The Karnataka High Court on Thursday accepted the assurance given by the State Government that there will be no restriction on movement of public/goods between Kerala and Karnataka and all the entry-exit points between the two states, will remain open.
The assurance was made by the state government while hearing a petition filed by Advocate B Subbaya Rai, who challenged the border restrictions imposed by order of Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, issued on February 18 and March 15, in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.
The High Court had earlier criticized the government's order observing that it was against the 'unlock' directives of the Central Government which prohibited restrictions on inter-state travel.
"There is a concept of Federalism, you cannot simply close borders", the bench had told the Government's counsel.
Today, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said :
"We are of the view that not only in view of Clause 19 of directions issued by Chairman of National Executive Committee, which is in operation at least from Jan 27, 2021, we see no authority vesting with the Deputy Commissioner who is also the Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority, to close the border of the district for vehicular and other traffic. He had no power to confer authority on local authorities to close the borders, these are the directions which violate the fundamental rights of citizens."
Earlier, the state had informed the court that that clause 3 of the proceedings of the revised order issued by the Deputy Commissioner, which authorized local authorities to close check posts at Kerala border, will not be acted upon.
The bench disposed off the matter by saying "In view of the assurance of the state government recorded in the order dated March 30 and assurance given today, no further directions are required to be issued at this stage. In view of assurance recorded above, we dispose of the petition".