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Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 2:49 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 3:00 AM (IST)

MHA’s advisory — Exempt Sikh women from helmet

Asks UT Administration to follow Delhi Govt notification
MHA’s advisory — Exempt Sikh women from helmet

Mukesh Ranjan
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 11

Sikh women in Chandigarh may now not be required to wear a helmet while riding two-wheelers as the Centre has sent an advisory to the Chandigarh Administration asking it to follow the notification issued by the Delhi Government giving them exemption from sporting the protective headgear. 

With this advisory, the UT Administration will now be obliged to issue directions in this regard through a notification for the city police on the street, said a senior Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) official. 

Asked pointedly how the police would be able to identify whether a woman riding a two-wheeler without a helmet was a Sikh, the official said “this will be determined and spelt out when the UT Administration notifies the rules based on the Delhi Government notification”. 

Incidentally, the decision in this regard was taken immediately after a meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had with Sikh leaders, led by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. “During the meeting, the Sikh leaders raised the issue citing religious sentiments,” the official added.

Earlier, the UT had also sent a request to the MHA asking for an advice as “religious sentiments have been invoked by some Sikh bodies and the matter also involves the question of legal parity,” the MHA official said. In a statement, the MHA said the UT had been advised “to follow the notification issued by Delhi, giving an exemption to Sikh women from wearing a helmet”. 

The Delhi Transport Department, through its notification issued on June 4, 1999, made an amendment to Rule 115 of Delhi Motor Vehicles Act, 1993, making it optional for women driving a two-wheeler or riding pillion to wear a protective headgear”. On August 28, 2014, the Rule was further amended as in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Act, in Sub-Rule 115, for the word “women” the word “Sikh women” shall be submitted. 

‘A victory for Sikhs’

"I have been wearing a helmet for long, much before it became mandatory. My safety is of utmost importance to me; our heads are not stronger than those of others" — Harmanpreet Kaur

"This is a victory for the  Sikhs. The Akali Dal strongly  opposed the decision of the Administration to make the helmet mandatory for   Sikh women." —  Hardeep Singh Buterla, President, Chandigarh Akali Dal

We welcome the  decision. We raised the issue with the Governor and the authorities concerned as it relates to religion. — Harjinder Kaur, former Mayor  

The advisory of the MHA to the UT is a sensitive matter. The Union of India will definitely submit its viewpoint before the judiciary in right perspective and jointly a suitable path will be worked out. After all, everything rests on the law, which is made/amended by the government and implemented by the courts. —  Ajay Jagga, Advocate

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