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Content updated: 17-08-2022 11:17

On the right of the National Public Health Centre to assign binding measures to employees for the control of communicable diseases in humans

21-06-2022

Having considered the case subsequent to the petition submitted by a group of members of the Seimas, by its ruling of 21 June 2022, the Constitutional Court declared the provision “When a state-level emergency situation and/or quarantine are/is declared due to a communicable disease and an outbreak of this disease is detected at a workplace, the employees specified by the National Public Health Centre shall be allowed to work ... after the implementation of other measures for the control of the communicable disease assigned to these employees by the National Centre for Public Health” of paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 23 March 2021) of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases in Humans (hereinafter referred to as the Law) to be not in conflict with the Constitution. This is the first case to deal with the constitutionality of the legal regulation relating to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Constitutional Court noted that, contrary to what was maintained by the petitioner, there are no grounds for holding that the impugned legal regulation delegates to the National Public Health Centre the right to impose other compulsory measures for the control of communicable diseases on the employees specified by the National Public Health Centre, since neither the impugned legal regulation, nor other provisions of the Law or other laws confer the powers on the National Public Health Centre to adopt such measures, i.e. in the event of an outbreak of a certain communicable disease in the workplace, the National Public Health Centre may only apply the communicable disease control measures laid down in the Law and the substatutory legal acts implementing it.

In the ruling of the Constitutional Court, it was also held that, under paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 23 March 2021) of the Law, as interpreted in conjunction with paragraph 12 (wording of 20 September 2016) of Article 2 of the Law, other measures for the control of the communicable disease than checking the employee for the presence of a communicable disease for which a state-level emergency and/or quarantine has been declared, which may be assigned for the specified employees by the National Public Health Centre if an outbreak of this disease is detected at a workplace, are defined in the Law: these include organisational, technical, economic, epidemiological and other medical measures, but only those measures that meet the criterion laid down by the law – enable the reduction and/or eradication of the communicable disease, the outbreak of which has been detected in the workplace, as well as the prevention of the spread of those diseases. Consequently, there are no grounds for stating that the Law does not lay down any conditions or criteria to be met by the other measures for the control of communicable diseases imposed by the National Public Health Centre under the impugned legal regulation, the implementation of which allows the workers specified by the National Public Health Centre to work.