‘No decision on making helmet mandatory for women’



New Delhi: Changing its earlier stand, Delhi Government on Thursday said it has not taken any decision on amending the motor vehicle rules to make it mandatory for woman pillion riders on two wheelers to wear helmets and the matter was under examination.

The government yesterday had informed the Delhi High Court that it has decided to amend the motor vehicle rules to rescind the exemption given to woman pillion riders on two wheelers and make it mandatory for them to wear helmets.

"No decision has been made on the issue. The matter is still under examination of the government," Special Commissioner in Transport Department P K Gupta said.

Although the Motor Vehicle Act, a central law, does not give any exemption to women from wearing helmet while riding pillion, the Delhi government had made it optional in 1999 in its Motor Vehicle Rules following strong protests by Sikh groups arguing that the religion prohibits wearing helmets.

"The court has given us two months' time take a final decision on the issue. We will firm up our position during the timeframe given by the court," Gupta said.

As per Delhi Government's Motor Vehicle Rules 1993, Sikhs wearing turban and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters.

Following government's position on the issue, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had yesterday asked it to carry out the amendments in two months and disposed of a plea for making helmets mandatory for women riders.

The court was hearing a plea which had challenged a provision in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules which exempts women from wearing helmets when riding pillion.

The petitioner Ulhas P R, a social filmmaker, in his plea challenging the exemption to women, said there should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion.

The Transport department issues a statement also saying " it is further reiterated that it is optional for a woman whether riding on pillion or driving on a motor cycle/two-wheeler to wear a protective headgear/helmet as per the existing legal provisions."

PTI