The Italian Constitutional Court was asked to evaluate whether criminal sanctions related to quarantine measures violate constitutional personal freedom (Article 13 of the Italian Constitution) and should be set aside.

The Constitutional Court held on 26 May 2022 that criminal sanctions for the violation of quarantine measures do not violate Article 13 on personal freedom (judgment n°127/2022). The Court indicated that such measures should be scrutinized under the freedom of movement (Article 16 of the Italian Constitution). According to the Court, health protection under Article 32 may not only justify mandatory but even coercive measures when they are necessary, proportionate, and respectful of human dignity. Hence the prohibition may be generalized or target specific segments of the population without violating the principle of non-discrimination.

The Court further underlined the difference between personal freedom and freedom of movement, and the correlated distinction between negative measures prohibiting movements and positive measures, forcing parties to do something like undergo a sanitary treatment. They are both compatible with personal freedom but their different gravity requires performing a proportionality test by the legislator.

Reference: ECLI:IT:COST:2022:127

Full text of the decision available at cortecostituzionale.it it