The Madras High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Tamil Nadu government for not effectively implementing the compulsory helmet rule for two-wheeler riders and said people have to be made aware of the law. It said nothing has been done to sensitise the people about the necessity of wearing a helmet.
"The government is not serious to implement its own order. The government order only remains on paper," a bench of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad said. It made the observation after going through a report filed by the state's director general of police (DGP) about steps taken to enforce February 22, 2007, government order making it compulsory for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets and seatbelts for car occupants.
The court described the DGP's report as "vague".With regard to the awareness programme between 2007 and 2018, nothing, other than a press release brought out in 2018, has been mentioned, the bench said. The court was hearing a PIL filed by a city resident K K Rajendran over the implementation of the rule under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The bench had in August sought to know why the rule was not enforced effectively and directed the police to file a report. In the report submitted on Wednesday, the DGP said over Rs 13 crore had been collected as fine from two-wheeler riders for not wearing helmets between 2013 and July this year.
He also submitted that the police department has made sincere efforts for implementation of traffic rules and initiated steps to create awareness among people about the importance of wearing helmets. Between 2005 and 2014, 41,300 people of the 62,413 people, who suffered head injuries, had died, the court said, citing statistics on road accidents.
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The deaths due to the head injuries could be prevented by taking a simple precaution of wearing a helmet, it said. People have to be made aware of the fact that wearing a helmet is a safety measure as per the Motor Vehicles Rules, the court added. It said the police are bound to implement the helmet rule and not give an impression that they are enforcing it because of the court's insistence.
The court directed the police to file an affidavit on the progress made and a roadmap for the implementation of the order and posted the matter for further hearing on October 27.