SC approves guidelines to protect saviours of road-accident victims
The Supreme Court has approved a central government notification that provides protection to Good Samaritans, or those who help victims of road accidents by taking them to a hospital or reporting about the incident. A bench headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda approved the notification that also provides protection to witnesses in road accident cases, which means they will no longer have to undergo any distressing experience. With the top court’s approval, the government’s guidelines have become the law of the land and all states will be bound by it.
The SC order is expected to save the lives of hundreds of road-accident victims in the country as people often avoid helping them fearing subsequent harassment by police and other law-enforcing agencies. A bystander, including an eyewitness to a road mishap, will be allowed to leave immediately after taking the injured to the nearest hospital, without having to furnishing their address. Police cannot compel people to reveal their identity even if they are the informers or complainants in the case. The person can give his or her name voluntarily.
The SC order incorporates the Centre’s guidelines stating that no registered public and private hospital will detain a Good Samaritan or demand payment for registration and admission costs. No police official will ask him or her any questions and he or she would be later given a choice to record any statement before the court through video conferencing. Departmental or disciplinary action will be initiated against the officer who coerces or intimidates the informer. If the witness volunteers to go before the court to depose in the case, the trial judge shall complete his or her examination in one sitting.
Stockbrokers’ clients not consumers: Consumer court
The West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ruled that somebody who suffers monetary loss due to inefficiency of a stockbroker does not fall in the category of ‘consumer’ under Section 2 (1) (d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The order was passed by the bench of presiding member Samaresh Prasad Chowdhury and member Mridula Roy after hearing a complaint by one Sumit Bhattacharya against Way 2 Wealth Brokers Pvt. Ltd.
In his complaint, Bhattacharya claimed that he lost Rs 9,618,648 due to deficiency of services by the brokerage firm. An employee of ITC Ltd, the complainant retired from service in June 2010. In October 2005, he had opened a demat account with an Axis Bank branch in Hyderabad. In January 2010, he asked the firm to transfer 20,000 shares of ITC Ltd to this account. It was alleged that the company transferred the shares to the demat account of one Gouri Praful instead. Due to this, he suffered a financial loss of Rs 8,568,648, Bhattacharya claimed. In addition to this, he prayed for compensation of Rs 1,000,000 and litigation costs of Rs 50,000.
In response to this, the brokerage firm submitted that the demat account was opened by Bhattacharya to generate profit. Nowhere has the complainant stated that he was in the share business to earn a livelihood. Moreover, as there is an arbitration clause laid down by byelaws and regulations of the stock exchange, the complainant cannot seek redressal from a consumer court.
Another issue the firm raised was of jurisdiction. Since the account was opened in Telengana (then Andhra Pradesh) and the complainant was a resident of Secunderabad, it was submitted that he should have complained before an appropriate forum in that state.