Thursday 25 February 2021

Coronavirus curfew legislation heads for parliament ahead of appeal court

Photo: Dutch News

Emergency legislation aimed at anchoring the coronvirus curfew in law will be sent to parliament on Wednesday, ministers have confirmed, following Tuesday’s legal battle which ended shortly before 9pm.

Parliament is currently in recess ahead of the general election on March 17 and must be recalled to debate the bill, which will then have to be sent to the senate for its approval.

The rush to pass legislation follows Tuesday’s lower court ruling in which judges said that the curfew was illegal because of its impact on freedom of movement, and the fact that it was based on legislation designed to be evoked at times of national emergency, such as a dyke breach.

Ministers then launched an appeal, which resulted in Tuesday night’s decision that the curfew remain in place until the appeal court has had its say. That hearing will take place on Friday.

In the meantime, ministers are pressing ahead with emergency legislation which would allow them to introduce a temporary curfew as part of the coronavirus measures.

In January MPs debated the government’s plans and despite some skepticism, voted in favour of requiring people to remain home from 9pm to 4.30am.

However, it is unclear what the position of the senate, or upper house of parliament, is likely to be.

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