Women riding two-wheelers on Delhi's streets or even riding pillion may soon have to wear helmets.
The Delhi Government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it was "considering" making helmets mandatory for women and has decided to "re-examine" the law that made it optional for the fairer sex.
Zubeida Begum, standing counsel for the transport department, submitted before a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri that "a decision has been taken to make necessary amendment to Rule 115 (2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules which made helmets optional for women. This will be done after consultations with all stakeholders".
The court then asked the government to undertake "all necessary exercise" within two months.
The court was hearing a PIL for making helmets compulsory for women as well. "Women are equally vulnerable to injuries while riding or driving two-wheelers. Their lives are not less valuable than that of men," petitioner Ullhas PR , a social filmmaker said terming the exemption "illegal".
The statement is a u-turn on the part of the government as on March 1, the last date of hearing, it had said helmets could not be made compulsory for women and government was within its rights under section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act to exempt women on the line of exemption granted to turban-wearing Sikhs.
It is to be noted that Delhi joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg had in June last year posted on the Facebook page of traffic police that he was of the view that helmets should be made compulsory for women.Garg had said: "Traffic police data shows that 64 women died in road accidents while travelling on two-wheelers in 2010. This year (2011) also there have been 37 casualties of women while travelling on two wheelers till June 30. If these women were wearing helmets, many of them could have survived."