Roads to Kerala through Dakshina Kannada will not be closed, govt. assures HC

Deputy Commissioner had earlier ordered closure of 23 of the 27 roads to curb spread of virus

The State government on Thursday assured the High Court of Karnataka that it would not close any road connecting Kerala through Dakshina Kannada district to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The assurance was given before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj during the hearing of a PIL petition by B. Subbaya Rai, a Mangaluru-based advocate. The petitioner had questioned the closure of 23 roads connecting Kerala through Dakshina Kannada.

The government also made it clear that movement of people and vehicles by road through Dakshina Kannada will not be prevented.

Following this assurance, the Bench disposed of the petition while observing that the order, issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada in his capacity as Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority, was contrary to the Central government’s COVID-19 guidelines issued from time to time asking States not to restrict inter-State movement of people and vehicles.

The DC had initially ordered the closure of 23 of the 27 roads connecting Kerala with Dakshina Kannada citing increased number of COVID-19 positive cases in Kerala while allowing entry through only four main roads with negative RT-PCR test.

After the court termed such a measure as “ridiculous” when roads connecting Kerala from other districts are open; the DC modified the order leaving it to the discretion of the municipal authorities to close only those roads that are used by very few people. However, the court had again questioned this move pointing out that roads connecting two States cannot be closed in view of the Central government’s guidelines.

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