Summoned by Minister Kassio Nunes Marques, of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), to comply with the injunction issued by him that released face-to-face religious celebrations in the most lethal moment of the pandemic, the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Alexandre Kalil (PSD), sued the court for try to overthrow the monocratic decision.
The request for suspension was sent to the President of the Court, Luiz Fux, this Sunday, 4, by the attorney general of the municipality, who sees in the potential decision “serious damage to public order and health”.
“The health crisis is huge and the local health systems are operating above the limit of the capacity to deal with serious cases. States and municipalities have established restrictions on face-to-face religious activities in light of the peculiarities of the pandemic’s progress in each location, as well as taking into account the real capacity to offer adequate medical care to individuals in each of these locations ”, argues the city hall.
The document also says that Nunes Marques’ injunction causes legal uncertainty because it conflicts with the understanding set out in the court’s plenary, which gave governors and mayors autonomy to define social isolation measures. The request is to suspend the effects of the decision and take the matter for collegiate analysis. According to Estadão, Fux is unlikely to overturn Nunes Marques’ decision alone.
“The monocratic decision whose effects are intended to be suspended also causes public turmoil, in its legal sense, because it affronts the Plenary of the Supreme Federal Court by preventing federal entities from adopting measures to confront Pandemic and because it decides without any basis technical, even though there is scientific consensus on the high risk of contamination in churches ”, affirms the Kalil management.
The mayor of Belo Horizonte was summoned by Nunes Marques after using Twitter to say he would not follow his decision. The minister also indicated that Kalil must clarify, within 24 hours, the measures taken to obey the order, under penalty of liability, including in the criminal sphere. In the capital of Minas Gerais, Catholic churches dawned with restricted operation on Easter Sunday and with no provision for the celebration of masses with the physical presence of the faithful.
Earlier, the president of the National Mayors’ Front, Jonas Donizette, also asked Fux to speak urgently about the monocratic decision of his court colleague. The former mayor of Campinas said that judicial decisions need to be enforced, but that Nunes Marques’ injunction is in “flagrant contradiction” with the court’s position – which, in his assessment, “hinders” the confrontation with the coronavirus.
Nunes Marques authorized religious celebrations throughout the country, as long as sanitary protocols are adopted in churches and temples, limiting the presence in services and masses to 25% of the public’s capacity. The minister’s decision was taken in a lawsuit filed by the National Association of Evangelical Jurists (Anajure).
“I recognize that the moment is one of caution, in view of the pandemic context that we are experiencing. Even so, and precisely because we live in such difficult times, it is more necessary to recognize the essentiality of religious activity, responsible, among other functions, for providing welcome and spiritual comfort ”, wrote the minister, who recalled the importance of Easter celebrations for Christians.
In a 16-page decision, the magistrate also pointed out that several essential activities remain free during the pandemic. “Is it important to recognize that public transport has been considered essential, like markets and pharmacies? that, in fact, are. Such activities can effectively generate meetings of people in even smaller environments and subject to a lesser degree of control than in churches, ”he noted.
The minister’s decision is in line with the interests of the federal government, which is at war with governors and mayors across the country against curfews, lockdowns and other measures of social distance.
In practice, Nunes Marques anticipated his colleague Gilmar Mendes, rapporteur of another action on the same theme, presented by the PSD to challenge the decree of the São Paulo government that vetoed collective religious activities during the most restrictive phases of the plan to combat the coronavirus . Gilmar, however, had indicated that he would not take a decision before Easter, despite urgent protests sent by the Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Attorney’s Office.
To Estadão, Dean Marco Aurélio Mello criticized Nunes Marques’ injunction. “Poor Judiciary,” said the minister. “The novice, apparently, has expertise in the subject. Poor Supreme, poor Judiciary. And he attended the Association of evangelical jurists. Legitimate part for the ADPF (type of process that discusses compliance with the Constitution)? Where are we going to stop? Strange times! ”, He continued.
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