DATA

  • In the last ten years, India lost 13 lakh people in road accidents.
  • In India, every year more than a lakh is dying in the roads.
  • In 2017 alone, 147,000 people died in the roads: which means ~400 people die every day; 16 people die every day.

PROBLEM

Try answering the following questions:

  • Why people do not step out to help the accident victims?
  • What police can do if you try to save an accident victim?
  • What is the role of hospitals?
  • Who should bear the medical cost of the victims?

Medical research finds that 50% of the fatalities can be averted if victims are admitted to a hospital within the first one hour. This is called the Golden Hour (“the first hour after a traumatic injury, when emergency treatment is most likely to be successful”).

GOOD SAMARITAN LAW

Who is a Good Samaritan?

Bystanders can play a vital role in saving lives; can call for help, provide first-aid and even rush to the nearest hospital, if an ambulance is not available.

How a Good Samaritan is Protected?

  • You are not liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury or death of the victim.
  • No need to reveal personal details when you call police or emergency service.
  • If any public official forces you to reveal your personal details, disciplinary action can be taken.

HOSPITALS

  • Hospitals cannot force a Good Samaritan to reveal personal details. Filling up of personal information and the Medico Legal Case (MLC) form is only optional and voluntary. No one can force you to fill this.
  • There is no need for you to pay the initial cost of treatment. No public or private hospital can demand payment for registration or admission costs.
  • Hospitals cannot refuse to admit a victim for treatment. If a doctor does not respond, it is considered as “Professional Misconduct” which is liable for disciplinary action under Indian Medical Council Regulations, 2002)

JUDICIARY

  • You can choose to be an eyewitness and you cannot be compelled.
  • If you choose to be an eyewitness, then you should be examined in a single occasion.
  • Examination of an eye witness to be either through:
     – Section 284 CrPC: Allows examination of a witness through a commission
     – Section 296 CrPC: Allows evidence to be given through an affidavit
  • You may choose video conference while being examined

NOTE:

  • Save Life Foundation, a non-profit NGO was instrumental in securing this law for us. Thanks, SLF!
  • Following a writ petition filed by SLF in 2012, the Hon’ble Supreme Court gave ‘force of law’ to the guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Central Government for protection of Good Samaritans from harassment by authorities. To download the Supreme Court Judgment, click here
  • Issuance of guidelines for the protection of Good Samaritans. On May 12, 2015, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued notification in the official Gazette of India laying down guidelines for the protection of Good Samaritans from legal and procedural hassles. To download the Gazette Notification, click here 
  • Issuance of Standard Operating Procedures for the examination of Good Samaritans. Pursuant to the guidelines issued on May 12, 2015, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a notification in the official Gazette of India laying down Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the examination of Good Samaritans by the Police and during trial. To download the Gazette Notification, click here