The UT Administration on Tuesday initiated the process to make the helmet compulsory for all women, including Sikhs, driving two-wheelers or riding pillion in the city. Only Sikh women wearing a turban will be exempted.
The development assumes significance as the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken suo motu notice of the issue of safety of women, including Sikhs, while riding pillion or driving two-wheelers of any class or description and exemption given to them from wearing headgear under the Motor Vehicle Rules.
Taking cognisance of the matter, the Chandigarh Administration, while considering the aspect of safety of women, including Sikhs not wearing a turban, particularly in view of the fatalities in road accidents, on Tuesday issued a draft notification for amending the existing rules.
According to the draft notification, the words “a Sikh woman wearing a turban” instead of the words “or a woman” are proposed to be substituted in Rule 193 of the Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1990.
This will make the headgear mandatory for all women drivers and pillion riders (except Sikhs wearing a turban) on any two-wheeler in the city.
The UT Administration has invited objections and suggestions from city residents, likely to be affected by this amendment, within 30 days.
“After 30 days, we will go through the objections and suggestions received and issue a formal notification to make the helmet compulsory for all women drivers and pillion riders (except Sikhs wearing a turban) on any two-wheeler in the city,” a top UT functionary told .
He said, “Since the safety of women on roads is our priority, the Chandigarh Administration proposes to make changes to the Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1990”.
When the High Court made the helmet compulsory while issuing a slew of directions on traffic regulation and road safety in July 1998, the directions led to vociferous protests by Sikh women, who had even marched up to the High Court soon after the judgment.
Following the protests, the UT Administration had exempted all women riders from wearing the helmet.
What the HC said
Is there any difference between the skull of a male and a female? This was what the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the Chandigarh Administration the other day while questioning how the Administration had exempted women from wearing the headgear while riding pillion or driving a two-wheeler.
Taking suo motu cognisance of women riding away from the law by not wearing safety helmets, resulting in increasing number of fatalities and injuries to bare-headed women two-wheeler riders, the High Court had sought a status report from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana on the wearing of helmets by the two-wheeler riders.>