President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a bill, India's first, which will give legal protection to the good samaritans in Karnataka who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within the 'golden hour', officials said Sunday.
With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good samaritans through a legislation amidst the rising incidents of accidental deaths in India, which saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.
The president has given his asset to the Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016, a home ministry official said.
The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the 'golden hour' and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.
In medical terms, the 'golden hour' is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in a timely manner, 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 accident victim to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately, all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims, according to the new legislation.
Another official said there have been many instances when people get busy in clicking photos or making videos of the victims, instead of providing the accident victims medical help.
"With the new law, there will be clear message that good samaritans will not be harassed in any manner," the official said.
There were 4,80,652 road accidents in the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed. In 2015, there were 5,01,423 road accidents in the country in which 1,46,133 people were killed.
Karnataka is one of the top five states which saw a large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015.
There is no central law to protect the good samaritans. However, the Union Surface Transport Ministry had issued a set of guidelines in 2015 following a Supreme Court order to protect the good samaritans.