'Women should be exempted from wearing helmets in Delhi'

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) For the Delhi government, it is men two-wheeler riders who need safety on roads, not women.

The city's transport department Monday told the Delhi High Court that it has decided against making it mandatory for women pillion riders to wear helmets, keeping in view the sensitivities of the Sikh community.

"The issue of wearing of helmets was discussed in a meeting. It was found that making wearing of helmets compulsory for women will meet opposition from Sikh women," the department said in an affidavit submitted before Justice G.S. Sistani.

"The minister of transport was of the opinion that we should continue with the exemption and at the same time educate women on safety aspects of wearing helmets while riding two wheelers," it added.

The court posted the matter for May 16.

The court was hearing a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for non-compliance of its earlier order to amend the motor vehicle rules for making helmets mandatory for woman pillion riders.

The contempt plea was filed by Ulhas P.R., who claimed to be a social film maker, for contempt of court proceedings as the government had failed to amend the rules in two months - by June 25 - as per the order of a division bench.

"Every year, about 60 to 70 women die due to head injuries sustained in road accidents involving two wheelers, and the government should make wearing helmets compulsory for all pillion riders as well," the petition had said.

An affidavit filed by Rajesh Sakkarwal, deputy commissioner of the transport department, said: "The transport minister in consultation with the concerned officials opined that the exemption under Rule 115 (2) was given to women after due consideration in view of the sensitivity of the matter."

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