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The Bench, comprising the Chief Justice, J. L. Gupta, Justice J. B. Koshy and Justice A.K. Basheer, however, asked them to give the riders four weeks for buying the protective headgear. The court also ordered that those who failed to comply with the order be dealt with the relevant provisions of the law.
The court gave the directives while disposing of a writ petition filed by K. Narayanan Nair of Neyattinkara, Thiruvananthapuram, seeking to enforce the law. He had lost his son in a road accident. The petition was referred to the Full Bench by a Division Bench in view of a Division Bench ruling in this regard in 2000.
The Full Bench observed that chapter VIII of the Motor Vehicles Act provided for control of traffic, specification of parking slots, driving regulations, duty to obey traffic signals, etc. Besides, the State Government had framed ``positive rules'' making it mandatory for the two-wheeler driver and the pillion rider to wear protective headgear of ISI standards (under Rule 347 of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules). All these measures were meant to ensure safety of the driver as well the pedestrian. These had to be followed by every driver.
The Court said that likewise, Section 129 of the Act was one of the safety measures provided by Parliament. This section made it mandatory for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets. Also, Section 128 provided that no driver should carry more than one person in addition to a pillion rider. The Court said the mandate of the provisions was clear and categorical. The Bench ruled that since the provisions of the Act and Rules were clear, the State Government was ``under obligation'' to enforce their compliance.
A Division Bench had in 2000 set aside a Single Judge's order directing the State Government to implement the provision, on technical grounds. The amended Section 129 made it mandatory for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets of the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) quality.
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