The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed a clutch of petitions related to a dispute over a blockade at the border between Kerala and Karnataka amid the coronavirus outbreak, after the Centre told the court that the states have reached a consensus on the matter, The Hindu reported.
Karnataka had moved the top court, challenging a Kerala High Court order to open the border to allow passage of patients from Kasargod district seeking medical services in Mangaluru. Karnataka, which imposed the blockade, justified that its border was sealed “in order to combat the spread of the pandemic”.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde that a meeting was held among the Union Home secretary and chief secretaries of the two states to resolve the crisis. He said an agreement had been reached on the parameters and protocol under which, the Karnataka government will allow patients from Kerala requiring medical treatment, to cross the Talapady border and access hospitals in Mangalore.
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On April 3, the top court heard a petition moved by Kerala and sought responses from the Centre and both states to formulate parameters for the passage of patients for urgent medical treatment at the inter-state border at Talapady. The Supreme Court had also asked the Centre and Kerala to respond to Karnataka’s plea challenging the Kerala High Court order to reopen borders.
During the previous hearing, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court that Karnataka’s move of blocking roads and preventing people’s access to medical treatment, violated fundamental rights. It said the enforced blockade had resulted in a loss of eight lives, as patients were not permitted to cross the border to seek treatment in hospitals in Mangaluru.