Good Samaritan Law

Who is a Good Samaritan?

A Good Samaritan is a person or bystander who in a good faith, voluntarily and without expectation of any reward or compensation renders emergency medical or non-medical care, assist at the scene of the accident, transport such victim to the nearest hospital or helps the victim by informing police or medical emergency in event of a road crash. To encourage Good Samaritans and to create awareness among public regarding the legislative provisions related to protection of Good Samaritans, he may be suitability rewarded by the state administration to encourage other citizens.

Rights and Protection of Good Samaritan

To offer protection to the Good Samaritan, provisions have been laid in the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 under section 134A. In addition, they have been covered under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 which provide detailed guidelines for protection and examination of a Good Samaritan by the police. These rules are prescribed under section 168 – Rights of Good Samaritan and 169 – Examination of Good Samaritan which are described in Chapter IX of CMVR, 1989 titled Examination of Good Samaritan and Enquiry. These rules prescribed for protection and examination of a Good Samaritan says that he:

  • Shall not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury or death of the victim of an accident involving a motor vehicle where such injury or death resulted from the Good Samaritan’s negligence in acting or failing to act while rendering emergency medical or non-medical care or assistance.
  • Shall be permitted to leave immediately, that may be from the accident scene or the hospital.
  • Shall not be compelled by a police officer or any other person to disclose his name, identity, address or other details.
  • Shall be treated respectfully without any discrimination on the grounds of religion, nationality, caste or gender.

Directions for Police

  • If the Good Samaritan has voluntarily disclosed his personal details, the police shall not compel such person to become an eyewitness.
  • If a person has voluntarily agreed to become a witness in the case, he shall be examined in accordance with the provisions of CMVR, 1989.
  • The examination of a Good Samaritan shall be conducted at a time and place of his convenience.
  • The investigating officer examining the Good Samaritan shall accordingly be dressed in plain clothes.
  • Good Samaritan may choose to have his examination done at the police station.
  • The examination shall be conducted in a time bound manner and in case a statement is to be recorded, the complete statement shall be recorded in a single examination.
  • In case the Good Samaritan has volunteered to become an eyewitness, he shall be permitted to give his evidence in accordance with the provisions of section 296 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
  • The investigating officer shall arrange for an interpreter if Good Samaritan speaks a different language.
  • In case the attendance of a Good Samaritan cannot be procured, the Court or the Magistrate may issue a commission for the examination of the Good Samaritan in accordance to section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • Video conferencing shall be used extensively during examination of Good Samaritans who choose to be eyewitnesses, in order to prevent harassment and inconvenience to such Good Samaritans.

Directions for Hospitals

  • The hospital shall not force a Good Samaritan to disclose any personal information for the purpose of the Medico-Legal Case.
  • He will not be asked to fulfil any procedure related to the admission of a victim at the hospital.
  • Good Samaritan shall not be asked to bear any medical expenses towards the treatment.
  • Every hospital shall publish Good Samaritan Charter in Hindi, English and vernacular language, at the entrance or a visible location.
  • In case if Good Samaritan requires or demands, the hospital shall provide an acknowledgment in a standard format.

Chronology of Development of Good Samaritan Law

Rewards for Good Samaritan

To protect the rights of the Good Samaritans and encourage people to help and save life of injured in road crashes, the Government of Rajasthan has introduced a scheme titled Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Jeevan Raksha Yojana. Under this scheme a cash reward of Rs. 5,000/- and a Certificate of Appreciation is provided to the Good Samaritan who takes the seriously injured person to the hospital. If a person having minor injuries is helped by a Good Samaritan then he is provided a Certificate of Appreciation by the State Administration.

In addition to the State Government's scheme, another scheme has also been launched by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India to encourage Good Samaritans, under which a reward of Rs. 5,000/- and an Appreciation Certificated is provided to the Good Samaritan. The implementation of the MoRTH's scheme is also taken care by the Lead Agency working at the state level.

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