Helmet exemption to Sikh women: Chandigarh turns to Centre for clarity

In view of amendments in the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, the UT administration will be seeking clarification from the central government regarding exemption to Sikh women from wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers. Under a 2018 notification of the UT administration, Sikh women were exempted from wearing helmets, even if they didn’t wear a turban.
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Updated on Sep 06, 2019 01:50 AM IST
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Hindistan Times, Chandigarh | By, Chandigarh

In view of amendments in the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, the UT administration will be seeking clarification from the central government regarding exemption to Sikh women from wearing helmets while riding two-wheelers.

Under a 2018 notification of the UT administration, Sikh women were exempted from wearing helmets, even if they didn’t wear a turban.

But on September 1, the amended MV Act came into force. One of the sections (Section 129), pertaining to protective headgear (helmet), under which the UT had exempted Sikh women from mandatory wearing of helmets has now been amended.

While the amended provisions retain the exemption to “Sikh wearing turbans”, the states’ power to allow more exceptions has been withdrawn. Punjab and Haryana high court advocate Himanshu Raj said, “The authority of states to make their own rules regarding exemption from wearing a helmet has been taken away by the amended act.”

UT IN QUANDARY

“With no power to grant exemptions, the UT can’t continue with granting exception to Sikh women to a mandatory rule,” said a senior UT official privy to administration’s internal discussions.

Meanwhile, a senior official of UT transport department, said, “The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 hasn’t been replaced or superseded by the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019. The amendment Act has only introduced certain changes in the principal Act. Therefore, the notification made under the principal Act, giving exemption to Sikh women, still stands and does not need to be re-notified.”

“We will be following directions from the Centre in this matter,” said Manoj Kumar Parida, UT adviser.

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