Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the authorities to strictly enforce the directions issued earlier by the court to impound vehicles of offenders for violation of the rule relating to compulsory wearing of helmets.
A division bench comprising Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad gave the directive and posted to June 12 further hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by K.K.Rajendran, seeking a direction to the authorities to implement the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, which made wearing of helmets by riders and pillion riders of two wheelers compulsory.
When the petition came up for hearing on Thursday, Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic-South) and Sri Abinav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East) were present in the court as per the earlier directive of the bench.
Additional advocate general P.H.Arvindh Pandian submitted that the authorities have been implementing the directions issued by the court. Last year action was taken against 5.5 lakh persons for not wearing helmet. This year till this month, already action was taken against 5 lakh people for not wearing helmets.
In 2017, there were 5,300 fatalities and in 2019 so far they have come down to 1,800. As per the direction of the First Bench to impound the vehicles for violation of the helmet rule, the authorities have been impounding the vehicles and surrender the same before the courts. The number of cases was increasing day by day, he added.
The bench said simultaneously, the accidents were also increasing. "We are not concerned about your revenue but the safety of the public. You must create awareness."
AAG said the system was so weak. The offenders just pay Rs 100 fine and get away. The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Rules were with a Select Committee and it was likely to be placed before the Parliament, he added.
When the bench asked as to whether the authorities have suspended the license of the offenders, AAG said nearly 2 lakh licenses were already suspended. In 2018 alone 1.58 lakh licenses were suspended. The authorities identify the offenders. If they commit the offence for the third time, their licenses will be suspended, he added. When the bench pointed out that day before yesterday a policeman, who met with an accident, was not wearing helmet, AAG Arvindh Pandian said the authorities were monitoring it and taking action against policemen also. Helmet rule was in force and the authorities were doing their best, he added and sought time to produce the related judgments passed by a single judge and the First Bench on the compulsory wearing of helmets. In its brief order, the bench said AAG submitted that the First Bench of this court has already passed directions to impound vehicles for violation of helmet rule. The direction shall be strictly enforced by the authorities.