CHENNAI: Making it clear that he would stand by his judgement on making wearing of helmets mandatory in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court judge Justice N Kirubakaran said he would not compromise on the order till the day he retires.
When the matter came up before him today, Additional Advocate General P H Aravind Pandian filed a report giving full details of the action taken against violators, as sought by the court. The AAG submitted that 14,503 cases were booked in Chennai alone and 1.30 lakh throughout Tamil Nadu from July 1 when the state government order came into force, till July 12.
When the Madras High Court Advocates Association president R C Paulkanakaraj made a mention of the order passed by the judge on wearing of helmets, Justice Kirubakaran said he was following each and every activity of advocates who protested in Madurai and prevented the public from wearing helmets.
He said he had watched a TV debate where some lawyers said there was no statutory requirement to wear helmets and asked the MHAA President if he knew what the rules are and why advocates who are supposed to uphold the law are protesting when public were adhering to the helmet rule.
"When you buy elephant, you have to buy Ankusam" (rod controlled by mahout to control it), the judge said. He made this remark while replying to arguments of Kanagaraj that government had neither elicited public opinion before passing the order nor granted time to people to raise objections, resulting in them being forced to buy inferior quality helmets at a "heavy" cost. When the MHAA President said those not wearing helmets could not be treated as violators, the judge referred to the stir by lawyers in Madurai and other areas and said he would not compromise on it till the day he retires.
To the argument that there was no provision to compound the registration papers of violators, Justice Kirubakaran asked the MHAA President to read the full judgement. On June 8, the Madras High Court had observed that it was disheartening to note that a number of precious lives were lost due to non-wearing of protective headgear and made wearing of helmets compulsory.
Tamil Nadu government had on June 17 announced that wearing of helmet would be compulsory from July 1, with violators facing the risk of their vehicle documents being impounded.