The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notice on a petition challenging Rule 213(2) of the Madhya Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1994, by virtue of which the Section 129 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, which mandates wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler, does not apply to women riders in the state.
The impugned rule states,
"the provision of Section 129 of the Act, shall not apply to a woman or a child who is not more than 12 years of age."
The Petition was filed by Himanshu Dixit, a student of NLIU Bhopal, concerned by the danger posed to female two-wheeler riders on account of such a rule. He relied upon various statistical data concerning the total number of fatalities caused to women two-wheeler riders in Madhya Pradesh, in order to highlight the alarming and disturbing figures of the total number of people losing their lives due to the non-wearing of helmets in the state.
He submitted that men and women being equally susceptible to injury in any road accident, the state government was virtually throwing women in the death-well by providing them an opportunity to not wear helmet.
Thus, he contended, that the impugned rule was arbitrary and violative of Articles 14, 15(1) and 21 of the Constitution. It was further contended that the rule was bad in law for being ultra vires the parent statute, i.e., the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.
The Petitioner also submitted that the impugned rule had caused utter confusion in the minds of general public inasmuch as the "No-Helmet, No Petrol" rule issued by the District administration in the state was applicable to women. In fact, he pointed out that numerous instances of issuance of challans by the State traffic personnel to women two-wheeler riders had come to fore, which furthered the vagueness between state policies and the impugned rule.
Based on the aforementioned submissions, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla directed the Respondent State, represented by Government Advocate Bhopesh Tiwari, to file its response within two weeks, while fixing the matter for the week commencing November 11.