NEW DELHI, India—Considering a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the exemption given to Sikh women from wearing a helmet, the Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi government why it has exempted Sikh women pillion riders from wearing a helmet.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw asked the transport department to tell the court why it has made such a modification in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules that exempts Sikh women from wearing a helmet.
The bench said, “We would like to know why it (helmet) is not for Sikh women. Why has the government made such an amendment? What is the reason behind it?”
It asked the state government to produce the judgment passed by the High Court on a PIL seeking a direction to make helmets mandatory for women two-wheeler riders, including pillion riders.
The court’s direction came after advocate Zubeda Begum, appearing for the transport department, told the bench that in January the court had passed an order on a similar PIL and asked the government to decide on the issue.
After the court’s direction, the transport department amended the rules and exempted Sikh women from wearing helmets on religious grounds.
The court posted the matter for November 12.
The PIL was filed by advocate Bhupender Pratap Singh who said that according to the Motor Vehicle (MV) Act only Sikh men wearing turbans are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles and scooters.
However, the amended Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules have exempted Sikh women from wearing helmets. Singh contended that this provision is violative of the MV Act.