Karnataka moved a step closer to becoming India’s first state to have a Good Samaritan law which will give legal protection to those who come forward to help accident victims, with President Ram Nath Kovind giving his assent to the bill.
As per a home ministry official, the president has given his assent to the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016.
The legislation seeks to give protection to good samaritans who may be hesitant to lend a helping hand to accident victims, especially during the ‘golden hour’, fearing investigations and harassment at the hands of police.
The ‘golden hour’ is the first hour following an accident which is considered most crucial, as the accident victim has to be rushed to hospital to stand a better chance at survival.
According to the new law, the Karnataka government will extend financial assistance to good samaritans who help accident victims, they will not have to make repeated attendances in courts and police stations. Further, in case of mandatory attendance at courts and police stations, a Good Samaritan Fund will be created which will take care of all expenses.
The new legislation stipulates that after the victim has been admitted to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately and all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid the accident victims.
An official said that there were many instances when bystanders simply click photos or make videos of the victims without offering any help proactively. However, ”With the new law, there will be clear message that good samaritans will not be harassed in any manner," the official said.
As per data, there were 4,80,652 accidents in the country in 2016 out of which 1,50,785 were killed. In the preceding year, a total of 1,46,133 people were killed out of 5,01,423 accidents reported in the country.