Road accidents: Good Samaritans can’t be forced to reveal identity, be witness, says Govt

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Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | October 1, 2020 1:04:17 am

Those helping save the lives of road accident victims on the spot will no longer be entangled in complicated legal processes either at the hospital or later through law enforcement agencies. They will be allowed, by law, to leave the scene without even disclosing their identity immediately after rendering the help to the accident victim.

The Centre on Wednesday notified the rules on the rights of Good Samaritans and how they should be treated in the eyes of the law.

As per the new rules, the Good Samaritan will have the right to be treated respectfully without discrimination on grounds of religion, nationality, caste or sex. They will not be forced to disclose their name, address and identity if they do not want to. Hospitals will have to put up boards to display these rights.

If a Good Samaritan has agreed to help the police in an accident case, his statement should be taken at his home or office at a time convenient to him, if he so desires. The visiting police officer should be in plain clothes. The police will not be able to force him to become an eyewitness in a case, if he does not want to be. He can leave immediately, no questions asked.

The hospital or police official present in hospital for medico-legal cases can no more compel the Good Samaritan to fill up forms of admission, nor can he be asked to go through other formalities of admission.

The Supreme Court in 2016 approved the Centre’s guidelines on a Good Samaritan law.

The World Health Organisation has also said in multiple reports that bystanders empowered with such protection can save accident victims proactively.

The NGO SaveLIFE Foundation had filed a PIL for a Good Samaritan Law. India witnesses around 1.5 lakh deaths, the highest in the world, due to road accidents.

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