As it is known, various measures and precautions are taken by various institutions and especially by the administration in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which deeply affects the whole world and our country in many areas. Provincial General Hygiene Committees have been established within the scope of the General Hygiene Law in order to implement these measures and various precautions can be taken within each province by the relevant boards. Practices such as the obligation to wear a mask, limit the number of passengers to be transported in public transport or curfews for certain periods can be cited as examples of these measures.
Again, under the Article 282 of the General Hygiene Law and in following provisions, the administrative fine to be applied are regulated (administrative fines and even prison sentences) to be imposed on those who violate the mentioned measures. In the Article 294 of the relevant law; it is stated as follows regarding the administrative fines; “The administrative fines written in this law shall be decided by the local administrative authority”. However, in practice, it is seen that administrative fines are written directly by law enforcement (police) officers who identifies the violation.
First of all, the transfer of the powers given by the law to each other by the administrative authorities can only be performed with a legal regulation. The procedure to which administrative authorities the administrative authority is given and to which administrative authorities should be transferred should be performed in the same way as regulated in the law. Thus, since there is no provision in the General Hygiene Law regarding the transfer of the authority to issue administrative fines explicitly given to the administrative authority, issuance of the mentioned fines by the law enforcement officers without a legal regulation regarding the transfer of the authority would be against the procedure. In this context, we are of the opinion that administrative fines issued by the police officers should be annulled because of the reason that it is illegal.
Within 15 days from the notification of the administrative fine to the relevant person, an objection should be made with a petition to be submitted to the Criminal Judicature of Peace which is located at where the administration is located for the annulment of this fine. Since it is essential not to restrict the right to legal remedies; no fees or charges shall be paid by the applicant for the relevant objection. In addition, if the payment is made within the specified period, in order not to miss the opportunity to pay the fine with a discount, the fine can be paid within the specified period and subsequently, the refund can be requested with the annulment of the fine or annulment of the fine can also be directly requested. Fines issued by the police officers for violating the COVID-19 measures may be annulled as a result of the objections to-be-made to the Criminal Judicature of Peace in line with the justification mentioned above. As a matter of fact, annulment decisions in line with the mentioned reasons have started to be made by the Criminal Judicatures of Peace. It is also known as examples that annulment decisions are made by 5th Criminal Judicature of Peace of Adana and Criminal Judicature of Peace of Bolu.
At this point, in order for the parties who are violating the measures taken in accordance with the law to be punished, the violation should first be determined with a report by law enforcement officers and then the mentioned fine should be issued against these individuals by the administrative authority (Governorships and District Governorships).