Blocking National Highways by Karnataka for preventing people from accessing medical facilities violates Articles 19 and 21:Kerala tells SC

The Kerala government told the Supreme Court on Monday that Karnataka is blocking National Highways in order to prevent Coronavirus, the state is not only preventing the movement of those individuals who are in fatal need for medical treatment, but is also hindering the movement of essential commodities through the said roads. Some roads are being barricaded while some are being blocked by tossing heaps of soil which prevents vehicles entry even of ambulances plying to Mangalore for medical emergencies.

The state further notified that there are examples of road blockades by the State of Karnataka which violates the geographical area of the state of Kerala. 8 lives have been lost till date on account of the blockade of border roads, with one person dying after the SLP was filed by the state of Kerala.

The act of the state of Karnataka in blocking the National Highways and other roads to Kerala, to the magnitude of deterring the residents of Kerala from obtaining medical treatment and preventing movement of crucial goods, is a violation of fundamental rights which are guaranteed to the citizens of India. It violates Article 19(1)(d) and 21.

The state of Karnataka has the authority to regulate the movement within the State’s territorial limits but for the time it has been opposed because it is against the federal structure of our country and against the spirit of the Indian Constitution. As Karnataka has blocked National Highways it is the duty of the Central Government to issue directions to the state to remove the blockage. Karnataka is obligated to remove the blockade. 

On 1st April 2020, in a PIL filed by Kerala High Court Advocates Association, the Kerala High Court had directed the Union Government to remove the border blockade imposed by Karnataka to allow entry of patients from Kerala to access emergency medical care in hospitals in Karnataka as the blockade of the same amount to a violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.