Kasargod/Mangaluru: The Kerala High Court, on Wednesday, April 1, directed the Central Government to remove the Karnataka-Kerala border blockade to allow entry to patients from Kerala seeking emergency medical treatment in Karnataka's hospitals.
According to a report by Live Law, the HC observed that the roads that connect Mangaluru and Kasargod are part of the National Highway network and is, therefore, the Central Government's duty to ensure that the roads are free of blockades.
"We, therefore, direct the Central Government to forthwith intervene in the matter and ensure that the blockades erected by the State of Karnataka, on the National Highways connecting the said State to the State of Kerala, are removed forthwith, and without any further delay, so as to facilitate the free movement of vehicles carrying persons for urgent medical treatment, across the border between the two States. 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," the HC ordered.
Stating that it has "no other option" the HC passed the order with a view to protect the fundamental rights of the people during a "grim period in our country's history". The HC added that a further delay in resolving the issue could be catastrophic for the residents of Kasargod.
The Court also termed Karnataka's road blockade as a denial of access to health services resulting in the infringement of the right to life under Article 21. The blockade also affected the right to freedom of movement under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution.
The Kerala High Court also rejected the Karnataka Government's argument that it has no jurisdiction over the issue.
The Court's order was passed in a hearing held via video-conferencing.
Earlier, the court was adjourned to 5.30 PM to give both parties an opportunity to resolve the dispute through dialogue.
It can be recalled that Karnataka had closed its borders with Kerala as Kasargod has a high number of COVID-19 cases and many people from the district travel to Mangaluru in Karnataka, for medical treatment and other reasons.
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