Supreme Court chief justice opposes punishing lockdown breakers

Dias Toffoli argued instead for efforts to raise people’s awareness

Published in 06/04/2020 - 15:49 By Felipe Pontes - Brasília

Brazil’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Dias Toffoli said today (Apr. 6) he is against any sort of punishment for people not observing the social isolation rules introduced by the authorities as a result of the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

The ideal solution, he argued, is to make efforts to raise people’s awareness, as has been done by authorities as well as the press.

“Punishments are not necessary in any way,” the minister declared during an online seminar held by consultancy Arko Advice. “Having people aware of the present moment—where they must act with solidarity in order to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed—that’s better than fining someone 1 or 2 thousand reais,” Toffoli argued.

He went on to point out that a rise in litigation cases is expected after the pandemic, as a result of conflicts linked to consumption and tenancy relations or even issues related to public administration.

In a bid to tackle this overload, Toffoli advocated a bill, suggested by himself and submitted to Congress by President Jair Bolsonaro, on the creation of a National Committee for Agencies of Justice and Control, whose purpose would be to settle conflicts before they reach the Judiciary.

The justice also said that watchdogs should set more objective criteria for the payment of bills during the pandemic. “In a country with 18 thousand judges and a high degree of judicialization, conflicting rulings are bound to exist,” he noted.

He stated that such measures are “preventive, prophylactic, and aimed at preventing future judicialization.” “There’s no doubt an increase in judicialization is coming,” he said.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Pedro Ivo de Oliveira / Nira Foster

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