Topic– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
6) While the Good Samaritan law is a step in the right direction, at the same time there needs to be more awareness around the subject. Discuss. (250 words)
Why this question
The article delves deep into the need for a good Samaritan law, the issues involved in its implementation and what needs to be done. With Karnataka becoming the first state to bring a good Samaritan law, the focus needs to shift in replicating this in other states and iron out the flaws in the law. The topic is important both for GS2 and GS4.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain about good Samaritan law, highlight why such a law is important, bring out the details of the law and examine why despite such a verdict by SC, people are still wary of becoming good Samaritans.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain who are good Samaritans and why such a law is needed. Sizeable proportion of these deaths could have been avoided if victims had received emergency medical treatment on time. In fact, the Law Commission of India in a report, noted that over 50 per cent of road accident deaths can be averted with timely medical care within the first one hour. This translates to 70,000 lives that could be saved.
- Explain that In 2016, in a landmark judgement in the case of SaveLIFE Foundation versus Union of India, the Supreme Court instituted a Good Samaritan Law to insulate such persons from legal and procedural hassles that have traditionally followed the act of helping an injured person. Highlight the legislation brought about by Karnataka government.
- Discuss what the law entails. Explain that despite the law people are not willing to come forward to act as good Samaritans. Explain that massive gap exists between the law and its on-ground implementation.
- The law explicitly instructs police and hospitals to allow Good Samaritans to keep their anonymity and minimize procedural hassle. However, over half (57%) of the medical professionals surveyed and almost two-thirds (64%) of the police officials interviewed still ask for the personal details of the people bringing the injured to hospitals.
- The study also revealed that most of the health professionals and police personnel interviewed had not received any priming on implementing the Good Samaritan Law.
- None of the hospitals and police stations surveyed had displayed a charter of rights for Good Samaritans, as mandated by the Supreme Court judgement.
- Discuss the measures needed to address this – state governments must actively translate the judgement into state-specific Good Samaritan laws in order to establish implementation mechanisms for the law, including effective grievance redressal systems and reward and recognition schemes for Good Samaritans.
Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.