Kerala

Karnataka CM ‘openly declared’ blockade on border will not be removed, Kerala tells SC

The Supreme Court has listed the case for April 7.

The Supreme Court has listed the case for April 7.  

The court had asked the two neighbouring States and the Centre to formulate a mechanism by which patients from Kerala, in dire need of medical care, and flow of essential food and medicines are not blocked at the border by Karnataka authorities

The State of Kerala on Monday informed the Supreme Court about how Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has “openly declared” that the blockade imposed by his government on the inter-State border will not be removed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kerala, in an affidavit, said the Chief Minister’s declaration came despite a Supreme Court order on April 3 to the two neighbouring States and the Centre to hold a meeting and formulate a mechanism by which patients from Kerala, in dire need of medical care, and flow of essential food and medicines are not blocked at the border by Karnataka authorities.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao is scheduled to hear the issue via videoconferencing on April 7.

Kerala said its request to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to inform the timing of the video conference in light of the Supreme Court’s April 3 order had elicited no response so far. It had written to the MHA the very next day after the Supreme Court order, considering the urgency of the matter.

Essential services

Noting that the Disaster Management Act mandated that there should not be any discrimination in essential services and care across the country, Kerala said the blockade violated the fundamental right to life of the people of the State.

Kerala asked why the Centre had not stepped forward to direct Karnataka to comply with the law made by the Parliament.

‘Violation of fundamental rights’

“The Central government is constitutionally obliged to direct compliance of laws made by the Parliament and to ensure that the executive authority of a State is properly exercised... Blockade is a violation of the fundamental rights of the people of Kerala. The Centre is constitutionally and statutorily empowered and obliged to redress the issue,” Kerala submitted in court.

The blockade was despite MHA’s order on March 24 that the delivery and transport of essential items should not be blocked. Further, Karnataka had continued with the blockade even after a clear order from the Kerala High Court to remove it.

‘Talks in vain’

The Karnataka government had not budged despite Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reaching out. Talks were held at secretaries’ level, but to no avail. Karnataka’s blockade ignored the fact that Kerala had managed COVID-19 infection in an “excellent manner”, the affidavit said.

The lives of eight patients were lost because their ambulances were blocked at the border roads. A woman had to give birth in the ambulance. Kasargod district of Kerala, which adjoined the border, was “very much dependent” on hospitals in Mangaluru and Sullya, across the border, for cardiac and nephrology treatments. Patients required regular check-ups and their case histories were in these hospitals.

The affidavit said doctors at these hospitals were willing to treat these patients. It dismissed Karnataka government’s submission that allowing patients from Kasaragod would lead to law and order problems.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:15:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/karnataka-cm-openly-declared-blockade-on-border-will-not-be-removed-kerala-tells-sc/article31269283.ece

Next Story