President gives assent to Karnataka Good Samaritan Protection Bill, 2016

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016 under Article 200 of Constitution. With this, Karnataka became first state give legal protection to good Samaritans who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within golden hour. This law will ensure that good samaritans are not harassed in any manner and face any criminal or civil liability.

Key Features of Bill

The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within golden hour. It also seeks encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in hands of police and investigations. Golden hour in medical term is the first hour after traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
This law makes mandatory for all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims. It also provides protection to medical professionals during their examination as a witness. It also mentions that after admitting accident victim to hospital, good samaritan can leave immediately.
Under this law, Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in timely manner. They will be also exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, in case attendance is mandatory. Good Samaritan Fund will be used for meeting expenses of good samaritans such running around to courts and police stations.

Background

There were 4,80,652 road accidents across the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed.  Karnataka is one of top five states which saw large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015. It has been proved that number of road accident victims can be saved if medical treatment is immediately administered during golden hours after accident. There is no central law to protect good samaritans. However, Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways had issued set of guidelines in 2015 following Supreme Court order for framing guidelines to protect the good Samaritans or bystanders who reach out to aid of victims of road accidents.

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