Govt opposes PIL against exempting Sikh women from wearing helmets

The city government on Wednesday opposed in the Delhi High Court a PIL against its recent notification exempting Sikh women from wearing helmets while driving or riding pillion on two-wheelers here.

New Delhi: The city government on Wednesday opposed in the Delhi High Court a PIL against its recent notification exempting Sikh women from wearing helmets while driving or riding pillion on two-wheelers here.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, on being told that a similar plea had earlier been dismissed by it, asked the counsel for the Delhi government to furnish the copy of that judicial order.

"You (Delhi government) provide us the copy of the order and you also provide us the copy of the notification," it said and fixed the PIL, filed by Amit Bhagat, for hearing on November 12.

The PIL, filed through lawyer Bhupender Pratap Singh, has challenged the recent amendment to Rule 115(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules that has exempted Sikh women from wearing helmets in Delhi.

It has said that the transport department notification, issued on August 28, was "illegal" and "unconstitutional".

"The impugned notification seeks to amend rule 115(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993 which hitherto exempted all women from wearing helmets when driving or riding pillion on a motorcycle, to allow the exemption from wearing a helmet only to Sikh women.

"The rule as it stood before the amendment and as it stands after the amendment is violative of section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, the parent Act from which the state fovernment derives its rule making power," it has said.

The PIL has submitted, "The said section mandates the helmet law for all except Sikh men wearing a turban. The amended rule would have addressed the illegality in rule 115(2) had it not excepted the Sikh women from its operation....."

Studies done all over the world suggest that helmets prevent injuries and help to preserve life in the event of an accident, it had said.

The court had on January 22 refused to entertain a PIL seeking framing of rules to make wearing helmets mandatory for all two-wheeler riders in the city.

The PIL was filed by Ulhas P R, a documentary filmmaker, in pursuance of an earlier direction of a single judge bench in a similar case that he should file a separate plea challenging the provision of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules that exempts women from wearing helmets.

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