Argentina's Supreme Court Tuesday ruled in favour of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA) and against the Federal Government in their controversy regarding on-site schooling.
CABA Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta had disregarded President Alberto Fernández' Emergency Decree (DNU) 241 dated April 16, whereby a series of restrictions were imposed on the circulation of people, business and curfew hours and on-site schooling for the entire Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA), which comprises all of CABA plus some municipalities around the country's capital.
Citing CABA's Autonomy, Larreta ordered schooling to remain as before the presidential decree, that is with pupils attending classes under sanitary protocols. On the other hand, districts within AMBA but outside CABA went back to online schooling.
Then the Supreme Court claimed original jurisdiction -meaning not on appeal- to rule on the issue since it involved at least one province and the Federal government. And Tuesday it ratified that the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires was, in fact, Autonomous and that the presidential Decree violated that autonomy.
The Court found that the arguments expressed by the Federal government were not enough to justify the exercise of a federal health competence that affects so drastically in the modality of the education... and that since the Constitutional reform of 1994 the City of Buenos Aires acquired the constitutional status that was expressed in the new article 129, according to which 'it will have an autonomous government regime with its own powers of legislation and jurisdiction'.
The ruling also made it clear that the courts, and particularly this Court, are in charge of ensuring that the powers assigned to each authority are not understood in such a broad way that the federative character of the Constitution is emptied, and that steps taken by the national authorities must not only not contradict the Constitution or international treaties, but also must not invade the jurisdiction of the provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
According to the ruling, the lack of sufficient justification to exercise a sanitary competence that reaches to suspend the face-to-face modality of education in the City reveals that, in this case, the Federal State instead of exercising its own attribution invaded one that it is alien to it.
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