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Saviors of the accident victim should not be tortured: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India in its recent judgement held that the majority of road accident deaths occur because the people passing by the site of accident don’t help the victim reach the hospital on time because of the fear of harassment in the hands of police and court. Such people, who help the victim should be applauded rather than being harassed. They are the Good Samaritan and the court has ordered certain guidelines to the police and hospital staff in this regard.

  • 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.
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