A law to protect ‘Good Samaritans’ in the offing
The Bill emphasises that the country's criminal procedure with regard to the ‘Good Samaritans’ needs to be revisited to ensure minimum fatalities on the roads.
If parties in the Parliament can come together beyond political affiliations and support a Private Member Bill listed for discussion next week, soon the ‘Good Samaritans’ in the country will have a law to protect them.
Congress young Turk and Member of Parliament Hibi Eden is set to introduce a Private Members Bill in the Lower House that seeks to encourage and protect 'Good Samaritans' who do not walk away from accident scenes but rather go ahead and help the victims.
The MP from Ernakulam told Asiaville that he is expecting support from members from all parties when it is taken up for discussion next week.
'The Good Samaritan Bill' is listed for introduction in Lok Sabha on Friday. It aims to help accident victims in the country in a big way by recognising the good citizens who help out the victims in need.
“This Bill is a result of my personal pain and daily reports from across the country wherein accident victims are left to die bleeding on roads. Mostly, people refuse to help them fearing harassment by law enforcement agencies and future hassles,” Eden told Asiaville.
The Bill emphasises that the country's criminal procedure concerning the ‘Good Samaritans’ needs to be revisited to ensure minimum fatalities on the roads.
"We need to urgently address the issue of harassment of those who take victims to hospitals by making a law for mandating emergency medical treatment without raising objections by the hospitals especially the private facilities", the MP said.
It also has provision to ban the demand for any advance payment as a condition for providing emergency medical treatment, he added.
In India, more than 15 people die every hour due to accidents. In most cases, the victim can be saved if bystanders and passers-by are assured of zero liability to any civil or criminal action in respect of anything done to save the life of a person in an emergency medical condition.
“I have tried to convey the message to my fellow MPs that this Bill must be treated beyond political lines as an urgent step to ensure that precious lives are saved. I am hoping that it will be taken in that spirit,” Hibi Eden told Asiaville.
Any Member of Parliament who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member. The provision of a Private Member Bill in the legislative process underlines the fact that both the government and opposition members can contribute to the lawmaking process in the country.
Bills introduced by the Ministers are referred to as government bills and are passed by the cabinet before being introduced in Parliament.
The purpose of the Private Member Bill is mostly to draw the attention of the nation to a pressing issue which needs legislative backing. The last time a Private Member Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament was in 1970. In independent India, 14 such Bills moved by private members have gone on to become Law. Five of them originated in the Rajya Sabha.