A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a public-spirited person in response to a news report of a scooterist who was knocked down by a car and died due to lack of medical treatment. Following the accident, the scooterist was taken to the nearest hospital, but was turned away and sent to another hospital 20kms away which was authorized to handle medico-legal cases. The scooterist died while he was being transported to the other hospital. The petitioner sought the issuance of a specific direction to the Union of India by the Supreme Court which read as: “every citizen brought for 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 and in the event of breach of such direction, apart from any action that may be taken for negligence, appropriate compensation should be admissible.” Along with the Union of India, the Medical Council of India and the Indian Medical Association were impleaded as respondents.

The Union of India, through its Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, referred to the decisions of a committee chaired by Director General of Health Services, highlighting that such decisions mandated all doctors to immediately treat patients without waiting for completion of police formalities. But, despite government attention to this issue, no discernable improvement could be detected; hospitals and doctors were still refusing patients due to medico-legal issues. The Union of India further stated that nothing in the Indian Penal Code 1860, Criminal Procedure Code 1973, Motor Vehicles Act 1988 or any other legislation prevented doctors from assisting those injured in accidents.
The Medical Council of India referred to its Code of Medical Ethics, which states that medical professionals need to attend injured persons immediately without waiting for a police report or completion of other police formalities. It further submitted that it is in the public interest for health care providers to be able to provide immediate care without waiting for legal formalities and for doctors to be indemnified under the law in cases where they proceed to provide immediate care within the scope of their professional duties.

The Indian Medical Association submitted an affidavit recognizing that certain police rules and the Criminal Procedure Code necessitate certain legal formalities occur before a victim receives medical aid in order to preserve evidence, and that such requirements can sometimes result in the death of serious injured individuals.