SaveLIFE Foundation has filed two Public Interest Litigations in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in order to address gaps in the current scenario dealing with road safety. The first PIL, Writ Petition (C) 235 of 2012, asks for a supportive legal framework for Good Samaritans or Passers-by, who are the ones in a position to provide immediate help to an injured victim on the road, to come forward and do so without any hesitation or fear of Police or prolonged legal formalities. The second PIL, Writ Petition (C) 427 of 2013, deals with the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; specifically, Rule 93(8) under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules which allow for protruding rods at the back of trucks. This PIL also highlights the inadequacy of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 as the principal Road Safety statue in India.

Details of the PIL’s are elucidated below:


Writ Petition (C) 235 of 2012 – GSL 4th March 2014

SaveLIFE Foundation & Anr. V. Union of India & Anr.

This PIL prays for the Court to frame guidelines to protect Good Samaritans or Bystanders who assist road crash victims in the following manner, inter alia,

  1. No personal civil liability should be incurred by persons who render emergency assistance when the act is done in good faith
  2. Bystanders/Passers-by should not be forced to reveal their identities or details and should not be compelled to visit the police station and should be examined at their place of work/home as far as practicable
  3. Good Samaritans who are made a witness in a trial relating to the incident shall first be examined by a “Commission” constituted under Section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and only if necessary be brought to courts
  4. A bonafide Good Samaritan should have the option to become a witness in an investigation. Immediately after an incident, a police officer, on the basis of the facts of the investigation will determine whether a person is a bonafide Good Samaritan
  5. First aid training should be a mandatory part of education
  6. The state should run awareness programs on basic first aid techniques
  7. The local police should establish an award system for Good Samaritans so as to encourage more people to step forward
  • The petition was filed on 7th May, 2012
  • Further to various Court procedures, including filing and other formalities, the Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 11th December, 2012, set up an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice V.S. Agarwal, former Judge, Delhi High Court
  • The mandate of the Committee was to consider and provide solutions to the numerous issues put forth in the Petition.
  • The Committee was represented by officials from the Ministries of Road Transport & Highways, Home, Health and Family Welfare, & Law and Justice. Also represented were the Delhi Police, Chief of AIIMS Trauma Centre, the Petitioner and the Ld. Addl. Solicitor General.
  • The Committee submitted its interim report on 5th March, 2013 which said, inter alia, that Good Samaritans who provide assistance to road accident victims should be exempt from civil & criminal liability and should not be questioned. It also laid down other directions which would ensure increased availability of emergency medical and trauma care. These guidelines/directions could serve as a potential lifesaving tool on Indian Roads, if implemented.
  • This Petition has now been tagged with Writ Petition (C) 295/2012 - S.RAJASEEKARA v UNION OF INDIA & ORS on 21.08.2013.
  • Post August 21st, the date has been pushed more than 3 times to August 23rd, September 24th and finally October 22nd. Upon mentioning it in the Court of the Hon’ble Chief Justice, due to its urgency, it has now been posted for the 4th of October 2013.
  • PRIOR TO THE 21ST OF October, 2013, there were 2 hearings wherein the Hon’ble Chief Justice heard arguments on detagging the writ petitions from one another on account of the divergence in their issues and prayers. Initially, the Court was not inclined to detag the petitions taking the view that more ”wholesome” guidelines could be passed on Road Safety overall.
  • On the 21st of October, 2013 however, on perusing the submissions of the petitioners, the Court came to the conclusion that since the 2 Writ Petitions were indeed very different, SLF’s petition would go back to the committee to submit its final report, especially on certain issues which were not closed. The ad-hoc chairman would be the Addl Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. The next date of hearing is 27th January 2014.
  • The Addl Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs conducted 4 regional meetings in Puducherry, Bhopal, Delhi and Kolkata inviting relevant Government stakeholders in all States. The outcome of these meetings was a comprehensive report on Good Samaritan Protection and the need for a Lead Agency on Road Safety, Universal Access Number for India & establishment of a Highway Police for India. This report was presented to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 2nd January 2014.
  • The court has now given the next date of hearing as 25th March 2014 to go through the aforementioned report and issue directions as appropriate.
Writ Petition (C) 427 of 2013 – MVA 4th March 2014

SaveLIFE Foundation & Anr. V. Union of India & Anr.

This PIL brings the issue of how the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is not just inadequate as the principal Road Safety statue in India, but contains provisions which allow for road crash deaths, such as those allowing protruding rods and stationary trucks. The PIL prays for the following

  1. Issue a writ of Mandamus striking down the proviso to Rule 93(8) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 which permits vehicles to carry objects protruding from the vehicle.
  2. Direct the authorities to adopt uniform regulations, particularly in respect of stationary or stalled vehicles on highways and expressways, as well as with respect to trucks carrying rods or bars and other protruding objects. The PIL asks for the following as regulations/guidelines
    1. Mandating that transportation of iron/steel bars, construction rods, etc. is permissible only in covered trailers;
    2. The owner of the Transport Company, the person hiring the vehicle for transportation, and the driver of the vehicle should be jointly and severally liable, both civil and criminal, for any injury that may be caused on account of an accident with such vehicle;
    3. Mandating that trucks or other heavy vehicles that are stalled in the middle or side of the road, must be barricaded by traffic cones and reflector tripods, at least from a distance of 50 meters (i.e. 164 feet/65 yards) behind the vehicle.
    4. In the event of an accident occurring due to missing barricades and warning signals, the driver and the owner of the Transport Company must be made liable for prosecution under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 for driving in a manner which is dangerous to the public.
    5. With respect to trucks transporting protruding rods and stalled trucks, the said guidelines should be applicable to the driver, the owner of the truck/transport company, and consignee of the truck.

    • The Petition was filed on 26th April, 2013
    • Notice was issued to the Respondent – Union of India through the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to file their reply & appear before the Court
    • The petition was scheduled for hearing in December 2013 and January 2014; however due to the lack of response from the Union of India was pushed to March 2014. Upon a mentioning by SaveLIFE Foundation’s lawyers, the bench has slotted the case for February 28th 2014.
    • On the aforementioned date, due to non-appearance of the Union of India, the Respondent, the Hon’ble Court requested the Solicitor General of India to appear in the case.

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