Supreme Court asks centre to intervene on Kerala-Karnataka border row

Apex court asks union health secretary to meet health secretaries of Kerala, Karnataka to find an amicable solution

Published: 04th April 2020 05:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2020 05:44 AM   |  A+A-

A volunteer offers watermelon to policemen in Kozhikode on Friday | TP SOORAJ

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI/MANGALURU: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to intervene in the dispute between Karnataka and Kerala over opening of interstate borders and urged the states to settle the dispute amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Karnataka government had challenged the Kerala High Court’s order to lift the blockade and facilitate interstate movement of people seeking urgent medical treatment.

Karnataka government in its petition had stated, “The sealing of the state borders is in the interest of public health, especially when there is a concern of the virus to spread from the bordering districts of Kerala, where the situation is dire.” The bench comprising of Justices L Nageshwar Rao and Deepak Gupta issued notices to Karnataka and Kerala governments and said that the states should not precipitate the matter at this time of crisis. The case will be next heard on April 7.

The court also asked the Union health secretary to meet health secretaries of both states to reach an amicable solution. A division bench of Kerala high Court on Wednesday had ordered the Central government to ensure that the blockade is lifted. The Karnataka government claimed that lifting the blockade would hamper the effort of the state to contain the spread of COVID-19. The bench took note of Kasaragod MP Rajmohan in a separate plea, which stated that the Karnataka government closing its borders with Kerala was a dangerous and ill-planned decision as it has led to the disruption in supply of food and other essential items in his state and resulted in a humanitarian crisis.

On Friday, Dakshina Kannada district health officer (DHO) withdrew his order that was issued on Thursday to private hospitals in the district not to admit any patients from Kasargod district. Meanwhile, sources from the government have expressed fear of increase in coronavirus cases in Dakshina Kannada in view of the SC order and the political representatives are now awaiting the top court’s order on the case. Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel told TNIE, “We have not decided anything. We will wait for Supreme Court’s order on April 7.

” District Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary said that discussions on opening the Talapady border for medical emergencies are underway. “We have approached the Supreme Court and MP Kateel has discussed the matter with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa,” he said. Earlier on Thursday, Mangaluru City Corporation commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde in an order, restricted people and vehicles from neighbouring Kerala through Talapady check-post under Section 58(22) of the KMC Act stating that the step was taken to keep the city safe from spreading coronavirus.


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