GOOD SAMARITAN GUIDELINES:
The guidelines are an interim measure to deal with the issue till the Centre enacts appropriate legislation –but are also a crucial step in that direction.
“In order to ensure the effective implementation of the guidelines and SOPs, it is imperative that a comprehensive Good Samaritan law is enacted at the Central and state level,” the foundation said.
Such a legislation, it added, would give legal backing to the guidelines, address the concerns of the Good Samaritans and protect them from all forms of harassment.
The guidelines lay down the following:
- The Good Samaritan will be treated respectfully and without any discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion, nationality and caste.
- Any individual, except an eyewitness, who calls the police to inform them of an accidental injury or death need not reveal his or her personal details such as full name, address or phone number.
- The police will not compel the Good Samaritan to disclose his or her name, identity, address and other such details in the police record form or log register.
- The police will not force any Good Samaritan in procuring information or anything else.
- The police will allow the Good Samaritan to leave after having provided the information available to him or her, and no further questions will be asked of him or her if he or she does not desire to be a witness.
Even when Good Samaritans agree to become witnesses, the guidelines accord them protection and comfort. They ensure that:
- If a Good Samaritan chooses to be a witness, she will be examined with utmost care and respect.
- The examination will be conducted at a time and place of the Good Samaritan’s convenience and the investigation officer will be dressed in plain clothes.
- If the Good Samaritan is required by the investigation officer to visit the police station, the reasons for the requirement shall be recorded by the officer in writing.
- In a police station, the Good Samaritan will be examined in a single examination in a reasonable and time-bound manner, without causing any undue delay.
- If a Good Samaritan declares himself to be an eyewitness, she will be allowed to give her evidence in the form of an affidavit.
The guidelines also specify that the concerned Superintendent or Deputy Commissioner of Police are responsible in ensuring that all the above-mentioned procedures are implemented throughout their respective jurisdictions.
RECENTLY IN NEWS:
Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good Samaritans.
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a bill, India’s first, which will give legal protection to the good samaritans in Karnataka who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within the ‘golden hour’, officials said Sunday.
With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good samaritans through a legislation amidst the rising incidents of accidental deaths in India, which saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.
The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the ‘golden hour’ and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.
In medical term the ‘golden hour’ is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in a timely manner, they will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, in case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such “running around to courts and police stations” will be taken care through the proposed ‘Good Samaritan Fund’.
After admitting the accident victim to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately, all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims, according to the new legislation.
“With the new law, there will be clear message that good samaritans will not be harassed in any manner,” the official said.
There were 4,80,652 road accidents in the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed. In 2015, there were 5,01,423 road accidents in the country in which 1,46,133 people were killed.
Karnataka is one of the top five states which saw a large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015.
There is no central law to protect the good samaritans.
However, the Union Surface Transport Ministry had issued a set of guidelines in 2015 following a Supreme Court order to protect the good samaritans.