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SC disposes petition after Karnataka agrees to lift blockade from Kerala border

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of Karnataka’s plea against order of Kerala High Court directing the Central Government to remove the road blockade erected by Karnataka on the Kerala border.

The division bench comprising of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Deepak Gupta observed that the National Highways come under the administrative jurisdiction of the Central Government and the provisions of the NHAI Act clearly provide for the maintenance of such highways by the Central Government, and even provide for penal measures to be taken against anyone blocking such a highway.

The matter pertains to the blockade imposed by the state of Karnataka resulting in problem faced by the residents in Kasaragod District, in Kerala, who were prevented from travelling to Mangalore, in Karnataka, for urgent medical treatment from state of Kerala seeking medical relief in hospitals situated in the state of Karnataka.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Union of India informed the court that a meeting had been convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Karnataka where the secretary of Karnataka govt. agreed to allow passage of vehicles carrying patients not infected with COVID-19 from Kerala to hospitals at Mangalore for their treatment.

According to the resolution at the meeting, only patients not infected with COVID-19 and possessing a certificate from a doctor that such patient is not infected by COVID-19 will be allowed passage from Kerala to hospitals in Mangalore.

Earlier, the High Court of Kerala while passing the impugned order observed that the right to freedom of movement of a citizen under Article 19(1)(d) and right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and said that both these rights are simultaneously infringed in the case of a resident of the State of Kerala when he/she is denied entry into the State of Karnataka for availing medical treatment, or is deprived of essential articles of food that are being transported into the State through blockades erected by the State of Karnataka.

The Supreme Court on being informed by the Solicitor General that there are no pending disputes between the States with respect to blockade held that the matter had become “infructuous”.

-India Legal Bureau

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