Sections of the main legislation as amended in response to the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional, a court ruled Tuesday, news portal Delfi reports. The same court also found in favor of close to 60 people who had filed complaints against the government over two government orders put in place in 2021, and which imposed restrictions relating to the pandemic.
The second-tier Tallinn Administrative Court found that Government Order No. 305, which required compliance with the requirements for participation in a wide-range of activities including sport, leisure, public events, entertainment and training specified in the order, was unlawful, Delfi reports (link in Estonian).
Judge Andreas Paukštys found the cause for imposing these restrictions to be insufficient, while the grounds they were based upon were not unambiguously demonstrable, he ruled.
The court found that measures could have been implemented reasonably and in concert with one another, with voluntary vaccination one of several possible measures.
The court also ruled that several sections of the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act (known colloquially by its Estonian acronym, NETS) concerning the imposition of restrictions on the transmission of a disease and of vaccination were also unconstitutional.
Tallinn Administrative Court also satisfied the complaints of 56 individuals who have disputed government restrictions on the Covid restrictions in connection with Government Order No. 305, in force from August 23 last year, and also Government Order 212, in force from May 25 last year.
Attorney-at-law Kalev Aavik and assistant attorney-at-law Jaanika Reilik-Bakhoff, acting for the 56 applicants, challenged the restrictions the government imposed last year, as well as the attendant health requirements.
All applicants had provided details on the reasons why the restrictions had made their lives more complicated, and unreasonably costly.
The activities covered by Order No. 305 included: Sports, hobbies, extra-curricular hobby education, on-the-job training and re-training, the use of public saunas, spas and swimming pools, attending public meetings and events, theater performances, concerts and cinema screenings, and attending the sales or service area of a catering business.
The requirements noted above constituted the various conditions that exempted applicants from restrictions imposed on their activities, such as coronavirus testing or producing a valid vaccination certificate.
The case is forwarded to the Supreme Court for constitutional review, Delfi reports.
The original Delfi piece (in Estonian) is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte