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SC asks States to protect Samaritans on road

By Newmai News

SHILLONG, July 6 - In compliance with Supreme Court�s order, the Union Government has recently issued guidelines to be followed by hospitals, police and all other authorities to protect �Good Samaritans� from harassment on the actions taken by them to save life of the victims of road accidents.

As per the guidelines issued by the Union Government which were approved by the Supreme Court, a bystander or good Samaritan including an eyewitness of a road accident may take an injured person to the nearest hospital, and the bystander or good Samaritan should be allowed to leave immediately except after furnishing address by the eyewitness only and no question shall be asked to such bystander or good Samaritan.

The bystander or �Good Samaritan� shall be suitably rewarded or compensated in the manner as may be specified by the State Governments. The bystander or Good Samaritan shall not be liable for any civil or criminal liability.

A bystander or Good Samaritan shall not be compelled to reveal his name and personal details on the phone or in person. The disclosure of personal information, such as name and contact details of the Good Samaritan shall be made voluntary and optional. In case, a bystander or good Samaritan, who has voluntarily stated that he is also an eyewitness to the accident and is required to be examined for the purposes of investigation by the police or during trial, such bystander or good Samaritan shall be examined on a single occasion and the State Government shall develop standard operating procedures to ensure that the bystander or good Samaritan is not harassed or intimidated.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shall issue guidelines stating that all registered public and private hospitals are not to detain bystander or Good Samaritan or demand payment for registration and admission costs, unless the Good Samaritan is a family member or relative of the injured and the injured is to be treated immediately. All hospitals shall publish a charter in Hindi, English and the vernacular language of the State or Union Territory at their entrance to the effect that they shall not detain bystander or Good Samaritan or ask deposit money from them for the treatment of a victim. All public and private hospitals shall implement these guidelines immediately and in case of non-compliance or violation of these guidelines appropriate action shall be taken by the concerned authorities.

Any Police official or any other person shall not force any Good Samaritan who helps an injured person to become a witness in the matter. The concerned Police official(s) shall allow the Good Samaritan to leave after having informed the Police about an injured person on the road, and no further questions shall be asked if the Good Samaritan does not desire to be a witness in the matter.

The SP or any other police official shall be responsible to ensure that all the above mentioned procedures are implemented with immediate effect.

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