Karnataka Kerala border
Karnataka Kerala border
Litigation News

[Karnataka-Kerala border] "Can you impose such restrictions?" Karnataka HC questions legality of govt conditions for inter-state travel

The Court observed that under the Unlock-3 guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, no separate permission, approval, e-permit was required for inter-state movement.

Rintu Mariam Biju

The Karnataka High Court was informed today that the Karnataka government had opened the Kerala-Karnataka border on August 15, in order to facilitate inter-state movement of persons.

However, the Court was prompt to note that several conditions such as undergoing of mandatory medical examination and registration in the Seva Sindhu Portal were put in place for inter-state travellers.

The revelation was made in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by the residents of villages in Kerala and Karnataka, seeking directions to open the Saradka border check-post in Dakshina Kannada district to allow free movement of people between the border villages.

Expressing its dissatisfaction at the conditions introduced, the Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi asked the state government to clarify whether restrictions can be imposed on inter-state travellers in view of clause 5 of the guidelines for phased reopening (UNLOCK 3) dated June 29.

"The question is whether state Government can impose conditions in the order of 15th August 2020, in the light of of the aforesaid clause 5. State Government will file an affidavit testifying the legality of the conditions imposed in order dated 15th August. Affidavit shall be filed by the State Government by 27th of August."

Karnataka High Court

The Bench also directed the state government to file a translated copy of the order dated August 15.

During the hearing, the Court asked,

"Under the order of the Central government, can you impose such restrictions? What is your authority to do so?"

The Court observed that under the Unlock-3 guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, no separate permission, approval, e-permit was required for inter-state movement.

"There shall be no restriction on intra state movement of persons. Now you (State) are saying that restrictions are there....Justify such restrictions."

The Court also remarked,

"Counsel for the State, remember this, now the Central government has made downloading of the Aarogya Setu App not mandatory. Now you are making registration in Seva Sindhu Portal mandatory. Under which authority of law are you doing it?"

At this stage, the petitioner advocate submitted that as per Sections 30 and 31 of the Disaster Management Act, all restrictions put in place shall be consonance with the directions issued by Central government.

The petition will be next heard on August 28.

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