The Chamber of Deputies didn’t let an unvaccinated man attend a meeting

Jan Handrejch

The Chamber of Deputies acted illegally when it refused to allow a candidate who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend its committee meeting in December. The Prague City Court ruled last week. Judge-rapporteur Jan Kratochvíl said that the Chamber of Deputies had relied on a government crisis measure, which the Court said did not apply to the proceedings of the House committee.

The schedules of the court hearings show that Marek Kuchta filed the relevant administrative action against the Chamber of Deputies’ Office. The Court’s verdict was pointed out by the plaintiff’s attorney Jakub Kříž, who said his client was not admitted as a public member of the proceedings of the Social Policy Committee.

Judge Kratochvíl commented that the verdict relates to one case from 1 December 2021, when the plaintiff did not gain access to the committee. The Chamber argued that the government’s anti-epidemic emergency measure in force at the time only allowed entry to people vaccinated against covid-19 or those who had shown proof of having contracted the disease. However, the Court concluded that no such prohibition flowed from the measure in question.

It contained an exception for meetings, sessions, and similar events of constitutional bodies, and such an event, in the Court’s view, is a meeting of a House committee. Moreover, the judges also rejected the House’s argument that the exception applied only to committee members, not to the public.

Thus, the Court held that the House’s action had no legal basis. “The client defended himself in Court not only because his rights were violated, but primarily because the House of Representatives was above the law. It is a fundamental principle of the democratic rule of law that applies to the state. But the state ignored it in this case,” said Kříž.

According to the lawyer, the ruling sheds new light on the actions of the Chamber of Deputies from the beginning of last December until mid-February this year, when the institution did not allow the unvaccinated public to attend committee meetings or sessions. “It is sad that the highest rule-maker in our country violated the rules for several months and denied the public the right guaranteed by the Constitution and the rules of procedure,” Cross added.

The Office of the Chamber of Deputies can still appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court with a cassation complaint.