HELPING ROAD ACCIDENT VICTIMS
| Supreme Court Judgment: In the case of Pt.
Parmanand Katara vs Union of India in Criminal Writ Petition No.270
of 1988, D/-28.8.1989 (AIR 1989 Supreme Court 2039) the Hon’ble
Supreme Court of India has observed:
“Every injured citizen brought for medical treatment should
instantaneously be given medical aid to preserve life and thereafter
the procedural criminal law should be allowed to operate in order
to avoid negligent death. There is no legal impediment for a medical
professional when he is called upon or requested to attend to an
injured person needing his medical assistance immediately. The effort
to save the person should be the top priority not only of the medical
professional but even of the police or any other citizen who happens
to be connected with that matter or who happens to notice such an
incident or a situation”.
(Para-6)“There can be no second opinion that preservation of human life is of paramount importance. This is so on account of the fact that once life is lost, the status quo ante cannot be restored, as resurrection is beyond the capacity of man.”
(Para-7)Can a doctor/hospital refuse medical care to emergency cases?
“Every doctor whether at a Government hospital or otherwise has the professional obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting life. No law or State action can intervene to avoid/delay the discharge of the paramount obligation cast upon members of the medical profession. The obligation being total, absolute and paramount, laws of procedure whether in status or otherwise which would interfere with the discharge of this obligation cannot be sustained and must, therefore, give way”
(Para-8)Should the doctors/hospitals wait for the police to arrive or any legal formalities before attending to a road accident victim?
No. “The treatment of the patient should not wait for the arrival of the police or completion of legal formalities. All hospitals and doctors are required to provide immediate medical aid to all the cases, whether medico–legal or not”
Is the duty of the driver of the vehicle involved in an
accident & the doctor attending the victim mandated by any law?
Yes. Following the Supreme Court order in 1989, the Motor
Vehicles Act was amended in 1994, to make it mandatory on both the
driver/owner of the vehicle to take the accident victim to the nearest
doctor, and the doctor to treat the victim without waiting for any
formalities. The provisions of Section 134, Motor Vehicles
Act 1988 read as follows-
Is failure to comply with this action punishable?