High Court fed up with failure of police to implement helmet rule strictly

Judge says it is time to order action against policemen for failure to perform duty

Tired of repeated directions issued to the police to ensure that both riders as well as pillion riders in two-wheelers wear helmets, the Madras High Court on Tuesday said it was fed up with continual submissions made by the police officers that they had been doing everything within their mite to implement the helmet rule.

The reported efforts taken by the police do not appear to get reflected on the ground situation here, Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad said and wondered why was the Greater Chennai city police not able to enforce the law strictly when their counterparts in New Delhi had been doing a tremendous job over there.

The senior judge in the Bench referred to his recent trip to New Delhi and said not even a child travels on a two-wheeler there without wearing a helmet.

He also stated that his companion judge had spent most of his time in New Delhi during his stint as a lawyer in the Supreme Court and was well aware of the situation over there.

Concurring with the senior, Justice Prasad said, helmet was an essential life saving gear because it saves riders from suffering head injuries which was the most common cause for casualties.

“It does not matter whether someone is riding at 100 km an hour or 50 km or 20 km, once a rider falls down on a busy road, that’s it,” the judge added.

Unimpressed with data

The Bench was not impressed with the data produced by the police before the court to substantiate their claim of enforcing the law with greater vigour by imposing fines on as many as 1.4 lakh motorists in just 20 days. It said, the data was of no use when it was there for everyone to see that a majority of pillion riders do not wear helmets. The judges had on July 5 called for closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footages from three important main roads in the city to find out whether the number of cases booked by the police for various kinds of road traffic violations matched with the actual number of violations noticed during the peak hours.

The footage shot on July 2 was obtained from Anna Salai (beginning from Kathipara junction in Guindy to Thomas Munro statue near Island Grounds), Kamarajar Salai (beginning from Malar hospital in Adyar till the Reserve Bank of India office) and the stretch from Pachaiyappa’s Higher Secondary School at NSC Bose Road to Madras Medical College.

They played the footage from one of the roads on their laptop in the court hall on Tuesday and showed it to the police as well as law officers present in the court before pointing out that nearly 300 motorists without helmets could be seen passing through the roads every hour. Those riding two-wheelers without helmets included some policemen too. Expressing disappointment over empty assurances given in the court by the police and the half hearted action taken against the violators, the judges said, it was time that the court ordered action against the policemen for failing to discharge their duties as well as their superiors for failing to monitor effectively.

The observations were made during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition which sought for a direction to the police to implement the helmet rule in letter and spirit to save hundreds of lives. After expressing their anguish, the judges adjourned the case to Friday for passing appropriate orders.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:55:42 AM |

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