari El”, large families in need of housing can receive a free land plot out of turn.


Another family, in which a child with a disability lives, was registered by the Ministry of State Property as applying out of turn in May 2019.


Both families still haven’t received their land plots. Without waiting for the ministry to fulfill its obligations, they went to court.


In 2020, the interests of a family with a child with a disability were represented by a lawyer from the regional public organization for assistance to large families “Big Family”. The organization won a presidential grant to provide free legal aid. “Big Family” helped the family to draw up a statement of claim, which the city court granted, obliging the Ministry of State Property to issue land plots by 1 January, 2022. 


The interests of the first mentioned family, registered in 2015, were represented by the lawyer of NGO “Man and Law” Dmitry Yalikov. 


With the end of 2020, the grant of the “Big Family” ended, but the case did not, so the interests of the second family are now also protected by Dmitry Yalikov. 


In January 2021, the Ministry of State Property filed appeals to the Supreme Court, in which it points out that the allocation of land plots to these families is required by law, if possible, and the Ministry does not have land plots available and cannot issue them during 2021. It also cannot make the necessary additions to the republican budget, since the budget is made by the Ministry of Finance. The defendant believes that the families should wait for the opportunity to appear, and demands to increase the period for granting land plots.


The Russian Constitution defines our state as a social state. Article 38 provides that motherhood and childhood are protected by the State — this is also stated in the decisions of the court of first instance in the described cases. Despite this, the government of Mari El Republic, represented by the Ministry of State Property, forces large families and families with a child with a disability to wait for years: some of them for 2 years, and some of them already for 5 years. 


Dmitry Yalikov explains why the ministry should fulfill its obligations and grant land plots before the beginning of 2022:


— The decision of the city court on the obligation of the Republic of Mari El to provide land plots before 1 January, 2022 entered into force on 11 March  of this year and must be executed. The right to receive a free land plot was not disputed by the defendant in court, it only disagreed with the deadline for granting the land plot. We hope that the families will be provided with land plots in a timely manner, and they will not have to conduct further litigation in higher courts on the initiative of the defendant. Federal and regional legislation obliges state bodies to provide land plots to privileged categories of citizens (large families, families with children with disabilities, etc.) free of charge and out of turn. It is worth noting that the plaintiffs were forced to apply for judicial protection, since after being put on the waiting list, they were not given land plots for several years.                  


At the end of 2017, a story about the village of Apshakbelyak (also known as the “village of large families”) was told on TV by the Mari El TV and Radio station. It was said that some large families received land plots there, but only the first line of families (out of 3, at that time) had the infrastructure. The land plots began to be distributed in 2013-2014 as part of the state program, valid until 2022, which was also described in the TV program. 


The government of the republic was not able to solve the problem of the infrastructure of the village and, apparently, came to the idea that it was better to stop granting land plots.


Co-chairman of NGO “Man and Law” Sergei Poduzov:


– On 29 May 2017, the President of Russia signed Decree No. 240 “On the declaration of the Decade of Childhood in the Russian Federation”. This decree says that in order to improve the state policy in the field of child protection, the decade of childhood has been declared until 2028. According to the document, state authorities should make every possible effort to fulfill their obligations to children and families with children, to create conditions to exercise the rights of the child in each region of the country.


Let’s pay attention to the scale of the problem that exists in Mari El Republic and which concerns the allocation of land plots in the region. As of 5 February 2021, according to the monitoring of the formation of regional consolidated registers of citizens entitled to free provision of land plots on the territory of the republic, there were 2,606 large families which were not provided with free land plots.


In 2018, 91 large families received land plots; in 2019, only 50 families were able to exercise this right.


Two court proceedings that took place in favor of large families, an attempt to appeal by the Ministry of State Property of the republic and the presence of a queue in the region of 2606 families at the beginning of February 2021 indicate that the regional authorities are not in a hurry. And why they need to rush if there are still 7 years left before the end of the decade of childhood. But large families need to be helped now. We will try to organize public control to make the decade of childhood in terms of providing land plots come faster.

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