- Posted September 5, 2012 by
The most shocking part is the Capital of India Delhi is also following this Act, and the Delhi Governments' reluctance to implement this or amend this gender biased rule 115 (2) which states that helmet is optional for women.
I have been running this campaign on women safety for the last 2 and a half years, even after the Delhi High Court passed an order in this regard on 25th of April 2012 directing the Delhi Government to make necessary changes in the said rule. The Delhi Government did not do any thing to amend the rule.
Finally I filed for contempt of Court and the Delhi High Court has fixed 14th December 2012 as the next date.
Now the irony is that earlier the people were not aware that women riders also need not wear helmet but after this order by the Delhi High Court more women got aware and they have started not wearing helmet while driving also. One may easily see this.
I have copies and responses from the President of India, Prime Minister of India, Chief Minister of Delhi, Chief Secretary of Delhi, Joint secretaries etc. the list is exhaustive but the result is same.
women are dying on Delhi's road but who cares is the attitude and the irony being not a single women organisation has come forward. Have all the details on saveourwomen.in
I would like to bring in what our law says in this regard.
Section 129 of Motor Vehicle Act
Every person driving or riding (otherwise than in a side car, on a motor cycle of any class or description) shall, while in a public place, wear 1[protective headgear conforming to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards]:
Provided that the provisions of this sections shall not apply to a person who is a Sikh, if he is, while driving or riding on the motor cycle, in a public place, wearing a turban:
Provided further that the State Government may, by such rules, provide for such exceptions as it may think fit.
Explanation.-"Protective headgear" means a helmet which,-
(a) by virtue of its shape, material and construction, could reasonably be expected to afford to the person driving or riding on a motor cycle a degree or protection from injury in the event of an accident; and
(b) is securely fastened to the head of the wearer by means of straps or other fastenings provided on the headgear.
Now if we read carefully the Act has a loophole which gives power to the state government to amend the law as they think fit, which goes like this “Provided further that the State Government may, by such rules, provide for such exceptions as it may think fit.
This power is used as vote politics and although the Actual Act says all the persons except Sikh wearing turbans, many states have exempted women from wearing helmet so as to say the State Governments does not take women as person and they are least bothered whether woman dies or meets up with severe head injuries, which again has been pointed out time and again by the Government agencies, The Traffic police the Trauma Centre etc.
About the campaign. The campaign was started in the year 2010 on International Womens’ Day i:e 8th of March, let me summarise this point wise,
• We launched a website saveourwomen.in.
• Did pilot project in Gargi College to take view from the girls on this issue.
• Sent 70 helmets to all the MLA’s of Delhi.
• Placed an advertisement on Aajtak.
• Symbolic demonstration at Jantar Mantar July 2010.
• Interviewed dignitaries, Shri Ajay Chaddha, Commissioner of Police, Traffic Delhi, Shri Satyendra Garg, JCP, Traffic Delhi, Shri MC Misra, Head Truama centre Delhi, and Smt Pratima Singh, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, Delhi. All these dignitaries felt and said this gender biased law must be changed.
• We interviewed some of the MLA’s who were again very supportive.
But all this while nothing seemed to be moving, assurances were given but no action was taken to further this cause. Contacted many reporter friends regarding this issue but none seemed to be interested.
• Did one more demonstration at Jantar Mantar, this time for 7 days in the month of July 2011, this time some newspapers did cover the story but again nothing was happening.
• Gave memorandum to the President of India, Prime Minister of India, Lt. Governor of Delhi and CM Delhi, (got a written response from CM’s office, but again the issue was stuck.
All this while I was thinking what’s wrong with the authority here I am fighting to bridge the gap between genders in terms of safety although people show concern and all of them agree that when it’s a question of safety the law should be equal to all even our constitution specifically states this.
Left with no option I spoke with one of my advocate friend whose father is again an advocate with Supreme Court of India. We filed a PIL in the month of August 10th 2011.
On the first hearing itself I thought the Government shall agree to bring about the necessary amendments in the law, and make wearing of helmet mandatory for women while riding/pillion riding Two wheeler, and on second thought I was of the view that The High Court would take it suo motto. But none of this happened and my PIL got dismissed the very same day. But there was a respite though, the court asked me to file another PIL challenging the rule “115 of Motor Vehicle Act, which had made it optional for women to wear helmet.
So again fresh PIL was filed on 24th of August 2011, this time the court admitted the PIL and gave notice to the Government in this regard, the news was all over the Newspapers.
Now the real game of how our Government can become insensitive towards such a sensitive issue came to light. The fact that they were ready to challenge the PIL itself was shocking to me. But then I thought ok we are a democratic country, every citizen has a right to speak and express same holds true for the Government.
The irony of all this is that no women organization has come forward to help this case/issue although it concerns women safety.
The advocate from the Government’s side is a woman.
Our President is a woman “have written to her”
Our Chief Minister is a woman.
UPA Chairperson is a woman.
Leader of opposition in the parliament is a woman.
What to expect from this male dominated society where we say save girl child and then let them die in road accident as if to say “dowry death, female feticide, were not enough.
Well after many deliberation in the court almost after 8 months due to Governments dilly dallying tactics the case was heard on 25th of April 2012. The Transport Department gave an affidavit in the court stating they are working on the amendment. The Delhi High Court gave them 2 months’ time which ends on 24th of June, 2012. The very next day Our CM who happens to be a woman herself refutes the affidavit given to the High Court as a mistake by the Transport Department. The Government is still working on it or not I don’t know, but the issue stands as it is.
Is this a democracy where the rulers don’t listen to their own people, be it general public, the Traffic Police, The Transport Department, National Commission for women, Head Trauma Centre, all the Newspapers and TV channels. The Government is least bothered
If this is democracy then what is Dictatorship? The only difference being, in Democracy we have right to speak but in Dictatorship this right does not stand a chance. But what’s the use of right to speak when its not acted upon.
Hope this campaign gets a speedy and justified conclusion.