The Supreme Administrative Court rendered the 103-Pan-609 Administrative Decision on November 14, 2014 (hereinafter, the "Decision"), which interpreted Article 14, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 5 of the Land Law by stating that common public transportation roads are by nature non-negotiable property and shall not be transferred under private ownership. Therefore, the obligation act of the sale and the property act of ownership transfer of the land shall be invalid for violation of legal prohibitions.
According to the facts underlying the Decision, Wangan Village of Penghu County of Taiwan (hereinafter, "Wangan Village") sold all of the 22 parcels of land at issue to Chung-feng Lan, who is not a party to this lawsuit, and completed the transfer registration. Chung-feng Lan subsequently sold the 22 parcels of land at issue to the Appellant, and the transfer registration was completed by the Appellee, which was the Chung Cheng Land Office in Taichung. The Ministry of the Interior subsequently informed the Wangan Village Office that the lands were sold illegally and notified Taichung City Government to cancel the registration. The Appellee thus cancelled the registration of the 22 parcels of land at issue and restored the land ownership of the Wangan Village Office, who is not a party to this lawsuit, and informed the Appellee. Dissatisfied, the Appellant brought administrative action, which was rejected by the original decision, before this appeal was filed.
Article 4 of the Land Law provides: "The term 'public land' referred to in this Law shall denote land owned by by the State, the Municipality, the County (City), the District (Township, City." Article 14, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 5 provides: "The following lands shall not be privately owned: ...(5) public transportation roads." The first part of Article 71 of the Civil Code provides: "A juridical act which violates an imperative or prohibitive provision of the act is void"
According to this Decision, since common lands for "public transportation roads" are non-negotiable property by nature and are thus non-negotiable under Article 14, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 5 of the Land Law, they shall not be transferred under private ownership. Therefore, the act of the sale and the property act of ownership transfer of the public land violates legal prohibition, and the act involving the rights in rem such as ownership transfer will also become invalid since the object of the legal act is non-negotiable property and .
It was further determined in the Decision that since all of the 22 parcels of land at issue are urban lands, are all delineated as road lands and have been used for public transportation roads, they are lands for "public transportation roads" under Article 14, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 5 of the Land Law. Since they are by nature non-negotiable property and are thus non-negotiable, they shall not be transferred under private ownership and the obligation act of the sale and the property act of ownership transfer of the land is invalid for violation of relevant legal prohibitions. The Appellee's registration of the ownership transfer of the 22 parcels of land at issue to a private individual is invalid. The Appellee's cancellation of the ownership registration of the land at issue and restoration of the land ownership to the Wangan Village Office pursuant to a letter issued by the Ministry of the Interior to Taichung City Government are certainly appropriate pursuant to law. Therefore, the Appellant's appeal was rejected.