On October 11, the Home Ministry issued an advisory asking the Chandigarh administration to exempt Sikh women from wearing a helmet while riding two-wheelers. It has asked the Chandigarh administration from following the earlier notification issued in 1999 by the Delhi government in the same regard.
Sikh women exempted from wearing helmet
Earlier, Sikh bodies, led by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had made a presentation to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh. As reported by NDTV, the decision to issue this advisory came after the representation from Sikh bodies. Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “We had appealed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and I am glad that the Home Ministry has agreed to our demand.”
As reported by The Indian Express, in July, the Chandigarh administration had amended Rule 193 of Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1990. According to the amendment, it made helmet compulsory for all women, however, Sikh women who wore turban were exempted from wearing them on religious grounds. Sikhs had argued that helmet represented cap which symbolises slavery.
Amendment to Delhi Motor Vehicle Act 1993
In 1999, the Delhi government had amended the Delhi Motor Vehicle Act 1993. Wearing the helmet was made optional for women. This applied to both the case whether the woman is riding a motorcycle or riding on the pillion. In August 2014 this was again amended, where the word “women” was replaced by “Sikh women”.
The Logical Indian believes that cultural and religious obligations taking a precedence over safety and health is highly objectionable. It has been time and again proven that helmets greatly reduce the risk of fatal injuries and in worse cases even death.