The Karnataka High Court has accepted an assurance given by the state government that no restriction on the movement of people or goods will be imposed on the border checkposts between Karnataka and Kerala. All entry and exit points between the two states will remain open.
Currently, the Karnataka government has mandated a COVID-19 negative certificate for travellers from Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Chandigarh. However, the enforcement of this rule on border checkposts with Kerala has not been uniform.
The High Court had earlier told the counsel representing the Karnataka government that the borders cannot be closed arbitrarily. "There is a concept of federalism, you cannot simply close borders", the High Court bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said, as per Livelaw.
The issue came to light when the Dakshina Kannada district administration issued an order restricting the entry of people from Kerala to the district. The order, from February 18, restricts entry from Kasargod district of Kerala to only four checkpoints and asked travellers to produce a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test certificate.
The High Court bench noted that the Deputy Commissioner did not have the powers to ask local authorities to close the borders.
TNM had earlier reported that in some border checkposts, the Karnataka government had strictly enforced the COVID-19 regulations and mandated a negative COVID-19 test certificate to allow travellers to cross the border. However, in other checkposts, like the Talapady border south of Mangaluru, the restrictions were not enforced after pressure from a large number of local residents. Thousands of people from Kasargod district of Kerala travel on a daily basis to Mangaluru in Karnataka for education and work.
The Karnataka-Kerala border check post at Talapady is just 22 km south of Mangaluru and restrictions at the border turned into a flashpoint between the two southern states amid the national lockdown enforced in 2020. 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 and a meeting was set up between the Chief Secretaries of both states.