The Kerala High Court on April 1 passed an interim order, directing the Centre to intervene and instruct Karnataka to remove blockades erected on the highway connecting the two states.
The court orders came after several vehicles carrying patients from Kerala for urgent medical treatment were denied entry into Karnataka.
The Karnataka government in March blocked the national highway and denied entry of people from Kerala amid mounting cases of coronavirus from the bordering district of Kasargod.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice BV Nagarathna also directed the Centre to act expeditiously considering the urgency of the matter.
Related news: Karnataka hesitant to open borders with Kerala as cases mount in Kasargod
A public interest litigation was filed in the Kerala High Court by advocates’ association seeking the court to direct Karnataka to open the borders.
With Kasargod nearly having 40 per cent of the overall cases in Kerala, the Karnataka government earlier this week filed an affidavit in the court saying it was not willing to open the borders considering the health risk it poses to the people of the state.
“We feel compelled to issue directions to the central government today because we are of the view that any further delay in issuing directions could entail loss of precious lives of our citizens,” Bar and Bench, a legal news website quoted the bench as saying.
The bench was of the view that though the Centre issued guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, the law has to be effectively enforced by the authorities without affecting the life and personal liberty of citizens.
On March 28, a pregnant migrant labourer from Bihar, reportedly delivered her child in the ambulance, after it was denied entry into Mangalore. A similar incident was reported on March 23 when a critically-ill person, who was sent back from Mangalore hospital for being a Kasaragod native, breathed his last.
After a coronavirus infected person, who was placed under quarantine, violated the rules and attended several public events around March 20, the Kasargod district has been put on high alert.
While the police registered the case against the individual, the number of COVID-19 cases have shot up five times since then.