Two-wheeler makers will now have to sell a helmet along with each bike and scooter after the Supreme Court dismissing a plea by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers against such a step.
A Bench of the Court comprising Justice G. S. Singhvi and Justice A. K. Ganguly dismissed the petition filed by the Society challenging an earlier order of the Delhi High Court.
The Supreme Court ruled that the manufacturers would have to give BSI-certified helmets as “original equipment”.
On July 30, 2009, the Delhi High Court made it mandatory for dealers to sell helmets along with new two-wheelers and said the vehicle would not be registered by the authorities without it. The Society contended that the order would restrict the people's choice to buy their own helmet. Moreover, it would also force a person to buy a helmet again when he buys a new two-wheeler.
However, the Supreme Court was not convinced with the argument and said, “Let there be more helmets. When you are buying a second scooter for Rs.40,000, then you can buy a helmet also, which is of Rs.300 only.”
In its petition, the Society had contended that by the orders of the High Court the choice of customers was curtailed as they were forced to buy from the dealers of automobile companies and not from the open market.
It further contended that it was against the Motor Vehicles Act which says “helmet for a person” only and not “helmet for a vehicle”.
It also raised questions over the High Court's direction to provide only helmets conforming to the Bureau of Indian Standards.