The city government on Friday told the Delhi High Court that “there is no need to amend the motor vehicle rules to make helmet mandatory for woman as the issue is sensitive.”
Appearing for the Delhi government, Counsel Zubeda Begum told this to Justice Rajiv Shakdher and placed before him the file, dealing with Transport Department’s deliberations for introducing the requisite amendment earlier this month.
Seeking more time from the court, she also said a formal affidavit would be filed in this regard.
Granting the government time till January 13, Justice Shakdher said, “Despite a proactive view of the Delhi Commission for Woman (DCW) for amendment in the rules, the government is not to accept it.”
“The government’s stand is contrary to the earlier stand taken before the court to re-examine the issue,” the court noted.
The court was hearing a plea by social film maker Ulhas P R to launch contempt of court proceedings against Delhi chief secretary for not obeying court’s previous order to amend relevant transport rules to make wearing helmets mandatory for woman pillion riders on two-wheelers.
Ulhas alleged the government has failed to amend the rules as per the court’s April order, within two months, which expired on June 25.
Earlier while disposing of a public interest litigation by Ulhas on April 25, a division bench had taken note of the government’s counter affidavit, which had said, “The matter is being re-examined by the department for appropriate amendment.”
“We dispose of the writ petition with the direction to the government to undertake the necessary exercise and make suitable amendments, as it deems fit, within a period of two months from today,” the court had said.
The court had passed the order on the plea which had challenged the provision in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules which exempts women from wearing helmets while riding and also as pillion on two-wheelers.
The petitioner had also challenged the exemption given to women saying there should be a uniform law for all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender and religion.
Government counsel Zubeda Begum had earlier told the court that although the Motor Vehicle Act, a central law, has not made it optional for women to wear helmets while riding pillion, the Delhi government had made it optional in its Motor Vehicle Rules 1993.
As per the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules 1993, Sikhs wearing turban and women are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motor-cycles and scooters.
In the 1990s, the city government had sought to make wearing helmet by all sections including the Sikh community mandatory but the move was thwarted in the wake of protests against it, the petitioner had said in his plea.