EKRE files court request to overturn government coronavirus orders

A coronavirus vaccination certificate displayed on a mobile phone. Certificates can also be printed out and carried on paper.
A coronavirus vaccination certificate displayed on a mobile phone. Certificates can also be printed out and carried on paper. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MPs have filed a request with the first-tier administrative court to annul the government's coronavirus orders, saying they violate several important constitutional provisions and illegally impose obligations on both private individuals and on business.

"We are taking this step because we can see that the current government has overstepped its powers and taken on a position of arbitrary power. already much harder," EKRE chair Martin Helme said.

Most coronavirus regulations since the pandemic began have been implemented via government order, rather than legislation, which would require voting at the Riigikogu.

The EKRE MPs singled out Government Order 305 as illegal, saying it is in conflict with several sections of the Constitution, as well as with various provisions of the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act (NETS) and the Law Enforcement Act.

The MPs say the measures and restrictions of the government order violate fundamental rights and freedom.

EKRE say that the restrictions imposed by the government on access to activities and events restrict the freedom of movement provided for in Article 34, and the freedom of assembly provided for in Article 47, of the Constitution.

The verification of human health data violates the privacy provided for in §26 of the Constitution, the EKRE MPs say. "It has been explained in the legal literature that informational self-determination means the right of everyone to decide for themselves whether and how much data about them is collected and stored, therefore the protection of personal data is one of the important areas of privacy protection," a press release stated.

EKRE states that the government order violates the right to equal treatment under Article 12 of the Constitution because, in case of non-vaccination, including after the expiry of the certificate of having suffered from the virus, people have to prove their infection safety by taking a test and paying for it with their own money whereas, vaccination is paid by the state and vaccinated people can enter public spaces and event without having to prove their infection safety.

EKRE said that the obligation to wear a protective mask also violates the privacy provided for in §26 of the Constitution because the scope of protection of this legal norm includes the physical self-determination or inviolability of persons.

The complainants say that the government cannot delegate the verification and identification of sensitive personal data to private companies.

"NETS stipulates that personal data may be processed in the public interest for the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, either by the health authority or, in special cases, by law enforcement," the complaint states.

"Identity checks are also delegated to private companies, they are obliged to check people's documents. According to NETS and the Law Enforcement Act, only the Health Board and the Police and Border Guard Board can establish identity in the exercise of state supervision. The law does not allow the government to authorize companies to carry through the identification check," the address continues.

The complainants further alleged that the government had violated the principles of proportionality, moderation and necessity for the functioning of the rule of law.

EKRE is being represented in court by the law firm Järve, Otti and Partnerid OÜ.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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