Amid controversies, Sikh women finally exempted from wearing headgear

Last Updated: Oct 11 2018 18:23

It was all about the matter of safety unless it was made an issue of religious sentiments. As number of Sikh bodies were recklessly raising protest over the notification by Chandigarh Administration over the compulsion in wearing helmets, the Union Home Ministry led by Raj Nath Singh has finally directed the Chandigarh Administration to implement an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act that was carried out by the Delhi Government. According to new notification, the Sikh women are now granted exemption from wearing helmets while riding two wheelers.

It shall be noted that the SAD leaders in Punjab had been continuously demanding no helmet for Sikh women citing religious reasons. The announcement came hours after Akali Dal leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal met the home minister to press for the demand. Meanwhile, SGPC member and SAD Badal women wing president Bibi Jagir Kaur had also protested against the decision. She also demanded an exemption for all Sikh women wearing a turban or not.

It shall be noted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also asked Punjab during the hearing of the case that how will it identify a women to be sikh if she is found without wearing a helmet. However, no answers came up. The Delhi transport department through its notification issued on June 4, 1999 carried out the amendment in Rule 115 of Delhi Motor Vehicle Act 1993, making it optional for women "whether riding on pillion or driving motorcycle to wear protective headgear". This rule however changed in 2014 when only sikh women were granted exemption.