New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal to deal with a plea seeking cashless treatment for road accident victims.
The plea came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which said that a copy of the petition be served on the office of AG to assist the court.
“As we understand, the submission advanced by the counsel for the petitioner is that certain arrangements should be made by the Union of India as well as by the state governments so that some assistance can be rendered immediately, subject to certain guidelines which may also take into consideration the financial condition of the victim.
The plea filed by Delhi resident Rakesh Kumar Singhal also sought direction to the Centre to issue appropriate orders to all hospitals and medical institutions to provide free medical treatment to those injured in road accidents.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that due to frequent road accidents, the victims are not able to get appropriate treatment in the hospitals and the financial condition also comes in the way as a hazard.
He said that unless treatment is provided to the road accident victims by some measure, the right under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution is jeopardised.
The petitioner highlighted the plight of the injured victims of road accident who are being denied immediate medical help and either suffered from severe disability of permanent nature or die, only because either the nearest hospital was a private one or there was no one in the family to bear the treatment expenses.
The plea contended that there is a scarcity of government hospital in the country and private medical institutions/hospitals operate on the motive of profit.
It added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation in 10th edition of ‘Mann ki Baat’, had promised cashless treatment plan for road accident victims.
The plea said that in the matter of life and death, injured victims of road accidents deserve the same treatment as promised by the prime minister.
It also cited a latest report on road accidents — Controlling the “Carnage on Indian Roads” — published on the website of Niti Aayog that read BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations contribute to 20 per cent of the worlds road accident deaths and India tops the list.
“While India has less than three per cent of the worlds vehicles, it accounts for about 11 per cent of the worlds road deaths. In 2016, our roads saw 4,80,652 accidents, injuring 4,94,624 and killing 1,50,785 persons.This translates to, on an average, into 1,317 road accidents and 413 fatalities every day; or 55 road accidents and 17 deaths every hour.
“The number of fatal road accidents have been increasing consistently since 2005 and stood at 1,36,071 in 2016. Consequently, accident severity expressed in terms of the number of persons killed per 100 accidents, has gone up from 29.1 in 2015 to 31.4 in 2016. Therefore, it is nothing short of ‘carnage on the roads’,” the report said.