Rama Rao, J.
1. These writ petitions are for issuance of a writ of Mandamus declaring that Rules 2 and 3 of the Motor Vehicles (Protective Headgears) Rules, 1980 and Rule 498-A of the (A. P.) Motor Vehicles Rules, 1964 are unconstitutional, illegal and void and consequently directing the respondents not to insist upon the general public wearing helmets compulsorily.
2. The averments in support of the writ petitions may be briefly stated: The petitioners are having two-wheeler vehicles and they drive them. Rule 498-A was introduced by G. O. Ms. No. 983 dated 28-10-1976 insisting upon wearing helmets while driving two wheeler vehicles. Thereafter Section 85-Awas inserted by amendment Act 27 of 1977 providing the wear of protective headgears in accordance with rules prescribed by Central Government. It is stated that the rules made by Central Government are contrary to Section 85-A. of the Act and Rule 3 made by the Central Government as well as Rule 498-A made by the State Government are ultra vires and unconstitutional.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioners Sri K. R. K. Varaprasad, Sri Afzul Purkar, Sri Gangaiah Naidu and Sri Narain Bhaskara Rao at the outset contended that Section 85 A of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules made thereunder insisting upon the wear of helmets by drivers of two-wheeler, vehicles are unconstitutional and the Central Rules are ultra vires and Rule 498-A of the A. P. Motor Vehicle Rules is invalid as this rule purporting to be made under Section 85-A of the Act was framed even before Section 85-A was introduced and further Section 85-A empowered the Central Government only to frame rules. The learned Advocate General contended that Rule 498-A of the A. P. Motor Vehicles Rules is made pursuant to the power conferred on the State Government to make rules under Section 91 of the Act and sought to sustain the rule under Section 91 of the Act only. In view of this the contentions centering round the constitutional validity of Section 85-A of the Act and the rules made thereunder need not be considered. Regarding Rule 498-A it is contended that the rule is ultra vires and beyond the rule making power under Section 91 of the Act and Rule 498A abridges right of privacy and movement and this is violative of Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution and also arbitrary and, discriminatory resulting in breach of Art. 14 of the Constitution.
4. To appreciate the. contentions it is necessary to get at Section 91 of the Motor Vehicles Act to the Extent relevant is as follows:
(i) "The State, Government may make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Chapter.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power such rules may provide for (a) to (h);
(i)generally, the prevention of danger, injury, or annoyance to public or any person, or of danger or injury to property or of obstruction to traffic, and
(j) any other matter which is to be or may be prescribed."
Rule 498-A is as follows:
"498-A. Crash helmets to be worn:
No person shall drive a motor cycle or a scooter in a public place unless such driver wears a crash helmet.
Provided that nothing in this rule shall apply to a person professing sikh religion and wearing a turban."
The initial contention is that Rule 498-A is ultra vires Section 91 as the rule is beyond the power conferred under Section 91. At the outset the rule is sought to be sustained under the omnibus power of effectuating the provisions of Chapter VI. The caption of Chapter VI is "control of traffic" and diverse provisions have been made to regulate and ensure lubrication of traffic. Section 71 is concerned with regulation of speed and restrictions on speed limit. Section 74 empowers the State Government to prescribe or restrict the driving of motor vehicles or any other vehicle in an area or otherwise. Section 79 pertains to signals and signalling devices. Sections 80, 81, 82 and 85 are beset with regulations for running the vehicles. Sections 86, 87 and 88 obligate the drivers of the vehicles to produce licence and certificate of registration as and when called upon and comply with directions regarding movement of vehicles. These provisions including other subsidiary provisions are aimed at systematised flow of traffic and avoidance of traffic jam and ensuring safety to the vehicles and persons therein and pedestrians. The State Government is empowered under Section 91 of the Act to provide rules for 'the purpose catalogued therein. The donation of authority under Section 91 comprises two aspects namely framing rules to effectuate the provisions in Chapter VI and particularisation of topics about which the rules can be framed. The initial omnibus power under sub-section (1) is in tune with the pattern of rule making power in statutory parlance authorising the State Government to frame rules for- specific situations not visualised or covered by the Act provided they are within the vortex of the provisions of the Act. The caption to Chapter IV in conjunction with diverse provisions containing injunctions against drivers and owners of vehicles laced by safety measures are aimed at avoiding traffic bottleneck and accidents. Rule 498-A is intended to avoid or mitigate the rigour of accident and ensuring safety travel and smooth flow of traffic as the head is the direct target in the event of accident and is thus a continuation of the thread of precautions postulated in Chapter IV. Therefore Rule 498-A is in consonance with the provisions in Chapter IV. Even otherwise the rule is within the contours of clause (i) of sub-section (2). Clause (i) is interested in prevention of danger or injury to public or any person and obstruction to traffic. The inevitable consequence of accident is likelihood of danger or injury to the driver of vehicle and other person or vehicle involved in the accident and traffic is impeded temporarily thereby. With a view to forestall the dangers and injuries in the accident the insistence upon wearing helmet is conceived. Therefore, Rule 498-A did not go astray from Section 91 of the Act and is not ultra vires.
5. The learned counsel for the petitioners contended that Rule 498-A infringes fundamental right of privacy and freedom o movement. The helmet wearing is a temporary event during the ride on two-wheeler vehicle as a protection against impact on the head and the bare head is directed to be covered by helmet and as such the question of intruding into privacy does not arise. Therefore the contention is devoid of substance.
6. It is contended that the wearing of helmets preventing the free flow of breeze to the head results in giddiness, sunstrokes, boils on the head due to suffocation and affects sight and hearing. The petitioners filed an affidavit by Dr. Prabhakar Korada, Medical practitioner since twelve years and a doctor on the panel of Indian Airlines, Nuclear Fuel Complex, Life Insurance Corporation of India wherein it is stated that the design of helmets now available in the markets is not suitable for Indian climatic conditions and continuous wearing of helmets, due to pressure exerted on the veins of the scalp can raise the pressure leading to irritation, confusion, headache and giddiness, seborrhoeid dermatitis and failing hair is also likely due to wearing of helmets and the field of vision is reduced. The spectacle wearers suffer from traumas due to pressure exorted on the frame of the spectacles by the helmet resulting in bruises and cuts above the car and on the bridge of the nose. Further, bearing is impaired and the direction from which the sound comes cannot be identified easily while wearing helmets and this can only increase the number of accidents. Free movement of the head is restricted. Further, helmets prevent the head from being cooled by breeze resulting in increase in sunstroke in summer. On the other hand there is overwhelmed medical-opinion in stating that wearing of helmets ensures safety to the head in the event of collision or accident and does not result in serious ailments. To the Commissioner of Police whether wearing of helmets causes disease like headache, allergy, giddiness, deafness etc., Dr. K. Satyanarayana, Neurosurgeon Gandhi Hospital, stated as follows:
"(a) It is common knowledge in the medical field, that wearing of the helmet by the two wheeler riders, protects them from major head injuries, in the event of a road accident. As head injury, is the major cause of death in accident victims, wearing of the she helmet reduces to a significant degree both the mortality and morbidity of the head injury patients. Hence wearing of the helmets by a two wheeler rider has been made compulsory in major cities of the world.
(b) Wearing of the helmet does not cause or aggravate any of the following diseases- headache, including migraine, allergy, giddiness epistaxis, deafness, backache, cervital spndylitis, hypertension and heart disease, only in few cases of cervical spondylitis with giddiness, wearing the helmet may aggravate the symptoms but such people should not drive the two wheelers in the first place.
(c) People suffering from such diseases as advanced cases of heart ailment, hypertension and spondylitis and giddiness should not drive two wheelers for their own and other's safety.
(d) Wearing of helmets by those who had earlier undergone operation on the head is certainly a protective device, provided they are fit to drive the vehicle."
All in all, as a neurosurgeon looking after the road Accidents victims with head injuries in Gandhi Hospital number 1500 cases every year on an average. I am strongly of the opinion that the legislation making wearing of helmets by two wheeler drivers is a step in right direction and needs to be strictly enforced, for the safety of the two wheeler riders."
7. In reply to a querry from the Commissioner of Police Mr. V. Ramachary, Superintendent, ENT Hospital stated that it is absolutely essential to wear a helmet by two-wheeler riders as the injuries caused to the head are fatal as compared to the injuries sustained on the body. Further, the wearing of helmets does not cause any disease, The drivers who are already deaf, may not be able to hear by wearing a helmet and such people should not be permitted to drive the vehicles in their own interests and should not be issued driving licence. Dr. S. Mohan Das Associate Professor of Neurology, the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad stated that the use of helmets is necessary for two wheeler drivers as it reduces the head injury provided they are worn properly and the straps secured firmly. The wearing of helmets does not cause any disease except for allergy which can be very rarely seen and can be prevented by modifying the material used in the helmet. Dr. T. S. Anandvalli, Neuro Physician, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad stated that it is advisable to wear helmet as a safety device to the two wheelers and it is also advised to the pillion rider also as it prevents brain-stern injury and instant death.
8. Paul R. Coopers in his Epidemiology of 'Head injury stated that motor cycle accidents represent a. specialized form of motor vehicle accident. The vulnerability of motor cycle drivers and passengers is more than the other vehicles and the motor cyclists run five times the risk of a fatal accident, per mile travelled. In a motor cycle accident head is the part of the body that is most likely to b-- injured. It is stated that two-thirds of all injured motor cyclists sustained minor or major head injuries and two-thirds of motor cycle riders killed in Illinois suffered a skull fracture. These accidents resulted in passage of laws mandating helmet usage in America. It is stated that in Kanasas 93% of non-helmeted motor cyclists sustained fatal injuries resulting from head injury And when helmets were worn only one-third of fatalities were caused, by head injuries. The Department of d the relationship Transportation summarised the relationship of head injury and helmet wearing as follows:
(1)Motor cyclists unprotected by, helmets have twice as many head injuries and 3 to 4 times the number of fatal injuries as helmet wearers
(3) In States where, laws require helmet usage. 90- 100% of motor cyclists comply.
(5)Helmets do not reduce hearing or visibility in a way that would lead to accidents."
Mr. Hugh Carins in his classical paper advocated the use of Crash-helmets by motor cyclists to prevent and mitigate head injuries. It is stated, by absorbing the force of the impact, the helmet mitigates the severity of head injury and thus saves many young lives and reduces morbidity. Compulsory wearing of crash-helmets is a sign of awareness of society to the dangers of head injury. The Institute of Neurological Societies at Kuala Lumpur stated that the recent law making it compulsory for motor-cylists to wear crash- helmets in Malaysia led to a marked reduction in the admission of head injuries. A scooter is more. accident-prone because of its poor braking ability, the inability to look around specially when one is taking a right turn easy manoeuverability giving rise to temptation to lane-jumping, greater preoccupation of hands in controlling the vehicles, thus making proper signalling more difficult, and the exposure of the rider to all types of wind and weather conditions. It is stated that in 1973, riders of two-wheelers accounted for 13 per cent of the deaths on the New Delhi roads. It is only stated that besides mortality the incident of serious injuries is much higher in scooter accidents compared to car accidents, injuries being more often multiple and complicated head injuries.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic Hyderabad stated that in Hyderbad city in the year 84, 85 and 86, 94, 118 and 132 were deaths involved two wheeler motor cycles. These deaths are 25, 47, and 48 due to head injuries caused. From these figures the percentage of deaths of two wheeler motor cycle due to head injuries in 84, 85 and 86 are ,36%, 47.4% and 45.4%. The percentage of fatal motor cycle accidents out of the total number of fatal accidents in 84 is 74.4% for 85 83.8% 86 it is 75%.
10. In recent times the use of the two wheeler vehicles is on tremendous increase as the price structure and maintenance and running expenditure are within the reach of middle level strata of the, society. The explosion in population and increased urban orientation and, proliferation of vehicles particularly two wheeler vehicles contributed to spate of traffic problems and accidents. The driver of a two wheeler vehicle is open to sky and all sides without any proper or protection to the body or head. In motor cars the body of the car to some extent affords, protection and resistance against onslaught and the direct impact, is thereby, diffused. Consequent upon collision with another, vehicle or pedestrian the driver of the two wheeler Vehicles will be thrown to the winds and vulnerable to incalculable danger depending upon the intensity of impact and the head of the driver is to be the main target. It cannot be gainsaid that injury to the head is more dangerous than injury to other parts and such injury is likely to result in instantaneous death or serious complications and the helmet can absorb the impact an( thereby the injuries can be avoided and in any event the greivous nature can be mitigated. The helmet prevents direct impact on the head and can be considered as sh6c'k absorber if not a cushion. The accident is the result of sudden and unforeseen impact or collision and the accident does not know of prior notice or adherence to natural justice. The helmet is designed as an escape from unpredictable accidents and softens the severity of the injuries, Medical opinion sought to be relied upon by the petitioners states that the helmets as designed now contribute to some health problems and ailments including impairing the sight and hearing. On the other hand, there is overwhelming medical opinion that the helmets afford ample protection and the necessity for helmets is felt and recognised in other countries also. In addition to the minor ailments of headache, suffocation in the head and impairing eye sight and hearing it is also stated, that the drivers are put to several inconveniences namely securing proper, place for safety of helmets while going to temple, and social meets and parties. It is also stated that they are subjected to Police excess even though the defects in wearing helmets are minor namely loose straps etc. The infirmities stated by the petitioners are not substantial and they are too mild and it is essentially a matter to set right the helmet by using a different material or pattern. Even otherwise the ailments, handicaps and drawback highlighted by the petitioners cannot be considered as major hurdles in the implementation of the rule and they cannot be stretched to affect the potential benefits of avoiding the injuries to head including fatality and they are in the realm of reasonable restrictions.
11. The learned counsel Sri Gangaiah Naidu contended that this provision is actuated by mala fides and there is absolutely no indication as to any mala fide nature. Therefore, this contention is totally devoid of basis.
12. It is further contended that the rule is not implemented in certain areas and insistence upon implementation in the twin cites of Hyderabad and Secunderabad alone is discriminatory. The insistence upon wearing helmets is due to heavy traffic and traffic hazards in the twin cities and as such the question of discrimination does not arise.
13. In the result, writ petitions and writ appeals dismissed. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs.150/- in each.
14. Petition and Appeals dismissed.