PIL in HC against road blocks during marathons

Challenging the authorities' step to block large portions of city roads during events like marathon and cyclothon, an Ahmedabad-based human rights organisation has moved a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Gujarat High Court (HC).

With that, the petitioner demanded a direction to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to change its plans for the upcoming marathon and cyclothon scheduled on January 5 and January 19 respectively.

Acting on the PIL, a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, has asked AMC's counsel to get the related instructions. The court kept the case for further hearing on Friday.

According to petitioner Yogkshem Foundation for Human Dignity, the AMC has planned marathon on January 5 and cyclothon on Janaury 19. Citing the previous instance of a cyclothon in the city on January 27 this year, the petitioner has stated that AMC, with help of the Ahmedabad city police, had blocked key city roads, stretching over 105 km, from 6 am to 1 pm, causing immense difficulties to the people of Ahmedabad. Many missed their flights, while ailing people failed to get to hospitals in time, and students missed their exam timings.

The petitioner stated that the AMC authorities have planned such events this year as well with plans similar to the previous. The authorities have also not replied in clear terms to the petitioner's letters, asking the former to address the road blockage issue, it said, adding that this is in clear violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Ahmedabad as they will be barred from using some key roads for around 7 hours each day.

The petitioner has also demanded that the AMC be directed to either hold the events in places like stadiums or the Sabarmati Riverfront or they be organised in such a manner that one stretch of any road is reserved for the event while the rest is kept open for public traffic.

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