New Delhi: To ensure safety of women riding
pillion, Delhi Government is likely to favour rescinding of an
exemption for the fair sex from wearing helmet, irrespective
of their religion, but will leave the final decision to the
Delhi High Court.
The city government has framed its response following a
notice by Delhi High Court asking it to make its stand clear
on whether it should be made mandatory for women to wear
The court had issued the notice to Delhi Government in
August admitting a PIL which challenged a provision in the
Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules which exempts women from wearing
helmets when riding pillion.
"We feel that women should also wear helmets. But it is
up to the court to decide on the issue," a top official of the
city government said.
The petitioner Ulhas P R, a social filmmaker, in his
affidavit challenging the exemption to women, said there
should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their
caste, creed, gender and religion.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act and rules, Sikhs wearing
turban and women are exempted from wearing helmets while
riding motor-cycles and scooters.
In 1990s, the city government had wanted to make wearing
helmet by all sections including the Sikh community mandatory
but the move was thwarted in the wake of protests from a
section of the community.
Officials, framing the response to the court notice, said
the government was giving its opinion only on women riding
pillion and it is not at all related to whether members of
Sikh community riding two wheelers should also wear helmets.
When asked about the petitioner seeking uniform law for
all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and
religion, they said government response will be confined to
women pillion riders only.
The government had sought opinion of the police on the
issue which also favoured making wearing of helmet compulsory
for women while riding or driving a two wheeler.
As per police data, 64 women died in road accidents while
travelling on two wheelers last year. This year also there
have been 37 casualties of women while travelling on two
wheelers till June.
The matter is expected to come up for hearing on October
Petitioner Ulhas had submitted that with the intervention
of the court, the city government had framed rules making
headgear mandatory for motor cyclists and pillion riders but
Sikh men and women have been exempted.