In order to encourage passers-by and bystanders to help victims of road accidents, the Karnataka state government has drafted a Good Samaritan Bill that was approved by the state cabinet on Wednesday.
According to a report in the Deccan Herald, the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency situations) Bill, 2016, was drafted two years after the Supreme Court asked the states to frame guidelines to protect people who try and help victims of mishaps.
Most bystanders are hesitant to come to the aid of victims of accidents for the fear that they themselves might be 'suspected of foul play', or that they might have to endure a grueling legal process.
Announcing the decision, the Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister, TB Jayachandra, told The Times of India:
"There have been several cases where people have been busy clicking photos or making videos of the victims, instead of saving them by administering first-aid or rushing them to nearby hospitals... With this legislation, we want to make it clear that those helping accident victims won't be subjected to harassment from police or be forced to attend courts."
Some of the key points of the Good Samaritan Bill, which will be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the state Assembly in Belagavi, are:
- Good Samaritans who help victims in a timely manner will be awarded ₹1,500
- They will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations
- In case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such 'running around to courts and police stations' will be taken care through the proposed Good Samaritan Fund
- After admitting the victim to the hospital the Good Samaritan can leave immediately after he/she has furnished their details, such as name, contact number and address
- All government as well as private hospitals will be made to give first aid to the victims
- A corpus of ₹5 crore will be created under the Health and Family Welfare department for disbursing the compensation amount to Good Samaritans
Once the bill is passed, Karnataka will become the first state in India to come out with legislation that protects those who rescue accident victims.
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