Mangaluru/New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Friday, April 3, refused to stay the Kerala High Court's order to the Centre directing them to remove Karnataka's blockades on the National Highways leading to Kerala.
The Kerala High Court had recently directed the Central Government to remove the blockades, which had been erected by Karnataka as part of their COVID-19 lockdown, to allow the free movement of vehicles carrying patients who require emergency medical treatment.
It had also asked for guidelines for movement of vehicles carrying the sick to be formulated.
Meanwhile, a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta said the chief secretaries of Kerala and Karnataka should hold a discussion with the Union health secretary and work out a solution amicably to facilitate the movement of people for medical treatment.
The Supreme Court observed that no state government should precipitate the matter at this juncture when a nationwide lockdown is in place to contain the spread of the virus.
The apex court adjourned the hearing and is expected to deliver its final verdict in the case on Tuesday, April 7.
The developments come after it was reported that at least seven critically ill patients died because the blockade prevented them from reaching hospitals in Mangaluru, which is a mere 15 kms from the Kasargod district of Kerala.
It can be recalled that the Kerala High Court's order was challenged by Karnataka in the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition. In the petition, Karnataka stated that the implementation of the Kerala HC's order would lead to law and order issues, as the locals are against the entry of residents of the Kasargod district, as it has one of the highest cases of COVID-19.
"The High Court failed to consider that the hospitals in Mangaluru, Dakshin Kannada district, are already overburdened and the people residing in Mangaluru are in panic due to the increasing number of cases in the Districts of Kerala, especially in Kasargod district. It is humbly submitted that the resources of the State of Karnataka are hard pressed and it is very difficult to cater to the needs of new patients from the State of Kerala," said the Karnataka government petition.
The case is essentially a dispute between two state governments; hence it falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 131. Therefore, the High Court should have not passed orders on the PIL, Karnataka government said.
(with inputs from IANS)
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