Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Accidents - Law for Bystanders

I saw an accident take place. What should I do?

There is no legal duty to do anything, but as a good citizen you can do the following:

Rush the victim to the hospital or call an ambulance (108).

Inform the police about the accident. The police cannot demand a written statement from you without your consent, as per the newly enforced Good Samaritan guidelines.

Lodge an FIR at the nearest police station.

Won’t I get into a lot of legal hassle if I get involved?

The Supreme Court has approved guidelines issued by the Centre for protection of ‘Good Samaritans’ at the hands of police or any other authority.

Under these guidelines:

The Good Samaritan will be treated respectfully and without any discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion, nationality and caste.

Any individual, except an eyewitness, who calls the police to inform them of an accidental injury or death need not reveal his or her personal details such as full name, address or phone number.

The police will not compel the Good Samaritan to disclose his or her name, identity, address and other such details in the police record form or log register.

The police will not force any Good Samaritan in procuring information or anything else.

The police will allow the Good Samaritan to leave after having provided the information available to him or her, and no further questions will be asked of him or her if he or she does not desire to be a witness.

Now I have become a witness in a motor accident case. What rights do I have?

According to the same guidelines:

If a Good Samaritan chooses to be a witness, s/he will be examined with utmost care and respect.

The examination will be conducted at a time and place of the Good Samaritan’s convenience and the investigation officer will be dressed in plain clothes.

If the Good Samaritan is required by the investigation officer to visit the police station, the reasons for the requirement shall be recorded by the officer in writing.

In a police station, the Good Samaritan will be examined in a single examination in a reasonable and time-bound manner, without causing any undue delay.

If a Good Samaritan declares himself to be an eyewitness, s/he will be allowed to give evidence in the form of an affidavit. 

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