Enforce protection of Good Samaritans: Supreme Court

New Delhi, Oct. Oct 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the government to enforce the recommendations of the expert committee for the protection, from legal and other hassles, of Good Samaritans who come forward to help accident victims.

“We direct the Ministry (Road Transport and Highways) in consultation with Law Ministry to issue necessary directions with regard to the protection of Good Samaritans until appropriate legislation is made by the legislature”, said an apex court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.

Recommendations that court asked the government to enforce were made by the court appointed expert committee headed by the additional secretary in the Union home ministry.

The road transport and highways ministry Wednesday informed the court its agreement with the recommendations, which it was asked to enforce till an appropriate law was made.

Giving the government three months to implement its order, the court asked the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to be present in the court Nov 11, 2014 – the next date of hearing – for making the Justice Radhakrishnan committee functional.

The apex court April 22, 2014, had set up a three member committee headed by its former judge Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan to look into the state of implementation and enforcement of all the laws in respect of the licensing, fitness of vehicles, limits on the passenger and weight carrying capacity and other aspects including the deployment of adequate manpower for enforcement of theAexisting provisions of law.

Noting the Indian roads were giant killers, the apex court by its April 22 order had favoured four-dimensional approach of enforcement of laws, engineering, education and emergency care to make roads safe.

The court’s order Wednesday came on a PIL filed by the NGO SaveLIFE Foundation.

Senior counsel Indu Malhotra who appeared for the NGO told the court that according to WHO report the road accidents in India were the largest killers and people weary of legal and other hassles, including at the hands of police, don’t come forward to help victims of road accidents.

The SaveLIFE Foundation said that according to a national study conducted by it, 3 out of 4 people in India are unlikely to step forward to help a road crash victim because of the fear of prolonged legal formalities, police harassment and detention at hospitals deter most bystanders from coming forward.

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