SC gives Delhi, UP, Haryana one week to frame border-policy
With traffic snarls being reported on a daily basis from Delhi/NCR, the Supreme Court on Thursday stepped in, asking all three states — Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, to decide on a common policy for movement within a week. They should come up with a common pass system, the three-judge bench said while hearing a petition filed by Gurugram resident Rohit Bhalla.
Inter-state travel had been banned for weeks, due to lockdown, enforced to contain coronavirus' spread. In Unlock 1.0, the federal government gave relaxations but said local administration can take solo decisions. Subsequently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal closed the border for a week, despite Haryana allowing movement. Noida chose to keep borders sealed, saying that a large number of infections were traced to Delhi.
Notably, on Wednesday, commuters were stuck in a massive gridlock on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border since the Delhi-Meerut Expressway was blocked, diverting the traffic to a single carriageway. The problem started at 9 am and was resolved around 2 pm when cops eased checking. A lawyer who had to reach SC was stuck. A doctor had to ask her colleague to take over surgery.
Upset with the rules, Bhalla approached SC and his petition was argued by senior lawyer Mukul Talwar. The plea said that NCR residents who have families across the border are "facing harassment in crossing the said inter-state borders in cases of a medical emergency, access to hospitals/health-care professionals, and essential needs. There is no manner of expediting a pass for medical emergencies".
Understanding the problems faced by residents of neighboring cities, the bench, including Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah, asked Centre to convene a meeting of all three states and decide on a common portal. Separately, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was asked to take instructions on difficulties that people are facing due to stalemate among the three states.