Helmet for women: HC notice to Delhi govt on contempt plea

The Delhi High Court today sought the city government's response on a plea to launch contempt proceedings against its chief secretary for not obeying its order for amending relevant transport rules to make wearing helmets mandatory for woman pillion riders on two-wheelers.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the chief secretary and sought its reply by December 14 on a plea by social film maker Ulhas P R to launch contempt of court proceedings.

Ulhas alleged the government failed to amend the rules as per the court's order, within two months, which expired on June 25.

While disposing of a public interest litigation by Ulhas on April 25, a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri had taken note that of the government's counter affidavit, which had said "the matter is being re-looked /re-examined by the department for appropriate amendment."

"We dispose of the writ petition with the direction to the government to undertake the necessary exercise and make suitable amendments, as it deems fit, within a period of two months from today," the court had added.

The court had passed the order the plea which had challenged the provision in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules which exempts women from wearing helmets while riding pillion on two-wheelers.

The petitioner had challenged the exemption given to women saying there should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion.

Government counsel Zubeda Begum had earlier told the court that although the Motor Vehicle Act, a central law, has not made it optional for women to wear helmets while riding pillion, the Delhi government had made it optional in its Motor Vehicle Rules 1993 and now it has decided to have a relook into the issue. 

As per the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules 1993, Sikhs wearing turban and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters.

In the 1990s, the city government had sought to make wearing of helmet by all sections including the Sikh community mandatory but the move was thwarted in the wake of protests against it, the petitioner had said in his plea. 

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