Two-wheeler makers will now have to sell a helmet along with their bikes and scooters after the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers against such a step.
A bench comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice A.K. Ganguly dismissed the petition filed by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) challenging an earlier order of the Delhi High Court.
The apex court said the manufacturers would have to give BSI certified helmets as “original equipment”.
On July 30, 2009, the High Court made it mandatory for dealers to sell helmets along with new two-wheelers and said that the vehicle would not be registered by the authorities without it.
SIAM contended that the High Court 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 apex court was not convinced with the argument and said, “Let there be more helmets. When you are buying a second scooter of Rs 40,000, then you can buy a helmet also, which is of Rs 300 only.”
In its petition, SIAM 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. The association further contended that it was against the Motor Vehicles Act, which stated that a “helmet for a person” only and not “helmet for a vehicle”.
It also raised questions over the High Court’s direction to provide only those helmets conforming to the Bureau of Indian Standards. “The High Court made a serious error in directing that all purchasers of two-wheelers have to purchase helmet only from the dealer.
“This direction curtails the freedom of the purchaser to purchase helmet from the open market and third parties. It is also possible that in a particular case the purchaser may be buying a second vehicle and therefore may already have an existing helmet,” said SIAM in its petition filed by counsels Vipin Nair and P.B. Suresh.