A Good Samaritan Law

There is need to build confidence amongst the public to help road accident victims. Good Samaritans have the fear of legal consequences, involvement in litigation and repeated visits to Police Station. There is need to provide certain incentives to Good Samaritans. There is also dire need to enact a Good Samaritan Law in the country… The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notifications containing guidelines on 12.5.2015 and 21.1.2016… We have carefully gone through the notification dated 12.5.2015. However, as per the guidelines contained in Paragraph 13, the ‘acknowledgement’ if so desired by Good Samaritans, has to be issued as may be prescribed in a standard format by the State Government. In our opinion, till such time the format is prescribed, there should be no vacuum hence we direct that acknowledgement be issued on official letter-pad etc. and in the interregnum period, if so desired by the Good Samaritan, mentioning the name of the Samaritan, address, time, date, place of occurrence and confirming that the injured person was brought by the said Samaritan. We have also gone through the notification dated 21.1.2016 with respect to the examination of Good Samaritans by the Police as contained in Paragraph 2(vii) which we modify in the following manner: “The affidavit of a Good Samaritan if filed, shall be treated as complete statement by the Police official while conducting the investigation. In case statement is to be recorded, complete statement shall be recorded in a single examination”… Remaining guidelines in the notifications dated 12.5.2015 and 21.1.2016 are approved and it is ordered that guidelines with the aforesaid modifications made by us be complied with by the Union Territories and all the functionaries of the State Governments as law laid down by this Court under Article 32 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India and the same be treated as binding as per the mandate of Article 141. We also direct that the Court should not normally insist on appearance of Good Samaritans as that causes delay, expenses and inconvenience. The concerned Court should exercise the power to appoint a Commission for the examination of Good Samaritans… unless for the reasons to be recorded the personal presence of the Good Samaritan in Court is considered necessary.”

Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra, Savelife Foundation v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 235 of 2012].