Court Notice Over Helmets For Women Pillion Riders
The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the Delhi Government’s Chief Secretary on a contempt of court petition over not amending the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993, to make wearing of helmets mandatory for women pillion riders on two-wheelers in the Capital.
Issuing the notice, Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed the Government to file a reply to the petition by December 14, the next date of hearing.
The contempt petition filed by documentary producer Ulhas PR said that the Government had failed to amend the relevant rule within the deadline of two months as directed by the High Court in April this year on a public interest litigation filed by him challenging making helmet wearing optional for women pillion riders.
The deadline expired on June 25.
The Court had passed the direction on April 25 on Ulhas’ petition.
He had argued that that the rule making helmet wearing optional for women pillion riders by the Government was unconstitutional as it discriminated between male pillion and women pillion riders on the ground of sex.
The Court had disposed of the petition when the Government informed it that the matter was under examination by the Transport Department for an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, makes wearing of helmets mandatory for every person who drives or rides a two-wheeler. However, Sikhs are exempted from it.
However, on demands from Sikh women, the Government had in 1999 amended the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993, exempting all women from wearing helmets on the ground that it was not possible to verify by appearance who was a Sikh and who was a non-Sikh.
But the petitioner argued that such discrimination was a violation of the Act. According to Section 29 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, wearing a helmet is mandatory for all. Therefore, the Delhi Government did not have any jurisdiction or justification to make it optional under the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993, he argued.