Karnataka Road Blockade: Karnataka Agrees to Allow Passage of Patients

In the Special Leave Petition filed by the State of Karnataka against the order of the Kerala High Court; the Supreme Court had directed the Union Health Secretary to have a meeting with the chief secretaries of both the states. The SC posted the matter concerning the road blockade on April 07, 2020. The dispute between the states started when Karnataka blocked a national highway that leads one from Kasargod (Kerala) to Mangaluru (Karnataka) during the lockdown.

The road blockade essentially caused denial to access of healthcare to people of Kasargod. Those who went to Mangaluru for emergency medical conditions. Upon hearing a petition on the blockade, the Kerala HC ruled that the road blockade amounted to an infringement of Article 21 i.e. Right to Life. The HC issued directions to the Union Government. On the reasoning that the arterial roads that connect Mangalore to Kasaragod are part of the National Highway network. That, therefore, it’s the duty of the Central Government to ensure that the said roads are kept free of blockades.

The Karnataka Government then filed its special leave petition before the Supreme Court. Stating that the Kerala HC exceeded its territorial jurisdiction under Article 226(2) of the constitution. In a counter-affidavit filed on 06.04.2020, Kerala HC backed its impugned decision before the hearing on 07.04.2020. However, on the evening of April 06, 2020, it was announced that Karnataka has agreed to allow the passage of patients. However, only the patients not infected with COVID-19 will be allowed. The patients will be allowed to cross the border after a medical examination by a medical team.

The announcement was made by the Kerala Chief Minister during a press conference.