A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw was told by government counsel Zubeda Begum, who appeared for the transport department, that it has received objections on the issue and after considering all aspects it has decided to make the helmet optional for Sikh women.
After hearing the submissions of the transport department, the court said: "It is up to the government to decide the issue."The court reserved its order on a public-interest litigation challenging the exemption granted to Sikh women from wearing helmet.
The court earlier asked the transport department to apprise it why it has made such an amendment in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules that exempts Sikh women from wearing a helmet.
The plea said according to the Motor Vehicle Act only Sikh men wearing turbans are exempted from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles and scooters. The recently amended Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules have exempted the Sikh women from wearing helmets on religious grounds.
The plea contended that this provision is violative of the Motor Vehicle Act."The Motor Vehicle Act mandates the helmet law for all except Sikh men wearing a turban...The amended rule by virtue of the exemption given to Sikh women from wearing helmets continues to be ultra-vires to the parent Motor Vehicle Act," the plea said.
"It (amended rule) is thus illegal and liable to be declared void to the extent of exemption given to the Sikh women from the requirement of wearing a helmet when driving or riding pillion on a motorcycle," it added.