Friday, 1 April 2016

Supreme Court approves Centre's guidelines to protect Good Samaritans

Supreme Court approves Centre's guidelines to protect Good Samaritans
  • The Supreme Court has approved the Centre's guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.
  • They (good Samaritans) will also be exempted from any criminal and civil liability.
  • A bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra has asked the Central government to give wide publicity to these guidelines. 
  • The bench also took on record the guidelines placed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, based on the recommendations of the three-member committee headed by former judge K S Radhakrishnan.  The 2014 committee had given 12 major recommendations including setting up of State Road Safety Councils, evolving a protocol for identification of black spots, their removal and monitoring to see the effectiveness of the action taken and strengthening of enforcement relating to drunken driving, over-speeding, red light jumping and helmet or seat belt laws.
  • With the court’s approval, the government guidelines are law of the land today and binding to all states.
  • A bystander, including an eyewitness to a road mishap, shall be allowed to leave immediately after taking the injured to the nearest hospital without furnishing his address. Police cannot compel people to reveal their identity even if they are the informers or complainants in the case. The person can give his or her name voluntarily.
  • All registered public and private hospitals will not detain a Good Samaritan or demand payment for registration and admission costs.
  • No police official shall ask him any questions and he would be later given a choice to record his statement before the court through video conferencing. Departmental or disciplinary action shall be initiated against the officer who coerces or intimidates the informer.
  • If the witness volunteers to go before the court to depose in the case, the trial judge shall complete his examination in one sitting.
  • More than 4 lakh road accidents occurred in 2014. The number of deaths also increased from 1.37 lakh in 2013 to 1.39 lakh in 2014.
  • As per National Crime Records Bureau report, in the last decade, over 12 lakh people have lost their lives and 55 lakh seriously injured or permanently disabled.

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