An arbiter disliked by many, the Constitutional Court of Romania has issued a new implacable ruling.
Court judges ruled on Thursday that isolation at home, quarantine and
hospitalisation cannot be imposed based on ministerial order, even if the
persons in question are infected with the novel coronavirus. They say these
measures are restricting individual rights and freedoms and that imposing
restrictive measures can only be established by a law that clearly regulates them.
The ruling of the Constitutional Court comes after a complaint by the Ombudsman
referring to some provisions of a law on healthcare reform from 2006 and the government
emergency order on measures to prevent and combat the effects of the Covid-19
Prime minister Ludovic Orban says the persons
who find themselves in the situations covered by the Court's ruling will not,
however, be able to leave isolation or quarantine or ask the state for
compensation neither before nor after the Court publishes the justification of
its ruling in the Official Gazette. Ludovic Orban:
is currently a law adopted by Parliament, law no. 55, which establishes the
legitimacy of this measure. I don't understand why the Constitutional Court
prefers to look at a ministerial order or an emergency order adopted earlier
rather than at the legal basis for the state of emergency, the presidential
decree and the Parliament's approval of these measures. Where would Romania be
today if we hadn't been able to protect people's health by isolating those who
had come into contact with people who had tested positive or by isolating or
quarantining persons arriving from areas with high infection levels?"
Democratic Party in opposition says the government must urgently come up with a
bill to clearly regulate the conditions for quarantine, isolation and hospitalisation.
The interim Senate speaker and member of the Social Democratic Party Robert
Cazanciuc says the people who had to suffer may start filing complaints in the courts:
have kept asymptomatic persons in hospital for weeks, while chronic patients
were deprived of vital treatment. They imposed quarantine by ministerial order
although they were well aware that a law was needed for this. It was the
government's responsibility from the very beginning. It's the government's duty
to repair this abuse as soon as possible."
Constitutional Court also ruled in favour of the government, who did not submit
the extension to the state of alert to Parliament in mid-June. The Court says
Parliament does not have the right to validate or reject by vote a government
decision on the declaration of the state of alert because such a move would
affect the principle of the separation of powers.