Samaritans to be rewarded for helping road accident victims

New Delhi: In a welcome move, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has notified guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, who come forward to help road accident victims, from legal and procedural hassles.

The guidelines were issued in the light of a Supreme Court order, on a petition by Delhi-based NGO Save Life Foundation, to protect bystanders or good samaritans from harassment by the police.   

Piyush Tiwari, the petitioner and founder of SaveLife Foundation, welcomed the move although it is an “interim measure”.

“These guidelines will help create a supportive environment for bystanders to come forward and help injured persons without fear of intimidation or harassment by police and hospitals. The onus is now on state governments to ensure implementation of these guidelines,” Tiwari said in a statement.

At present, bystanders often do not call the police or rush victims to a hospital fearing frequent questioning and court proceedings.

They would be rewarded suitably for their service to encourage more citizens to help accident victims as, according to SaveLife Foundation, 75% of people do not help as they fear police harassment.

Similarly, those who call the police to inform them about accidents would not be compelled to reveal their name or personal details either on phone or in person, said the guidelines issued under the name of Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, joint secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways, vide an extraordinary gazette.

The gazette notification would be implemented across the nation if approved by the Centre.

According to the notification, a good samaritan, including an eyewitness, who takes an injured person to the nearest hospital, should be allowed to leave immediately and no questions should be asked.  The Good Samaritan need not wait for the police and will not be made part of the medico-legal case.

If a good samaritan volunteers to be an eyewitness or agrees to be part of a medico-legal case, then the hospital or the police can accept the offer.


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