Citizens' Issues
Keep up, Good Samaritans! Law now protects you when you help accident victims
Every year, over 1.30 lakh people die in India in road accidents. Many because nobody helps them during the first golden hour due to fear or harassment from authorities. Now, good citizens can help accident victims without any worry
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety has revealed that with over 1.30 lakhs deaths reported annually in India through road accidents, the country has overtaken China and now has the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide. This means we have 15 persons dying on our road every hour. The report pointed to speeding, drunk driving and low use of helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles as the main contributing factors.

Why a person hesitates to be a Good Samaritan?

In another report of Consumers India, it is stated that it is a country not only with the highest number of road accidents, but also lowest care in the ‘Golden Hour’- the critical 60 minutes following a trauma that can make a difference between life and death. This is because; any person who tries to help the accident victim is put to considerable harassment by the police, courts and other authorities. In a panel discussion on the subject ‘Why hesitate being a Good Samaritan?’ it was observed that the major problem in transforming a person from a mere spectator to be good Samaritan (a compassionate person who unselfishly helps others, specially strangers) is the fear of harassment from the authorities and the repeated trips that they have to make to the police stations and the courts. 

Private member’s bill by Kirron Kher, MP

Kirron Kher, a Member of Parliament (MP), has introduced Good Samaritan (Protection from Civil and Criminal Liabilities) and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, in December, 2014 to protect good Samaritans from civil and criminal liabilities by establishing supportive legal environment. It expresses the need to establish a Good Samaritan Authority, which will be responsible on acting upon complaints of harassment and violation of rights of Good Samaritans and institute legal proceedings against persons involved in such harassments or violations of rights. The Bill is yet to be passed by the Parliament. 
In the meantime, Save Life Foundation, an NGO, which is focused on improving road safety and emergency medical care across India had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking protection of Good Samaritans who help accident victims. Agreeing with the concerns and pending suitable enactment in this regard, the Supreme Court on 29 October 2014 directed the Government to issue detailed guidelines on how Good Samaritans are to be treated by Police, Hospitals and Courts. 
In deference to the court orders, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has now issued detailed guidelines on 12 May 2015 to protect those helping accident victims until appropriate legislation is enacted by the Union Legislature. The Gazette Notification dated 12th May, 2015 is reproduced here below: 
This is a big win for Good Samaritans who help accident victims. It is worthwhile to carry a copy of this notification with our vehicle papers just in case if someone still tries to intimidate or harass when we try to help an accident victim. Let us help an accident victim and save a life.
(The author is the financial analyst writing for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’)


When Fishing Becomes Fishy
When the police is held in contempt
The High Court at Hyderabad is housed in a palace. It reeks of old-time majesty, in decay. Especially in the courtrooms. Wooden panels, semi-circular tables for advocates, walls lined with All India Reporters giving instant access to judgements. One dreads the invasion of monitors on the judges’ table, especially when two excellent legal issues were argued this week. A fruitful visit was concluded by this writer, in more ways than one.
From Hyderabad, we bring you a case that deals with easements, tribal rights and contempt of court. Yes, these can all be the matter of arguments in just one case.
Contempt of court, to the popular imagination, is an accused throwing his chappal at the magistrate. Or hurling the choicest swear words. A mild form of punishment is a civil contempt order, lasting for a few hours, usually called “…till the rising of the court.” A more severe form is the criminal contempt notice, culminating in a sentence of incarceration, with or without a monetary fine. Of course, punishments for contempt. in earlier years. were corporal in nature. One book talks of hands being cut off and impaled on posts outside the court! We have, fortunately, moved on.
Easements means a right acquired by one (or many) without actually being a proprietor. Simply put, it is a right to enjoy a facility. It can mean a passage through another’s property to reach one’s home. It can be a right of way for traffic. An easement can be for fishing rights in a stream or a pond or on the coast, most usually available from long usage. It can be determined by a court.
In our case, it was a negative order. Fishing was banned, whatever be the reason. And that leads us to tribal rights. These are definite privileges accorded to certain people by demarcating areas for their use, usually exclusive use. People, who live near these places and whose families have lived off these parts for ages, are allowed to continue their livelihood. Being pristine zones, they are full of natural wealth like fruits, timber, grazing lands, fish from the streams, rivers and water bodies, eggs from birds’ nests and other God-given bounty. Yet, no one kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. It’s a win-win trade-off. Champanwalli village was one such hamlet and Ammanapalli was its fishing spot.
Civilisation is on the march. The ‘fruit’ is limited. Encroachment follows, insidiously at first, then more vocal and, later, by force. The simple people find that they have only one recourse; the court of law. Yet, a favourable order is often only a piece of paper in hand. Implementation by the poor folk, facing the might of the oppressors, is another kettle of fish. So, once again they bang on the doors of the court. Realising their plight, the court orders the local constabulary to protect the court-ordained rights. Usually, it turns out to be wishful thinking. One need not wonder why Naxalism and Chipko movements seem the only way out, illegal though they may be.
In our case, the cops did nothing, when it came to fishing by those exclusively banned from the site. The police failed to prevent the breaches of the law. Law enforcement agencies became spectators to, and therefore participants in, open flouting of the mandates. The usual Nelson’s eye syndrome.
You be the judge. What would you do, if the affected people came to you once again?
The court came down heavily on the Karimnagar rural circle inspector and two cops. Contempt of court was slapped on them. The cops were sentenced to three months each and fined Rs2,000, pending appeal. Yet, another victory for the common man. Unfortunately, such judgements are few and far between. More unfortunate is that they are little advertised. A copy of such orders, posted on the walls of every chowky, will not only to warn the errant but also to allow the citizenry to know its rights, options and recourses.


Dhanlaxmi Bank Officer Union seeks protection for whistle blowers
Dhanlaxmi Bank Officers' Organisation is on strike over termination from services of its General Secretary just before six months to his retirement. The Organisation alleged harassment for whistle blowers and seeking protection from RBI
Dhanlaxmi Bank Ltd has terminated services of PV Mohanan, the General Secretary of Dhanlaxmi Bank Officers' Organisation (DBOO) who was working as Senior Manager in the Bank's Recovery Department at Thrissur, citing 'loss of confidence'. Demanding reinstatement of Mohanan, the DBOO have gone on an indefinite strike. 
"By dismissing the General Secretary, the Management wants to silence the whistle blowers in the Bank and also find an alibi for their mismanagement, as the DBOO is on an indefinite strike," the DBOO said in a statement. 
According to the Officers' Organisation, it is on the path of agitation for the last 10 months as the Bank Management had chosen a victimization route against the association, for pursuing genuine trade union activities. "The difference of opinion started in early 2014 when DBOO alerted the Bank's management on a major fraud (through the Bank's whistle blower policy) that was being perpetrated through one of the Bank's Mumbai Branches," the Organisation said.
The scam, worth about Rs1,500 crore, involving several other banks is now being probed by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police. "There are indications about the involvement of higher level executives of Dhanlaxmi Bank also in the fraud, but as of now one of our junior level officer, a member of DBOO, who just obeyed the instructions from the top management, has been arrested and is in jail for the last two months. One Director of the Bank tendered his resignation in view of the involvement in the fraud," DBOO said in a statement.
In two letters sent to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the union alleged that despite having clear evidence of the active involvement of top officials of the Bank in the high value fraud in Mumbai, perpetrated by Showman group, no action has been initiated against either the Managing Director or the Chief General Manager of the Bank. It said, "This is a mystery to all. Only one Director Sreekanth Reddy resigned. A Scale I officer, who passed the entry in the computer system has been booked and is in jail since past two months. We fear that with the passage of time, evidenced will be destroyed and facts will be distorted. This is our worry and the real culprits will go scot-free."
Moneylife was the first one to report the All-India Bank Officers Confederation’s (AIBOC) allegations that the bank has manipulated accounts and provisioning, has a mismatch in asset-liability resources, maintains poor capital adequacy ratio and has huge dependence on call money borrowing. It has also accused the bank for ignoring social banking and financial inclusion. (Read: The stink coming from Dhanlaxmi Bank: AIBOC raises serious allegations)
According to DBOO the trend continues. For FY2014-15, Dhanlaxmi Bank reported a net loss of Rs241 crore compared with Rs251.9 crore same period a year ago. "This is in contrast to the first three quarters of profit that the Bank has been showing since 1 April 2014. The sudden plunging into a heavy loss itself is an indication of the accounting adjustments that the Bank has been practicing for long. The very purpose of publishing quarterly results is to ensure transparency of the Bank's working to the public at large. But by projecting a rosy picture for three quarters and then showing negative results only at the end of the year, the Bank is once again proving the accounting adjustments it has been doing to cheat depositors, employees and other stake holders," the Organisation said in its letter to the RBI. 
Requesting intervention by the central bank, the DBOO said, "As the scheme of protected disclosure or whistle blowers scheme has the sanctity of Regulator's directive, we strongly feel that it is also the duty of the RBI to give protection to the whistle blowers. This, however, is not happening in Dhanlaxmi Bank. The officers are always at the receiving end whenever a whistle blowing is done. So we appeal to the RBI to kindly intervene and advise the management suitably".
Last year in August, the EOW unearthed a largescale banking fraud worth about Rs1,000 crore related with fixed deposits (FDs) in several banks. According to reports, banks involved in this large scale FD fraud include, Dena Bank, UCO Bank, Syndicate Bank, Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank, Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank among others. Among the institutions who were victims of the fraud are the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) and South Indian Education Society (SIES) Trust.



anil bhalla

8 months ago

indian bank removed my service in 2001 with sup benefits for a minor mistake in july 2002 as the bank is in huge losses and union has not supported me and spoil my life.
Anil bhalla mandi gobindgarh
sr no 25313-12

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