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Apex Court Approves Centre's Guidelines to Protect Good Samaritans
Apr 04, 2016

The Supreme Court approved the Centre's guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, 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 Central government 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, the Apex Court had said it will pass an order on the recommendations of a committee headed by its former judge on road safety which advocated that people saving lives of road accident victims need not fear harassment by police or other authorities.

The bench took on record the guidelines placed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which were based on the recommendations of the 3-member committee headed by former judge K.S. Radhakrishnan. The committee, also comprising Former Secretary of Road Transport Ministry S. Sundar and Nishi Mittal, ex-chief scientist, 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.

The apex court-appointed committee had also suggested strengthening of enforcement relating to drunken driving, over-speeding, red light jumping and helmet or seat belt laws.The court had in 2014 appointed the 3-member committee to monitor steps taken by the Centre and state governments to ensure road safety.

Key Recommendations

  • Under the new guidelines, bystanders and those who have helped a victim need not give their details, except eyewitnesses.

  • They would also be allowed to leave right after taking the victim to the hospital, if they don't wish to become a witness.

  • Registered public and private hospitals can't charge a Good Samaritan for admission charges.

  • The police cannot compel a Good Samaritan to become a witness.

  • They will be given a choice about recording their statement at a court through video conferencing.

  • A Good Samaritan, if wishes to be a witness, will be examined by the police at a place of the citizen's convenience. If that is not possible, the reason for that would have to be recorded by the police. And then police would have to examine the person in one sitting.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highway issued a notification August 2015 to Regional Transport Offices (RTO) to spread awareness about the Centre's guidelines.


The court's approval to the notification comes as a much-needed move as India tops the list of road accident-related deaths across the world. Tamil Nadu, followed by Uttar Pradesh, reported the most road accident deaths by only buses in 2014.

In the absence of any statutory backing, it was proving difficult for the government to enforce these guidelines and therefore the government had approached the apex court to consider issuing these guidelines, through an order binding on all states and Union Territories, until the Union government enacts a law to this effect.


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