The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has sentenced this Friday that the vaccination plan of the Generalitat was “discriminatory” for the troops of the National Police and the Civil Guard in Catalonia. The Catalan High Court already urged in April, shortly after the controversy erupted, to vaccinate “without delay” to these agents, an order that the Department of Health complied despite considering “ridiculous” the court decision.
The judges now conclude that the Generalitat “incurred in inactivity with respect to its obligation of health care to the bodies of the Civil Guard and National Police, in its work of supplying the vaccines against COVID-19”. This inactivity in the beginning of the vaccination process for essential groups last March, the judges say, “led to an unjustified and discriminatory difference in treatment with respect to these national bodies in relation to the police and emergency regional and local police forces, which were supplied with the vaccines more quickly and efficiently”.
The sentence orders the Generalitat “the continuation” of this vaccination activity “under equal conditions” and condemns the Catalan Administration to pay the costs of the process, with a maximum amount of 4,000 euros. With this ruling, the court fully upholds the appeal filed in April by the police associations Jupol and Jucil.
In an order of April 27, the TSJC already agreed as a precautionary measure to give a period of ten days to the Generalitat to vaccinate this group, a court order that the Govern complied with. That precautionary measure, however, led the Government and the then Minister of Health, Alba Vergés, to speak of “interference”, while the then Secretary of Public Health, Josep Maria Argimon, said that the vaccination of these police would delay that of the group of 70 years of age.
In this sense, the TSJC alleges that the Generalitat did not have the “same will and commitment in the health protection of the national bodies with respect to the inmates” and, to support this argument, the court relies on the data provided on the website of the Department of Health of Catalonia. Thus, the sentence includes the list of essential groups to vaccinate prepared by the Generalitat itself, which includes the Mossos d’Esquadra and Local Police, but not the State security forces, a fact that for the TSJC “reinforces” the “perception of the lack of willingness to give equivalent treatment in importance” to the different bodies.
In addition, and following the own data provided at the time by the Department of Health, the sentence understands that the vaccination figures of the different police could not be “more disparate” in the period between March 24 and April 22: “While the non-nationals move in a range of 66.9 to 79.1%, the nationals had a percentage of 3.6 and 2.8% on March 24 and 9.9 and 6.3% on April 22, 2021,” says the court.
Also the sentence refers to the fact that vaccination in the autonomous and local police began on February 10, while in the nationals began on March 12, a month later and, moreover, at an “extremely slow pace”. For all these reasons, the TSJC recriminated in its sentence to the Government that its action in this “serious health situation should not have been passive with respect to the vaccination of civil servants in critical services. Much less even evasive or dilatory”.
Against this sentence that condemns the Generalitat, it is possible to lodge an appeal in cassation before the contentious-administrative chamber within thirty working days.