Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Shaji P. Chaly andM.R. Anitha, JJ., addressed a PIL with regard to issue of facilitating journey of persons stranded at Walayar Check-Post.
It has ben stated that, certain persons were stranded at Walayar Check-Post on 9th May, 2020 which is an entry point provided by the Kerala Government to permit interstate entry to people outside the State of Kerala.
Further the case put forth by the petitioners was that, even though the persons traveling had secured passes from the State of Karnataka and the State of Tamil Nadu, they could not secure passes from the State Government online since the platform offered by the State Government was not properly functional. Group of people included pregnant women, children, students, senior citizens and people with medical illnesses.
It is also submitted that even though the group of people tried their best to cross the border of the State of Kerala, the State officials did not permit them and they were even denied the basic amenities as is contemplated in the Government Order dated 2.5.2020 issued on the basis of the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
State Government submitted that, it is strictly adhering to the directives, orders and advisories issued by the Government of India and there is no manner of laches on the part of the Government in complying with the regulations and the guidelines issued for the purpose.
After assimilating the pros and cons and the facts and figures, Court is of the opinion that ,
every citizen of India has the fundamental right to travel throughout the territory of India and settle in any part of the territory of India by virtue of Article 19(1) (d) and (e) of the Constitution of India. However the State is at liberty to impose reasonable restrictions under clause (5) of Article 19.
In the present situation, attempts of the Governments are to contain the pandemic from being spread in an unprecedented and uncontrollable level to protect the interest of the general public and the nation as such.
Thus, looking at that angle it cannot be said that the action of the State officials not permitting the inter-state movement of the people in question is illegal or bad.
Hence Court is also conscious of the fact that there are clear parameters that, a person securing a pass from the host Government can start travel only after receiving the travel permit from the Kerala Government and the local authority of the person’s location to avoid any problem.
Additional Advocate General submitted that directions will be issued to the officials as a special case to issue passes and permit the people stranded at Walayar on 9.5.2020, who are presently accommodated in the guesthouse of the Tamil Nadu Government in Coimbatore, to cross the border.
Court also stated that, all those persons who are crossing the border in accordance with the passes so issued shall strictly adhere to the order and guidelines specified by State Government.
State Government is directed to ensure that basic facilities are provided to the persons reaching the entry points.
Another issue the Court considered was with persons stranded at Malahalla, for which the bench stated that,
even though Malahalla is not an entry point to receive the stranded persons, since it is submitted that 13 students are stranded there, which is also a forest area having presence of wild animals, the respondents shall adequately attend to the said matter so as to avoid any inconvenient situation.
Hence, in view of the above, matter to be posted on 12-5-2020. [Harish Vasudevan v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 635 , decided on 10-05-2020]