Don't trouble Good Samaritans: Cong MP's Pvt Bill

Don't trouble Good Samaritans: Cong MP's Pvt Bill

Congress MP Hibi Eden

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing, Albert Einstein once said. This quote has inspired young Congress MP Hibi Eden to come up with a private members bill that seeks to aid 'Good Samaritans' who do not walk away from accident victims.

The Ernakulam MP's 'The Good Samaritan Bill', listed for introduction in Lok Sabha on Friday, aims to help accident victims in the country, where it is believed that a "pizza arrives faster than an ambulance".

In a number of cases, accident victims are left to die bleeding on roads, as people refuse to help them fearing harassment by law enforcement agencies in the future.

Emphasising that the country's criminal procedure needs to be revisited to minimise fatalities on the road and hospitals, the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill aims at enacting a law that encourages people to help others in danger in road accidents and exempting such helping persons from criminal or civil liability.

The Bill tries to address harassment of those who take victims to hospitals by mandating emergency medical treatment without raising objections, by mentioning that cases are medico-legal. It also seeks to ban the demand for any advance payment as a condition for providing emergency medical treatment.

With more than 15 people dying every hour due to accidents, the Bill says bystanders and police should play an active role in saving lives of the persons injured in accidents.

The Bill proposes that a 'Good Samaritan' should not be liable to any civil or criminal action in respect of anything done to save the life of a person in an emergency medical condition.

"He shall be treated respectfully and without any discrimination... he shall not be required or compelled to file a FIR unless he decides otherwise, he shall not be detained by the hospital or any police official for any reason," the Bill says.

The 'Good Samaritan' also should not be forced to stand as a witness or providing evidence to the police or any other person. He should also not be compelled to reveal his identity, address, phone number or any other details.

If he decides to assist in the investigation, police should act with sensitivity towards him and complete the recording of his statement and all other proceedings relating to him in a timely manner.

"His examination shall be conducted at a time and place of his convenience and the investigation officer be dressed in plain clothes," it says.

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