59.2% of Good Samaritans Held Back by Police Unlawfully: Survey

The survey found that only 16 percent of respondents were found to be aware about the Good Samaritan Law.

3 min read

According to a national survey commissioned by the SaveLIFE Foundation, 59.2 percent of Good Samaritans had been held back at the crash site by the police and 22 percent of them were detained by hospital authorities – all of which goes against the Good Samaritan Law, that was implemented in 2016.

Additionally, only 16 percent of respondents were found to be aware about the Good Samaritan Law.

So, what is the Good Samaritan Law?

By definition, the Good Samaritan Law, offers legal protection to those people who have provided reasonable assistance to those who are or are believed to be incapacitated. A Good Samaritan, to that effect, is someone who provides aid to an incapacitated person in an emergency, on a voluntary basis.

The law was instituted in March 2016 when the Supreme Court provided “force of law” to the Guidelines and SOPs issued by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under Article 141 of the Constitution, which made it “binding” across all States and Union Territories of India.

However, according to the survey, instead of protecting these Good Samaritans, the police and other relevant authorities in several of the metropolitan cities, have completely disregarded the law. Here’s how.


Good Samaritans Asked For Personal Details

The survey states that according to the Good Samaritan Law, any person who makes a phone call to the Police control room or Police station to inform them about a road crash incident, is not required to disclose personal details such as full name, address, phone number etc.

However, about one-third of Good Samaritans confirmed that the police had taken their personal details. 

Across all the cities which were taken in consideration as a part of the survey, the highest proportions of personal details of the Good Samaritans were taken in:

  • Delhi at 59 percent
  • Bengaluru at 46 percent
  • Kanpur at 44 percent

Out of these respondents, who confirmed that they had been asked to reveal their personal details, about 70 percent said the police had taken their name, address and contact number.

Good Samaritans ‘Held Back’ at Scene of Accident

According to the Good Samaritan Law, police officers are required to “allow the Samaritan to leave after having informed the Police about an injured person on the road, and no further questions shall be asked if the Good Samaritan does not desire to be a witness in the matter,” the survey states.

However, 59.2 percent of respondents stated that the police had not allowed them to leave the ‘crash spot’ or place where the accident took place. 

The highest portions recorded in cities in this regard were:

  • Chennai at 89 percent
  • Jaipur at 84.6 percent

Good Samaritans Detained by Hospital Authorities

According to the Good Samaritan Law, the disclosure of personal information – such as their name and contact details – is completely voluntary and optional, which includes the Medico Legal Case (MLC) Form provided by hospitals.

But here too, about 43 percent of Good Samaritans said that the hospitals had insisted on taking down their personal information, the survey found.

Adding to this, 22 percent of all the Good Samaritans who were approached for the survey, revealed that they had been detained by the hospital authorities after they had helped admit the road crash victim, who they had taken there.

In Delhi, two-thirds of the Good Samaritans were detained by the hospital authorities, while in Kanpur it was 37 percent and in Indore, 18 percent, the survey showed.

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