Top court says mask and hand disinfection mandate unconstitutional

Ljubljana – The Constitutional Court has added the mask mandate introduced by the previous government in closed public spaces in 2020 to the list of unconstitutional measures related to the epidemic, again stressing that legislative changes as opposed to only decrees are necessary for such interventions.

Reviewing the decrees that mandated protective masks and hand disinfection in closed public space, the top court said on Monday that their provisions encroached on the general freedom of conduct secured by the constitution.

While agreeing the government has a constitutional duty to protect human health and life, including, if necessary, by interfering with human rights and fundamental freedoms, the court said such measures required an unequivocal legislative basis.

“It also has the duty to protect human health and life in a way that respects the democratic principles, rule of law principles and the principle of the division of powers,” the court wrote after voting 6:3 on the matter.

The measures were lifted during the court’s deliberation of the case, but the court said it decided to deliver a ruling also because “the case raises a particularly important precedent-setting question of constitutional law of a systemic nature, which could become relevant again in the event of a worsening of the epidemic circumstances”.

The decision comes after the top court also rejected as unconstitutional provisions restricting movement and assembly during the epidemic. It moreover said the government had failed to secure a legal basis for collecting personal data to determine Covid pass compliance, for restrictions on business operations, and also found fault with provisions on mandatory remote schooling.