NEW DELHI: Good news for Samaritans. The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Centre’s guidelines to protect people who help road accident victims from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.
A Bench comprising Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra asked the Centre to give wide publicity to these guidelines so that people who help others in the time of distress are not victimised by any authority.
Earlier this month, the apex court said it would pass an order on the recommendations of a committee headed by its former judge on road safety which advocated that people saving the lives of road accident victims should not fear harassment by police or other authorities concerned.
The Bench also took on record the guidelines placed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which were based on the recommendations of the three-member committee headed by former judge K S Radhakrishnan.
The committee, also comprising former Road Transport Secretary S Sundar and former chief scientist Nishi Mittal had given 12 major recommendations, including the setting up of State Road Safety Councils, evolving a protocol for the identification of black spots, their removal and monitoring to see the effectiveness of the action taken. The court-appointed committee had also suggested strengthening of laws related to drunk driving, speeding, red light jumping and helmets or seat belts. According to the new framework, police will not force them to reveal their personal detail. Those calling up either the police or ambulance for aid will not be asked to give details about themselves. Hospitals have also been instructed to immediately start treatment instead of waiting to complete legal formalities. The Good Samaritans won’t have to stay back for police to complete their procedure as per the new guidelines.
Hospitals failing to treat accident victims will also be charged with professional misconduct.
The ministry had said that in the absence of any statutory backing, it was proving difficult to enforce these guidelines and therefore the government approached the apex court to consider issuing these guidelines through an order to all States and UTs, until the government enacts a law to this effect.
court comes to saviours’ rescue
Samaritans will be allowed to leave hospitals without furnishing their address
Hospitals can’t demand registration or admission costs from them
They won’t be quizzed by cops but be given a choice to record statements in courts via video link
Disciplinary/departmental action shall be initiated against cops who coerce or intimidate them
If the witness volunteers to depose in court, the trial judge shall complete his or her examination in one sitting