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Kerala HC Sets Aside Exemption Granted To Pillion Riders From Wearing Helmet; Directs Govt. To Make It Compulsory [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
24 Nov 2019 2:22 PM GMT
Kerala HC Sets Aside Exemption Granted To Pillion Riders From Wearing Helmet; Directs Govt. To Make It Compulsory [Read Judgment]
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'Wearing of helmet should be done compulsorily in respect of riders and pillion riders.'

The Kerala High Court has directed the Government to make it compulsory for the pillion riders to wear helmets.The bench of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice AM Shaffique set aside the 2003 Government Order which introduced Rule 347A in the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, which granted exemption to pillion riders in wearing headgear/helmet. It said that this Rule has...

The Kerala High Court has directed the Government to make it compulsory for the pillion riders to wear helmets.

The bench of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice AM Shaffique set aside the 2003 Government Order which introduced Rule 347A in the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, which granted exemption to pillion riders in wearing headgear/helmet. It said that this Rule has become inoperative and invalid in the light of 2019 amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Two persons [George John and Ravindran TU] had filed writ petitions challenging the 2003 amendment to the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules granting exemption to the pillion riders from wearing of protective headgears under Rule 347A of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. The Rule 347A read thus: Any person riding on a motor cycle other than the driver thereof, need not wear a protective headgear.

This Government order was stayed earlier by the single bench against which the Government had filed writ appeal. While considering this writ appeal and connected petitions, the bench noticed that, in the light of the 2019 Amendment to Motor Vehicles Act, which had come into force from 9th August, 2019, State Government can no longer be said to have the power to make any exceptions, as provided earlier u/s 129 of Act.

The amended provision read thus: '129. Every person, above four years of age, driving or riding or being carried on a motorcycle of any class or description shall, while in a public place, wear protective headgear conforming to such standards as may be prescribed by the Central Government.'  Before 2019 amendment, the Act provided that the state Government may, by such rules, provide for such exceptions as it may think fit. 2019 amendment to MV Act has no such provision.

Taking judicial notice of the fact that pillion riders are not wearing headgears despite the stay of the Government Order by the single bench, the bench sought response of the Government.

When the matter was taken up for further hearing on 19 November 2019, the Government sought time to issue a circular to all the Regional Transport Authorities, law and enforcement Agencies and others, for effective implementation of the Central enactment. It also undertook to make enforcement drive so as to enable the riders as well as the pillion riders to wear headgear. The Government also withdrew the appeal it had filed against the Single Bench stay order. 

Respondents are directed to initiate and complete the above said exercise, as expeditiously as possible and wearing of helmet should be done compulsorily in respect of riders and pillion riders, said the Court while disposing Writ Petitions and Writ Appeals. 

Click here to Read/Download Judgment


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