Not for us to decide who wears helmets, says Delhi High Court

New Delhi, Jan 22: The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the government to make helmet wearing mandatory for women two-wheeler riders including pillion riders, saying the government will decide who has to wear helmets.

A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said it is the government’s decision to make helmets compulsory for women and the court will not interfere in it.

“How can we direct the government to frame rules for women to wear helmets? Government is the best authority to decide who to wear helmet and who not. We are not inclined to interfere in government’s policy and we dismiss the petition,” the bench said.

Delhi government’s counsel Zubeda Begum told the court that “because of the sentiments of certain communities, we decided not to amend the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules”.

The plea, filed by Ulhas, who termed himself a social film maker, through advocate R.K. Kapoor, sought that the government should make necessary amendments in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules 1993.

It also asked the court to lay down a uniform policy for compulsory wearing of helmets for all people irrespective of gender.

Earlier also, the PIL was filed which the court disposed of after the city government informed it that motor vehicle rules would be amended to make it compulsory for women to wear helmets.

The Delhi government had earlier submitted before the court that although a central law like the Motor Vehicle Act has made it mandatory for women to wear helmets while riding pillion, the Delhi government had made it optional in its rules in 1993 and now it has decided to consider Rule 115 again and make necessary amendments.

Now, the government said it can not amend the rules to make wearing helmet compulsory for women.

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

Challenging the exemption to women, the petitioner said there should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act and rules, Sikhs wearing turbans and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters.