26 May

Flaws Of Karnataka’s Curbs On Travel From Kerala Already Pointed Out, High Court Tells State Govt

first_imgNews UpdatesFlaws Of Karnataka’s Curbs On Travel From Kerala Already Pointed Out, High Court Tells State Govt Mustafa Plumber19 March 2021 9:29 PMShare This – xThe Karnataka High Court on Friday allowed the amendment application filed by petitioner B Subbaya Rai challenging the modified directions issued on March 15, by the Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of District Disaster Management Authority, Dakshina Kannada District, imposing restrictions on travel from Kerala. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice MGS Kamal orally…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Karnataka High Court on Friday allowed the amendment application filed by petitioner B Subbaya Rai challenging the modified directions issued on March 15, by the Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of District Disaster Management Authority, Dakshina Kannada District, imposing restrictions on travel from Kerala. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice MGS Kamal orally told the Karnataka Government’s advocate,  “We have already pointed out the flaws of your order and we will hear you on the next date now.”The Court has listed the matter on March 25 to consider the legality of the travel restrictions imposed citing spike in COVID19 cases.On the previous date of hearing :The Karnataka High Court had on Thursday frowned at conditions in the modified order passed by the Karnataka Government regarding restrictions for road travel from Kerala in the wake of recent spike in COVID19 cases.”Flights from Kerala operate to Karnataka without restrictions. So, if you have money you can enter the state of Karnataka without restrictions but if you can’t afford to buy an air ticket you will be subjected to all these restrictions. How this can be tolerated?”, a bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay S Oka asked the government’s counsel.Observing that the modified order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada on March 15, is misconceived and issued in complete non-application of mind, the Court orally directed the state government to withdraw it.The modified order was passed after the Court rapped the State Government for imposing travel restrictions in violation of the Central Government’s ‘unlock’ guidelines which prohibit curbs on inter-state travel.On Thursday, the bench termed the modified order “worse than the previous order”. As per the order passed on March 15, it is stated that all the check posts are opened for the public except those which are rarely used by the public. It is said : “Concerned local authorities as per the necessity (Gram Panchayat/Urban Local bodies/Municipality/Town Municipality) will be responsible for checking of RT-PCR negative report of the passengers coming into the district at every checkpost.” Further, it stated that “In consideration of the situation, every gram panchayat,/urban local bodies/municipality/town municipality, shall identify the points of the arrival in their respective jurisdiction to facilitate the public/student opening of the checkpost which are more likely to be used and closing of check post which are rarely used such decision must be taken and directions issued for arrivals from Kerala/Maharashtra state by Panchayat Task force committee which is already in existence.” Taking strong exception to these clauses, the division bench said :”This gives arbitrary power to local authorities to close any check post and open any check post anywhere. This authorizes them to close the check post. It is worst then the earlier order, at least earlier there was clarity on which check posts were open.”The bench also criticized another clause in the order which directed authorities to check for illegal movements of cash and liquor in the wake of upcoming assembly polls in Kerala.The said clause read : “All the Tashildars of the concerned taluk shall constitute a flying squad. Patrolling team along with taluk level officer and health department team for random checking, intensify and to monitor the illegal liquor supply, illegal cash movement and doubtful persons at all the check post for existing model code of conduct in Kerala state for the upcoming Kerala Legislative Assembly elections and to check overall functioning”.Terming this clause “misconceived”, the bench said : “You are mixing up two things, the direction is issued in exercise of Disaster Management Act. This is a completely misconceived order. What is the power of the District Disaster Management Authority, to pass such orders, to monitor movement of illegal liquor supply, cash, movement of doubtful persons?.”Another clause which came under the scanner of the bench read as follows : Local bodies in their respective jurisdiction shall collect information of all persons arriving from Kerala/Maharashtra and self monitor their health and seek immediate medical attention and examination of any covid related symptoms such as fever, cold cough throat, respiratory problems. The bench observed : “Is there any order passed by State government or State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), directing the checking of persons who enter from Kerala or Maharashtra after they enter the state?” It added “By this clause it means that anybody who has a history of travel from Kerala, authorities will enter his house.” The court also frowned at clause 4 and 5 of the directions which read thus: Clause 4: In every checkpost the concerned gram panchayat shall deploy staff in a shift system in cooperation with the police department and shall check all the arrivals from Kerala should undergo RT-PCR negative report within 72-hours. Clause 5: The details of the daily commuter from Kerala State into Dakshina Kannada district must be maintained separately and students and employees should submit their id cards and undergo RT-PCR test negative report every fortnightly. The bench said : “A person who enters from Kerala is to undergo RT-PCR test, but what if a person from Karnataka goes to Kerala and comes back in afternoon, is he supposed to produce RT PCR negative report? It added “An ordinary citizen or resident of Karnataka enters the state of Kerala for some work, may be for selling his goods he comes back immediately. Will this man have to undergo a test? Suppose a person enters Kerala at 9 am and returns at 12 pm, so as per this clause, he will have to undergo a test in Kerala, the result will take minimum 6-hours to be known. The man will have to wait in Kerala till his RT-PCR test is known”. It also wondered how clause 5 will be interpreted is not known. It said, “A daily traveller from Kerala to Karnataka, they need not undergo RT-PCR test they need to be tested fortnightly, correct, but this will not apply to daily travelers from Karnataka State to Kerala.” The bench added “If a permanent resident of Karnataka goes to Kerala for 1 hour, they will ask to show RT-PCR test, what is all this?” The bench orally said: “Look at the consequences, at least in the original order four checkpoints were open. By virtue of clause 3, at the 11th hour someone will be told the route is closed, because for the last three days no person has used it so we closed it, so the person will have to take a different route. Will it not directly affect those people who are entering Kerala from Karnataka and coming back?”. The Bench allowed Advocate K RAVISHANKAR appearing for the petitioner B SUBBAYA RAI to amend the petition and challenge the March 15 directions issued by the Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of District Disaster Management Authority, Dakshina Kannada district, Mangaluru.Last year, the Kerala High Court had interfered with the blockade imposed by Karnataka Government on the Kerala border. Acting on a PIL filed by the Kerala High Court Advocates Association, the Kerala High Court directed the Union Government to open the highway for travel. The High Court noted that the travel restrictions had infringed the right to health of border residents, who were relying on hospitals in Mangalore for treatment.When Karnataka appealed to the Supreme Court, the SC suggested a dialogue between the Chief Secretaries of both the states. Following talks, the restrictions were lifted.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. 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