Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that a legislation to insulate ‘good samaritans’ who rush accident victims to hospitals from procedural or legal difficulties would be considered by the state. “Instructions have been given to the Police Department not to cause any trouble to those involved in life-saving work,” the Chief Minister said while replying to a Submission raised by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala in the Assembly on Monday.
“The department has also been told that if the 'good samaritan' is not a witness to the incident then, in normal circumstances, there was no need for the person to be arraigned as a witness and examined,” the Chief Minister said. “If at all the person has to be called as a witness, a decision should be taken only after consultations with the public prosecutor and the state police chief,” he added. All these directions have been issued as a circular by the DGP. Mr Vijayan said that the police was also in the process of mobilising a team of volunteers under a collective called SOFT (Save Our Fellow Travellers).
The Chief Minister acknowledged that the fear of having to stand witness was one factor that made people reluctant to come to the aid of accident victims. A notification issued in 2015 by the Union Transport Ministry has clearly stated that those involved in life-saving activities should not be subjected to any kind of difficulty by the hospital authorities or the police or any persons in authority.
The notification also stated that the life-saver would not be saddled with any civil or criminal liabilities. The Supreme Court, too, had issued guidelines that stated that 'good samaritans' would not have to face any legal difficulties. The state Budget had on February 2 announced the creation of an ambulance service modelled on the Uber taxi service.