NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Wednesday informed the Delhi high court that it favours helmets for women and pillion riders and an amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act can be considered.
Submitting its response before a division bench comprising acting chief justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, the city government said women should also wear helmets for their own safety.
The government framed a response following an earlier notice from HC asking it to make its stand clear on whether helmets should be made mandatory for women or not. The court then posted the matter for next month to get the transport department’s views on the issue. The department is yet to place its stand before the court, for which it has been given time.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act and rules, Sikhs wearing turban and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters. HC was hearing a PIL which challenged this provision in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules which exempts women from wearing helmets when riding pillion. The response said such a move will save valuable lives and ensure that women related traffic fatalities come down.
The petitioner Ulhas P R, a social filmmaker, had challenged the exemption to women in his affidavit and had argued that there should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion. Citing traffic police figures of last year on women fatality in accidents while riding or travelling in two-wheelers, petitioner Ullhas argued in his PIL that “Women are equally vulnerable to injuries while riding or driving two-wheelers” and urged the court to make it mandatory for everyone to wear helmets.
The city government had wanted to make wearing helmet by all sections including the Sikh community mandatory in the 1990s but the move was thwarted in the wake of protests from a section of the community.