To protect Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by law enforcers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Centre’s guidelines and mandated the states to follow the same.A bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra asked the central government to give wide publicity to these guidelines so that people help others in time of distress. The detailed judgment is yet to be released to public.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to prevent the witness from getting entangled in lengthy and complicated legal proceedings, it said witness who calls the police to report an accident cannot be forced to reveal either name or contact information. Police can be allowed a single session with the person if he/she discloses name voluntarily, it said.Also to ensure that there is no intimidation or harassment, the court said that there should be a standard format for questioning the witness, which should be in place within 30 days. Video conferencing should be facilitated if the witness finds appearing in person an inconvenience, it said.It further asked hospitals to put up clear signs in English and local languages that make it clear that a witness who brings an injured person to the hospital will not be detained or asked to deposit money for the treatment. “Any hospital that does not follow these new guidelines should be penalised by the state government,” it said.It was in May last year that the committee on road safety, headed by retired Supreme Court judge KS Radhakrishnan, submitted some 12 guidelines in its report to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.The suggestions also included establishment of state road safety councils, protocol for identifying potential accident spots, and stronger action against drunk driving, speeding and violation of other road rules.Another recommendation of the committee was that any doctor who refuses to treat a road accident victim should be held guilty of ‘professional misconduct’.The panel was constituted by the apex court on April 22, 2014, while dealing with a PIL by a Tamil Nadu orthopaedist, S Rajasekaran, who had sought a comprehensive national policy to combat road accidents.

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Supreme Court asks states to follow central guidelines to protect Good Samaritans