The central government has proposed rewarding good Samaritans or bystanders who help rush road accident victims to hospitals for treatment, according to an official notification issued here on Friday.
The detailed guidelines pertaining to the role and contribution of such good Samaritans or bystanders in helping accident victims, and affording them adequate protection under the law were issued following a October 29, 2014, Supreme Court order in response to a PIL filed by NGO SaveLife Foundation.
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.
The guidelines now make it clear that the good Samaritan or bystander who rushed the accident victims to hospital will be allowed to leave immediately after providing their addresses.
They would be rewarded suitably for their service to encourage more citizens to help accident victims as, according to SaveLife Foundation, 75 percent 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.
“The disclosure of personal information… shall be made voluntary and optional including in the medico-legal case form provided by the hospital. Disciplinary or departmental action shall be initiated by the government against officials who coerce or intimidate a bystander or good Samaritan for revealing his name or personal details,” the guidelines say.
In case a bystander voluntarily says he/she is witness to the accident, one would be called for examination to the court only once by police to ensure he/she is not harassed or intimidated.
For the purpose, standard operating procedures, including video-conferencing of the good Samaritan and other guidelines must be prepared within a month from June 5, 2015.
All government and private hospitals have also been directed not to detain the bystander or demand any payment or admission costs, unless the victim is related to the good samaritan, and doctors who do not respond shall be liable for professional misconduct and disciplinary action.