The Dutch government has appealed against a court ruling on Tuesday which ordered it to scrap a night curfew on the grounds that it lacked any legal basis.
The caretaker government of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte has asked the court to suspend its verdict until the appeals case is heard in full on Friday. Late on Tuesday, the lower court accepted the appeal.
Rutte has asked the public to continue respecting the 9pm – 4.30am curfew pending the result of the appeal, arguing that the curfew “is a means, not an end.”
The Hague District Court’ ruling marked a major blow to the government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, which was supporting that the movement restriction was necessary to prevent a surge of new infections due to the more contagious new variants of the virus.
However, the court ruled the curfew measure was passed with an emergency law, practically bypassing the national parliament and although there was no “acute emergency.”
“The curfew is based on a law for emergency situations, where there is no time for debate with parliament … There was no such pressing need in this case. Far-reaching measures such as these need to be based on proper laws,” the Dutch court said in its ruling.
It also supported that the restriction marks a “far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy” that indirectly breaches the rights to freedom of assembly and demonstration. “This requires a very careful decision-making process,” the ruling further reads.
“Therefore, the use of this law to impose curfew is not legitimate,” a single judge at the court ruled in the summary proceeding.
The curfew, first introduced on January 23 and extended until March 2, has sparked massive anti-lockdown protests, prompting the Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth) group to refer the case to the court.