Karnataka's restrictions on travel from Kerala against Union govt orders, says HC

Karnataka's restrictions on travel from Kerala against Union govt orders, says HC
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rebuked the state government for not making changes to the order which imposed travel restrictions from the neighboring state of Kerala. A statement by the counsel appearing for the government had earlier said on March 5 that the order will be modified but the High Court was informed on Tuesday that the state government did not modify the order. On February 18, the Dakshina Kannada district administration passed an order which restricted entry from Kasargod district of Kerala to only four checkpoints and asked travellers to produce a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test certificate. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty took exception to the Karnataka government's stance on the issue. "There are 25 entry points and you are limiting it to four entry points. Under what law are you doing it? You are acting contrary to the orders of the Union government," the bench said, as per Livelaw. Subbaya Rai, the counsel representing the petitioner who challenged the travel restrictions, stated that the entry of people from Kerala from other districts into Karnataka was allowed while entry was restricted only for people coming from Kasargod district. The bench reacted sharply and termed the situation 'ridiculous'. The court added that the government circular by the Dakshina Kannada district administration does not provide for closing of entry points on roads from Kerala to Karnataka. The court added that restrictions were only limited to one district - Dakshina Kannada - and clarified that it did not want restrictions imposed in other districts. Read: Karnataka border regulations: Students in Kerala fear missing exams due to new rules The counsel appearing for the Karnataka government stated that the restriction in Dakshina Kannada district is because many people travel for the purpose of education and employment. The Karnataka-Kerala border check post at Talapady is just 22 km south of Mangaluru and restrictions at the border had become a flashpoint between the two states even in 2020 amid the COVID-19 lockdown enforced in the country. The Karnataka government restricted travel between the two states and blocked the entry of ambulances from Kasargod to Mangaluru. The issue was resolved after it was discussed in the Supreme Court with Karnataka introducing daily passes for commuters travelling from Kerala to Karnataka. In August 2020, the Dakshina Kannada district administration found that 1300 commuters from Kerala travel to areas around Mangaluru every day. This included people managing shops, working in petrol pumps and nurses working in healthcare. Read: Suspension of daily passes by Kerala impacts many people from Kasaragod and Mangaluru

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