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The Karnataka government is planning to approach the Supreme Court against yesterday’s order of the Kerala High Court asking the Centre to open the Kasaragod-Mangalore national highway.

For a brief while on Thursday morning, the government in Bangalore opened the highway and let vehicles which were carrying ill persons pass after a doctor had verified to the effect. But not long after, the  government  closed the road again and the blockade was resumed.

The Kerala High Court  had on Wednesday asked the Centre to take steps to reopen the Kasaragod-Mangalore National Highway immediately and said the Karnataka government had no powers to close it.

We are of the view that any further delay in issuing directions could entail loss of precious lives of our citizens. We may re-iterate that we expect the Central Government to act expeditiously in this matter, taking note of the human lives that are at stake, “ a bench of justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P Chaly ordered via video conferencing  after hearing a petition filed  by two lawyers against the closure of the highway by Karnataka in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court said this was not an appropriate time to impose such restrictions. A few deaths  have been reported from Kerala after Karnataka denied entry to vehicles from Kasargod  which is now a hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic. Karnataka’s  closure of the highway has brought misery to the people of Kasaragod who have to depend on the neighbouring state for even medical purposes.

In its order the High Court said national highway is the property of the Centre and it is bound to ensure traffic on it.

-India Legal Bureau

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