Ensure removal of blockade on NH erected by Karnataka, Kerala HC tells Centre

The court said the arterial roads connecting Mangaluru in Karnataka to Kasargod in Kerala were part of the NH and it was the duty of the Centre to ensure that the roads were kept free of blockades

Updated - April 02, 2020 11:31 am IST

Published - April 02, 2020 11:01 am IST - KASARAGOD:

The Kerala High Court has issued a direction to the Central government to intervene and ensure that the blockade erected by Karnataka on the National Highway connecting that State to Kerala is removed without any delay.

Read | Woman dies after ambulance is denied permission to cross Kerala-Karnataka border

In the orders issued by Justices A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P. Chaly on Wednesday, the division Bench observed that the National Highway came under the administrative jurisdiction of the Central government and the provisions of the National Highway Act clearly provided for the maintenance of such highways by the Centre and even provide for penal measures to be taken against anyone blocking them.

The court said that the arterial roads that connected Mangaluru in Karnataka to Kasargod in Kerala were part of the National Highway network and it was, therefore, the duty of the Central government to ensure that the said roads were kept free of blockades.

Pointing out that during the time of emergency, as this restriction may be imposed, the court said that when the guidelines issued by the Central government under the Disaster Management Act itself permitted travel for urgent medical treatment, the guideline should be enforced.

Fundamental right

The court further said that Karnataka had necessarily to respect and guarantee the fundamental right of a citizen, irrespective of the place of his residence or domicile within the country.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The Bench categorically mentioned that by blocking the NH, the Karnataka government had infringed the rights of a citizen to move freely throughout the country recognised under Article 19, and the fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the State under article 21 of the constitution.

The court, while issuing the order, observed that enough time was given to the Advocate General of Karnataka to revert with a practical solution to the problem faced by the residents in Kasargod district, who were prevented from travelling to Mangaluru for urgent medical treatment. The blockade resulted in the loss of lives. But despite the grant of time, the Advocate General had not been able to come with any solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, at Talapady and other arterial roads through the panchayat sharing the State borders of Kerala and Karnataka continue to see restrictions in the movement of vehicle on Thursday. The Karnataka government has further intensified the security at the checkpost.

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