Linas Jegelevičius (Linas Jegelevičius) specially BNN
Lithuanian businessman Evaldas Petrauskas has received some satisfaction this week. The entrepreneur has received confirmation from the administrative court that a request has been accepted from the Association of Members of the Lithuanian Credit Union (LKLA) headed by him to assess whether the extended quarantine is not in violation of Lithuanian law.
The acceptance of the claim has been approved this week by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court.
“The impact of quarantine has been devastating for businesses and individuals alike. Many of the restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus are illogical, unjustified and excessive. This is useless, “said businessman Petrauskas from the Kretinga district in western Lithuania, giving an interview to the news portal BNN.
According to him, LKLA, where Petrauskas is the chairman, unites more than 200,000 members. Existing quarantine restrictions have caused them great damage – members have lost their business or are on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as their access to health care and so on.
“In short, we are talking about serious violations of the Lithuanian constitution,” said the leading representative of the association.
In mid-February, he filed a lawsuit on behalf of LKLA, and this week the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court responded to it, in fact agreeing to consider the claim on condition that it make certain corrections.
“The court did not like the wording that the state itself is responsible for accepting quarantine and the damage caused by it. The court asked us to put it differently, replacing the word “state” with the words “Ministry of the Interior”. We gladly agreed to do it, “said Petrauskas.
The association, he said, has already exhausted all possibilities to get the difficult situation of LKLA members noticed. The Chancellery of the President of Lithuania, the Speaker of the Seimas, and the mentioned Ministry of the Interior of Lithuania have not paid attention to it.
“The Office of the President replied formally, stating that the complaint had been received, and the Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Viktorija Čmilīte-Nilelsen [Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen] submitted the LKLA complaint to the Seimas Human Rights Commission, »the chairman of its association.
He said that other Lithuanian entrepreneurs are following in the footsteps of the organization.
It turns out that Petrauskas himself is not in trouble. As the founder and former chairman of the Palanga Credit Union, he has been involved in almost ten years of litigation, the outcome of which is not visible in the foreseeable future. Prosecutors are trying to prove that Petrauskas has misappropriated the funds of the Palanga Credit Union. The man has consistently denied his guilt.
Returning to the fight against Covid-19 and the Lithuanian government, the businessman also stated that he doubts the general vaccination against this infamous disease. According to Petrauskas, the side effects are still unknown and some of them may appear only after several years. The Lithuanian Ministry of Health has rejected the man’s public statements as unfounded.
The months of quarantine, whose bans are slowly being lifted by the government, have driven many companies around the corner. In the current situation, attempts to sue the state and government for damages will inevitably intensify.
In February, Lithuania’s first lawsuit of this nature did not yield any results for its applicants, a dental clinic. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court rejected the clinic’s arguments and ruled that the previous government, led by Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, did not exceed its powers when declaring a state of emergency in the country.
The company Aukštaitija Clinic of Implantology, which operates in the city of Panevėžys, argued in court that the government had no legal power to impose business restrictions. It was argued that the restrictions were unnecessary and disproportionate. The clinic wanted to receive compensation of about 34,000 euros for the damage, and also asked to apply to the Lithuanian Constitutional Court to rule on the government’s decision to comply with the country’s constitution.
“The government took proportionate measures as the public faced an unprecedented outbreak of a life-threatening illness,” the court explained in a statement. Judges of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court also found that the duration of the restrictions was not excessive and that the financial support offered to entrepreneurs complied with the proportionality criteria.
Lawyer Nerijus Zaleckas, who represented the clinic in court, told a news portal BNN that he has appealed the decision of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania.
“I believe that the regional court did not consider the request to go to the Constitutional Court and did not pay attention to some important cases,” the lawyer explained. Zalecks also asked the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to respond to his complaint. As soon as he receives its answer, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania will decide whether the evidence submitted by the lawyer should be examined by the Constitutional Court.
For political reasons, the Seimas opposition, represented by the previous ruling party Lithuanian Farmers ‘and Greens’ Union, has implicitly stated that it asked the Constitutional Court whether quarantine restrictions did not discriminate against Lithuanian small and medium – sized enterprises.
The opposition of the Seimas is also represented by a deputy from the Social Democrat faction Gintautas Palucks. In a conversation with BNN, he expressed doubts as to whether the claim would produce an early result. “It takes a very long time to consider any issue in court,” the deputy said.
In 2020, the Lithuanian government maintained the first quarantine against the Covid-19 pandemic from March 16 to June 17. The second national quarantine was approved by the Lithuanian government on November 7 last year, and it will be valid until at least March 31.
Currently, the incidence of Covid-19 in Lithuania is the lowest in the three Baltic States. During the day until Thursday, March 4, 517 new cases of infection were registered in the country. In total, 200,884 Lithuanians have been confirmed infected with the life-threatening virus SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the pandemic. 186,737 people are considered to be ill, but 3,294 Lithuanians have died from Covid-19, according to official statistics.
Regarding vaccination, the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine was administered to 189,903 people in Lithuania, and 76,810 people in the country have received both vaccines.