Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Friday October 29 refused to entertain a plea, which challenged the Karnataka government circular restricting entry of people from Kerala at Kasaragod-Mangaluru border at Thalappady and allowing entry to only those having negative RT-PCR test.
A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai said, “There is no violation of any fundamental right of persons living in Kasaragod District to travel to Mangaluru or other parts of the State of Karnataka.”
“Circulars issued by the State of Karnataka cannot be interfered by this court in the interest of public health,” it said, adding that conditions imposed are not unreasonable, as Covid is still around.
Advocate Haris Beeran, representing the petitioner, contended that people in Kasaragod depend on Mangaluru City for education, medicare, and other needs, but their travel to Mangaluru on a daily basis has been inhibited by circulars issued by Karnataka whereby visitors from Kerala are required to produce a negative RT-PCR report which is valid for 72 hours.
The bench pointed out that there is no restriction of movement of citizens from Kerala to Karnataka and pointed out that the circular insists on a negative RT-PCR certificate from people travelling to Karnataka from Kerala.
“The revised circular issued by the State of Karnataka on July 31, 2021 relaxed the earlier condition of undergoing a RT-PCR test within 3 days prior to the visit to 15 days for students and other members of the public visiting Karnataka daily for education, business and other reasons,” it noted.
The counsel had cited Centre’s guidelines to States and Union Territories, which asked not to place any restrictions on the intra-state movement of persons and goods by air, water, or road.
The bench said the petitioner is at liberty to make a representation to the Karnataka government for relaxation of the conditions imposed by the circulars for entry for people from Kerala, which shall be considered in accordance with law.
Beeran appeared for Kerala MLA A. K. M. Ashraf, who had moved the top court challenging the Kerala High Court order passed on September 28, where it dismissed the pleas challenging the Karnataka government’s decision, mainly on the ground that the court has no territorial jurisdiction as no cause of action has arisen in the State.