Karnataka order on travellers from Kerala challenged in Supreme Court

Kerala MLA A.K.M. Ashraf says RT-PCR test mandated is ‘grave miscarriage of justice’

A Kerala legislator has appealed to the Supreme Court challenging the validity of a Karnataka government order restricting the free movement of people from neighbouring Kerala.

Karnataka has mandated that people from Kerala travelling into the State should possess a negative RT-PCR certificate. The test should have been done within 72 hours of travel, irrespective of having taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, A.K.M. Ashraf, a Indian Union Muslim League MLA, said.

He submitted that Karnataka’s regulation of July 31 has led to even people with two doses of COVID-19 vaccination being required to mandatorily take the RT-PCR test within 72 hours before entering the State.

Mr. Ashraf, represented by advocate Haris Beeran, moved the apex court after the Kerala High Court refused to intervene on September 28. He has also sought an ex-parte stay of the High Court order.

The legislator argued that “grave miscarriage of justice has been caused to him and to other similarly placed persons, who have to commute daily or for essential medical or other needs to Dakshin Kannada district in the State of Karnataka from Kerala and/or Maharashtra, on account of erroneous dismissal of the writ petition by the High Court”.

The HC did not budge on finding that the Karnataka government had directed the Deputy Commissioners of the districts that border Kerala, to make necessary arrangements and deploy personnel at check posts to ensure that all vehicles which enter the State are compliant with the rules.

In fact, the Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada district, had also passed an order on July 31 to close the Kerala-Karnataka border and to cancel the government transport buses seeking to pass through the border, the petition said.

It said: “The effect of these two orders are felt gravely by the people of Kerala and therefore the people of Kerala are only ones adversely affected by these orders. Therefore the cause of action lies clearly within the State of Kerala. The effect of these orders falls on the students and the public visiting the state every day for education, business, jobs, medical treatment and other reasons have been asked to undergo a RT-PCR test which is practically impossible and makes no sense for daily commuters.”

The petition said the residents of Manjeshwaram constituency are dependent on Dakshina Kannada districts/ Mangaluru city for their basic needs. People of Kasaragod depend on Mangaluru, which is the nearest available medical hub.

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