organ donations cannot prohibit on the basis of criminal antecedents: Kerala High Court

By DEVANSHI SRIVASTAVA

The Kerala High Court has ruled that a person’s criminal past cannot be used as a criterion for organ donation, and the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 makes no such difference (Radhakrishna Pillai v. District Level Authorization Committee for transplantation of Human Organs, Ernakulam).

For his involvement in numerous criminal crimes, the donor was denied permission to give his kidney to a deserving patient by the District Level Authorization Committee for Transplantation of Human Organs, Ernakulam (Committee).

The Committee’s decision to swiftly examine the donation petition was severely criticised by single judge Justice PV Kunhikrishnan.

“No human organ has a criminal kidney, liver, or heart! An organ from a person with no criminal history is identical to an organ from a person with no criminal history. We are all made of blood “it said.

The Court found no provisions in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 (1994 Act) or the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2014 (2014 Rules) to justify the committee’s conclusion.

“A guy is dying and a buddy offers to give his organ. The responsible authorities rejected the application citing the donor’s involvement in criminal proceedings notwithstanding the Act 1994 and Rule 2014. The Authorisation Committee cannot reject the application “No decision.

The Court also noted that the Committee’s findings should encourage more people to donate organs, particularly because India has one of the lowest rates in the world.

The judge ruled on a petition from a man with severe renal disease whose relatives are not eligible donors. He asked the Court to overturn the Authorisation Committee’s decision to deny his friend’s request to donate a kidney.

The Committee rejected the friend’s request solely because to his criminal background.

The sole restriction in the Rules was that the donor should not be a drug addict.

Moreover, the petitioner claimed that although the Authorisation Committee reached its final judgement in July, the Court was only served with a contempt of court action in March.

The Government Leader acknowledged the petitioner’s points but said that petitioners may appeal the committee’s decision under Section 17 of the Act 1994.

However, in this instance, the petitioner is terminally sick and has previously petitioned the High Court with his complaints.

Because the legislature intended to prohibit commercial trading in human organs when it enacted the Act 1994, the Court agreed with the petitioner’s arguments and reversed the Committee’s judgement.

Shoukath Ali Pullikuyil v. District Level Authorization Committee, in which the Kerala High Court Division Bench said that the Committee does not need a police verification report to make a judgement.

In a week, it was ordered to review the petition.

Justice Kunhikrishnan further said that excluding criminals from donating organs may lead to additional restrictions.

The same 1994 Act, the Court observed, may help heal community divisions.

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