Govt fails to tighten helmet rules, gets court summon

It was given two months time to amend motor vehicle laws, make helmets mandatory for women pillion riders.

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the chief secretary of the Delhi government on a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for non-compliance of its earlier order to amend the Motor Vehicle Rules.

The amendment was sought for making helmets mandatory for woman pillion riders.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher sought a response from the government by December 14 on a plea filed by Ulhas P R, who claimed to be a social filmmaker, for contempt of court proceedings as the government had failed to amend the rules in two months — by June 25.

Earlier, the city government had told a division bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that the Motor Vehicle Rules will be amended to make it compulsory for women to wear helmets.

Two-month time

To this, the court had granted two months’ time to the government for making necessary amendments.

Disposing of the PIL on April 25, the court had said, “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 Delhi government had also submitted before the court that although a central law like the Motor Vehicle Act has made it mandatory for women to wear helmets while riding pillion, the Delhi government had made it optional in its Rule in 1993, and now it has decided to make necessary amendments.

The PIL filed by Ulhas before the division bench had challenged a provision in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, which exempts women from wearing helmets when riding pillion.

Challenging the exemption to women, he said there should be a uniform law for everybody, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion.

Exempted

According to the Motor Vehicle Act and Rules, Sikhs wearing turbans and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles and scooters.

It was submitted that at the intervention of this court, the city government had framed rules making headgear mandatory for two-wheeler drivers and pillion riders, but Sikh men have been exempted.

“Every year, about 60 to 70 women die due to head injuries sustained in road accidents involving two-wheelers. The government should make wearing helmets compulsory for all pillion riders as well,” the petition stated.

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