“Over 50 percent of those who die in road accidents can be saved with timely medical care within the first one hour.”
The Law Commission of India, 201st report
In order to enable bystanders to come forward and help injured persons, a supportive legal and ethical environment is needed. In the absence of an efficient emergency medical services (EMS) system in India, bystanders can play a crucial role in ensuring that a road accident victim gets immediate help within the ‘golden hour’ period.
How are we solving it?
In its landmark judgment on March 30, 2016, in the matter SaveLIFE Foundation v. Union of India, the Hon’ble Supreme Court incorporated the guidelines for the protection of Good Samaritans and Standard Operating Procedures for their examination by police and during trial, and invoked its inherent jurisdiction to make them binding on all States and Union Territories. With these landmark guidelines now having the “force of law” conferred by the apex court, no bystander can be harassed if he/she brings a victim of a road accident to the nearest hospital.
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Your rights as a Good Samaritan
A bystander or Good Samaritan shall not face any civil and criminal liability arising out of helping a road accident victim.
A Good Samaritan, who informs the police or emergency services for the person lying injured on the road, shall not be compelled to reveal his name and personal details on the phone or in person.
Disclosure of personal information of the Good Samaritan in the Medico Legal Case (MLC) form provided by hospitals shall be voluntary.
Disciplinary or departmental action shall be initiated by the Government concerned against public officials who coerce or intimidate a bystander or Good Samaritan for revealing his name or personal details.
A Good Samaritan who has voluntarily stated that he is also an eyewitness to the accident shall be examined on a single occasion and the State Government shall develop standard operating procedures to ensure that bystander or Good Samaritan is not harassed or intimidated.
Video conferencing may be used extensively during examination of bystander or Good Samaritan including eye-witnesses in order to prevent harassment and inconvenience to Good Samaritans.
Lack of response by a doctor in an emergency situation pertaining to road accidents, where he is expected to provide care, shall constitute “Professional Misconduct”, under Chapter 7 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulation, 2002 and disciplinary action shall be taken against such doctor under Chapter 8 of the said Regulations.
In case a Good Samaritan so desires, the hospital shall provide an acknowledgement confirming that an injured person was brought to the hospital to such Good Samaritan.