States have been in a frenzy trying to adequately enforce social distancing norms among the people and have taken stringent measures including closing state borders and restricting travel between states to curb community spread of the virus. These measures have however has sparked conflict at the Karnataka - Kerala border with the dispute going all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Karnataka government filing for a Special Leave Petition against the order of the Kerala High court in the supreme court where the Kerala High Court directed the Central government to open up the blockade on the roads connecting the two states as the National Highway came under the jurisdiction of the Centre.
In the petition, the Karnataka government contended that the Kerala High Court overstepped its territorial jurisdiction provided under Article 226(2) of the Constitution as the entire cause of action arose within the State of Karnataka. The State of Karnataka also cited reasons of implementation of law and order as Kasargod is the worst hit district in the entire country and it borders the two states. The Karnataka government believes allowing people to cross the border into Mangalore would create dissent among the population in the city and that the blockade was initiated in the interests of public health.
The Supreme Court will be discussing the matter next on the 7th of April and has called on the Union Health Secretary to initiate dialogue between the Chief Secretaries of the two states to discuss the arrangements of bringing in Covid-19 patients and granting access in case of emergency medical assistance. Another important highlight of the hearing was that the apex court did not call for a stay on the order issued by the Kerala High Court.
The High Court ordered for the blockade to be removed on the grounds that it infringed on Article 21 by preventing access to healthcare when most needed and the restriction on movement also was violative of Article 19 (1) (d).
It is the characteristic of the virus to spread extremely rapidly and as a result overwhelm our healthcare systems and Kasargod is an example of this. Mangalore being the closest city where effective treatment can be provided for, patients in urgent need of help require this blockade to be removed and access be allowed to emergency medical services. Whether or not an amicable solution for this can be sorted out depends on the discussions facilitated by the Union Health Secretary and the next date of discussion of this matter in the Supreme Court is highly awaited.
Tags : COVID-19, Supreme Court, Karnataka, Kerala, Special Leave Petition, Blockade