Kerala HC was considering two pleas challenging the Karnataka government's decision to restrict entry at borders of Kasaragod and Mangaluru only to those having a negative RT-PCR test report.

HC refuses to interfere with Karnataka govts restrictions on travellers from KeralaImage for representation
news Court Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 17:38

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed two pleas challenging Karnataka government's decision to restrict entry from Kerala at borders of Kasaragod and Mangaluru only to those having a negative RT-PCR report, saying the neighbouring state was well within its powers to issue such directions. The High Court said it was an admitted fact there was no blockade of the roads from Kerala to Karnataka and the restrictions, like a negative RT-PCR certificate, were imposed within that state in view of the unprecedented surge of COVID-19 pandemic prevalent in Kerala.

"Therefore, going by the guidelines issued by the Union government, it is clear that under any such circumstances, the states are given the power and responsibility to impose reasonable restrictions, so as to combat the disease.

"Therefore, state of Karnataka was well within its powers to issue circulars, orders or guidelines under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in consonance with various guidelines issued by the central government," a bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly said and dismissed the two PILs, one by AKM Ashraf, the IUML MLA from Manjeshwar and the other by Jayananda KR, the Secretary of Rastrakavi Manjeshwara Govinda Pai Smaraka Samithi. The bench further said that the Karnataka government has the necessary leverage to issue circulars, taking into account the situations prevailing in the neighbouring states of Kerala and Maharashtra.

"Viewed from that angle, it can never be said that a part of cause of action for the writ petitions has arisen within the state of Kerala. This is more so when there is no absolute prohibition for the citizens of Kerala to travel to Karnataka by any means, but we can only view it as restrictions imposed by the state of Karnataka. Whether the restrictions imposed within the State of Karnataka are reasonable or not, is a matter to be considered and decided by the jurisdictional High Court," the bench said in its 100-page judgement.

It further said that a "wholesome appreciation of the facts and circumstances" would show that no part of the cause of action, as regards the circulars issued by Karnataka government or its officials, would arise in Kerala.

"Therefore, we have no hesitation to hold that the petitioners have failed to establish territorial jurisdiction of this court in interfering with the circulars issued by the state of Karnataka dated July 31 and accordingly, we decline the reliefs sought for by the petitioners in the background of the circulars so issued. In the result, the writ petitions are dismissed for want of territorial jurisdiction," the bench said.

Read: The paradox of Kerala’s high COVID-19 numbers

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