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Arrêt n° 04-80.290 , Cour de cassation, chambre criminelle, 14 septembre 2004 (publication : AJDA 2004 Informations rapides p. 2069)

Facts: the mayor of Nancy shut off the pipe providing water to the inhabitants of the city. The inhabitants of the city claimed the mayor violated their individual freedom and their right to live in decent conditions under article 432-4 of the Penal Code. The Court of Appeal of Nancy held the mayor responsible on the ground that he denied the inhabitants of Nancy access to a basic and fundamental element necessary to live, to do construction or fixation of the houses, namely water.

Holding: the Cour de Cassation overruled the judgment below (cour d'appel de NANCY, chambre correctionnelle, on 16 décembre 2003)

Reasoning: article 432-4 of the Penal Code must be interpreted "strictly" and only prohibits arbitrary measures restraining the freedom of movement. Here the plaintiffs were claiming a breach of their right to be provided decent housings. Accordingly, the plaintiffs could not bring a claim under that article and the Cour d'Appel decision was unsubstantiated.




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