Gujarat govt. files affidavit before High Court saying that it has not officially made helmet wearing voluntary

Ahmedabad:Taking a U-turn of sorts the Gujarat government has submitted an affidavit in the High Court here claiming that it had never brought any notification, order or regulation making helmets optional for two-wheeler riders.

Earlier the government pleader had verbally informed the same to the court on January 27.The court had asked it to file an affidavit in this regard by January 30 ie today.

The government has now submitted the 5 page affidavit before the court of Chief Justice Vikram Natha and Justice AJ Shastri, in which it has categorically said that it has not issued any notification, order, or made any regulation making helmets optional, and even added helmets had been made mandatory even for pillion riders.

Earlier on December 4 the state transport minister R C Faldu had that the state Cabinet has decided to make the rule of wearing helmets voluntary in municipal corporation and municipality limits in the state. However it would continue to remain mandatory for highways. Later when the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety rapped the Gujarat government, he said that the decision was temporary.

A PIL has been filed by one Sanjeev Bhargav, a resident of Surat who had claimed the government decision to make helmets temporarily optional was in violation to the section 129 of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019. This section makes helmet wearing mandatory for all the motor cycle/two-wheeler drivers and riders.

Faldu had earlier while announcing the cabinet decision to make helmet wearing voluntary had said that people in the cities were making pleas about removing the mandatory use of helmets. He said that people were arguing that they faced difficulty in carrying helmets while going to buy vegetables from a local market or places like crematoriums. Though the state government was of the view that use of helmets saved lives by protecting the riders from head injuries yet owing to oppose of the provision under the Motor Vehicles Act by the citizens and also through social media, it was decided to do away with it in the urban areas in the local urban bodies limits after in-depth consideration of the issue. It has been made voluntary from today.

Notably, Gujarat was among the first states in the country to reduce the fines of traffic violations stipulated by the new Motor Vehicles Act in September this year. Under the new act not wearing the helmet attracted a fine of Rs 500.

The petitioner Sanjiv Bhargav told newsmen here today that now that a secetary level officer of the state goverment has submitted an affidavit stating that the government has not relaxed the helmet rules, the confusion was over. He was happy about it.


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