By Our Legal Correspondent
NEW DELHI, APRIL 1. The Supreme Court has held that the approval for human organ transplant has to be issued only by the Authorisation Committee (AC) of the State to which both the donor and the recipient belong, and not by the committee of the State in which the recipient is undergoing medical treatment.
A Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S.H. Kapadia ruled on a petition filed by a patient from Ludhiana suffering from renal failure and undergoing treatment in a Chennai hospital. He was told by the Tamil Nadu Government that he had to get approval for donation of a kidney from the AC of the Punjab Government.
Under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, the States had been authorised to accord sanction for transplantations to stop commercial trade in human organs.
In this case, Kuldip Singh (28) was being treated in a Chennai hospital for renal failure. One of his relatives agreed to donate a kidney and approval for the donation was sought from the Tamil Nadu State AC. But the TNAC said that since both the donor and the recipient belonged to Punjab, only the Punjab AC could give such a certificate. But Punjab shifted the responsibility to the TNAC. The patient moved the apex court to ask which State AC could accord the statutory sanction.
Ascertain true intent
Disposing of the petition, the Bench said: "The object of the statute is crystal clear that it intends to prevent commercial dealings in human organs. The AC is, therefore, required to satisfy that the real purpose of the donor authorising the removal of the organ is by reason of affection or attachment towards the recipient or for any other special reason. Such special reasons can by no stretch of imagination encompass commercial elements."
The Bench said that the AC of the State to which the donor and the recipient belong has to find out whether the approval is to be accorded since such an AC would be in a better position to ascertain the true intent and the purpose for the authorisation to remove the organ and whether any commercial element was involved.
The Bench asked the Punjab AC to examine the petitioner's application and inform the TNAC of its decision. "With a view to effectuate the laudable object of the Act, it would be appropriate for States which have not yet adopted the Act, to do so immediately," the Bench said and directed that the copies of this judgment be sent to the Union Ministries of Health and Law and the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories.
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