A Good Samaritan Law

There is a need to build confidence to help road accident victims. Good Samaritans fear of legal consequences, involvement in litigation and repeated visits to Police Station. There is a need to provide certain incentives to Good Samaritans. There is also a dire need to enact a Good Samaritan Law. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued Notifications containing Guidelines, on 12.05.2015 and 21.01.2016.

As per Guidelines contained in Paragraph 13 of Notification, dated 12.05.2015, ‘acknowledgement’ if so desired by Good Samaritans, has to be issued as may be prescribed in a standard format by State Governments. There should be no vacuum, till such format is prescribed. Hence we direct, ‘acknowledgement’ be issued on official letter-pad etc. and in interregnum period, if so desired, mentioning name, address, time, date, place of occurrence and confirming ‘injured’ was brought by said Samaritan.

We also modify Paragraph 2(vii) of Notification, dated 21.01.2016, with respect to examination of Good Samaritans by Police: “affidavit of a Good Samaritan, if filed, shall be treated as a ‘complete statement’ by Police Officials while conducting investigation. In case statement is to be recorded, ‘complete statement’ shall be recorded in a ‘single examination’.”

Remaining Guidelines in Notifications, dated 12.05.2015 and 21.01.2016, are approved and it is ordered, Guidelines with aforesaid modifications made by us be complied with by Union Territories and all functionaries of State Governments as law laid down by this Court under Article 32 read with Article 142 and same be treated as binding as per mandate of Article 141. We also direct, Court should not normally insist on appearance of a Good Samaritan as that causes delay, expenses and inconvenience. Court should exercise power to appoint a Commission for examination of Good Samaritans, unless, for reasons to be recorded, personal presence is considered necessary.

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