‘Helmet law won’t be changed for women’

The Delhi government has finally told the Delhi High Court that it felt there was no need to amend the rules that grant women exemption from wearing helmets.

In an affidavit submitted after Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed the government to come clean on the subject, the Transport department claimed that contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them since they had complied with the High Court order of April 25 last year.

By this order, a division bench had disposed of a PIL by film-maker Ulhas PR after the government conceded to bring in "appropriate amendments" to the Motor Vehicles Act. They agreed to "re-examine" the issue.

The affidavit cites a meeting in the office of the chief secretary during a discussion with the Lieutenant Governor on March 20, 2012 wherein the transport minister said the government should continue keeping it optional for women to wear helmets.

The affidavit fails to explain how a deliberation in March 2012 can come to the aid of the government when the HC order was passed in April 2012, when the authorities were directed to reconsider the exemption. The decision of this meeting remained the only reason cited by the government to defend its mandate not to change the law.

The government also sought to rely on an order dated December 6, 2012, by the Secretary-cum-Commissioner (Transport) wherein, it was stated that they were of the view that there is no need to amend the relevant rule.

The court will take up the government's affidavit on January 14.

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