A petition, filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday, sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the Delhi government for not amending the rules to make helmets compulsory for women two-wheeler riders within the deadline specified by the court.
The deadline set by the court for the government to decide if to make helmets compulsory for women expired on June 25, 2012. The court had on April 25 recorded the statement of the Delhi government lawyer, who had said that the issue was being "relooked" into by the transport department and necessary amendment to Rule 115(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules will be made after holding discussions with all the stakeholders.
The court had then given the government two months' time for the task. "I am forced to move a contempt petition as Delhi government is keeping mum despite the court direction on April 25 to take a decision within two months after amending the rules," said Ulhas PR, a social filmmaker who had raised the issue through a PIL and filed the contempt petition.
"I have information from the transport department that the government has decided to keep the issue in cold storage. But they are answerable to the court," said Ulhas.
A day after it assured the high court it would consider amending the rules to make helmets mandatory for women, the government did a U-turn. The transport department said the motor vehicle rules make it optional for women to wear a helmet and it intends to keep it that way. But the government is yet to inform the court about it.
According to sources, the government is in no mood to stir up a controversy, given the sensitivities of the Sikh community on the helmet issue. This meant that the government still stood by Rule 115(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993, which empowered it to make helmets optional for women and has no plans to amend it.