New Delhi: “People have a fundamental right to run,” the Supreme Court on Friday observed while refusing to postpone the Delhi half marathon scheduled on November 20 on the ground of air pollution in the national capital.A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave said that the court cannot ask the people not to run or not do the work which they want to.
“People have a fundamental right to run. We cannot stop them. We cannot say anything in this (regard). If some people want to run, we cannot stop them,” the bench said after a lawyer mentioned the matter and sought the court’s direction to postpone the half marathon.
The counsel said that air pollution in Delhi was a serious issue having impact on health of people, especially children and senior citizens, and the court should postpone it till the time situation improves.
“We are not saying that stay or cancel the marathon. We are only saying that please postpone it till the air quality becomes better in Delhi. Children and senior citizens would be affected due to the air pollution,” the counsel said.
To this, the CJI said, “Then tomorrow you can say that all the people should be stopped from doing their activities due to air pollution. It cannot be done like this. If we today stop people from running, tomorrow you will ask us to stop people from walking in parks.”
The counsel told the bench that the apex court had passed various directions with regard to the air pollution in Delhi. However, the court said, “It (the direction) was within the law. We cannot go beyond the law.”
The counsel contended that children do not know about that how the pollution can have a serious impact on their health.
The bench, while refusing to postpone the marathon, said, “Sorry, we cannot say anything like this.”
The apex court had earlier pulled up the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for not having an action plan ready to deal with the “emergency” smog situation in Delhi, saying, “Do you want to wait till people start dying.”