Are women’s lives less valuable than men’s? If not, then why is wearing helmets compulsory for men driving two-wheelers, while it is only “optional” for women, under the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules?
This issue was brought before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday as a public interest litigation (PIL) that demanded that helmets should be made compulsory for both genders.
The PIL significantly comes a month after Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic), posted on the Facebook page of Delhi traffic police that helmets should be made compulsory for women.
Citing traffic police figures that more than 100 women died in accidents while riding or travelling in two-wheelers last year, petitioner Ullhas PR said: “Women are equally vulnerable to injuries while riding or driving two-wheelers.”
Garg said: “This year, there have been 37 female casualties while travelling on two-wheelers till June 30. We are of the opinion that if these women were wearing helmets, many of them could have survived.”
Chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Sanjiv Khanna heard Ullhas saying he had raised a serious issue. But he was asked to come back to court after making some changes in his petition.
This was after Delhi Police counsel Rajiv Nanda pointed out that Ullhas had not challenged Rule 115 of Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993, which made it “optional” for women to wear helmets and had only made a vague demand without specifically citing the law he wanted scrapped.
Nanda also contended that the court could not issue such a direction as it was a policy matter concerning the state.