Complete transplant process in 6-8 weeks, says Delhi HC

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Complete transplant process in 6-8 weeks, says Delhi HC Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What are the regulatory frameworks guiding the organ transplantation in India?
  • What is the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994?
  • 2014 Rules

Why in news?

  • Delhi High Court has prescribed an ideal timeline of 6-8 weeks to complete the process of transplanting organs from living donors.
  • In a judgment passed recently, HC said that prolonged delays can cause significant mental and physical anguish for donors, recipients, and their families.
  • It directed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to ensure that timelines under The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994, and Rules, 2014 are prescribed for all steps in the process of considering organ-donation applications.

Regulatory frameworks guiding the organ transplantation in India

  • Legislation
    • In 1994, The Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) was promulgated by the government of India.
    • The Transplantation of Human Organs Rules followed in 1995 and were last amended in 2014, increasing the scope of donation and including tissues for transplantation.
    • The act made commercialization of organs a punishable offence and legalized the concept of brain death in India allowing deceased donation by obtaining organs from brain stem dead person.
  • Institution
    • National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) is a national level organization set up under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
    • Besides laying down policy guidelines and protocols for various functions, it coordinates all the activities associated with organ donation at national level.
  • Organ transplant rules
    • In February 2023 the govt modified national organ transplantation guidelines.
    • The new guidelines have done away with the 65-year age limit for registration of patients seeking organs from a deceased donor.
      • There was no age cap for living donor transplants, where family members donate organs like kidneys and livers.
      • However, people over the age of 65 years couldn’t register to receive organs from deceased donors as per guidelines of NOTTO.
    • It has asked states to remove the domicile criterion for registering those seeking organs from deceased donor for transplant procedures.
      • Now the needy person can go to any state of the country and register for getting organ and also get the transplant done.
      • The patient will be allotted a unique ID by NOTTO on registering.
      • This will get carried forward even if the patient changes multiple hospitals in different States.
    • Noting that some states have been charging fees ranging between Rs 5,000 to 10,000 for registering such patients, this guideline has asked them not to charge money.

The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994

  • About
    • The law governs the transplantation of human organs and tissues in India, including the donation of organs after death.
    • It lays down regulations governing healthcare providers and hospitals, and stipulates penalties for violations.
  • Key highlights
    • A transplant can be either from a pool of organs of deceased persons donated by their relatives or from a living person who is known to the recipient.
    • In most cases, the Act allows living donations from close relatives such as parents, siblings, children, spouses, grandparents, and grandchildren.
    • Altruistic donations from distant relatives, in-laws, or long-time friends are allowed after additional scrutiny to ensure there is no financial exchange.
    • Living donations from close relatives involving Indians or foreigners must be accompanied by documents establishing their identities, family trees, and pictures that prove the donor-recipient relationship.
      • Donors and recipients are also interviewed.
    • Donations from unrelated persons require documents and photographic evidence to prove their long-term association or friendship with the recipient.
      • These are examined by an external committee to prevent illegal dealings.
  • Punishment
    • Following activities can attract a jail term up to 10 years and a fine up to Rs 1 crore:
      • offering to pay for organs or supplying them for payment;
      • initiating, negotiating, or advertising such arrangements;
      • looking for persons to supply organs; and abetting in preparing false documents.
  • Role of Authorisation Committee
    • The Authorisation Committee oversees and approves organ transplant procedures involving donors and recipients who are not near relatives.
    • This approval is crucial, especially in cases where organs are donated for reasons of affection, attachment, or other special circumstances, to ensure ethical compliance and prevent illegal practices.
    • The act authorises the Central Government to decide on the composition of the Authorization Committee.
      • State and Union Territories must form one or more Authorization Committees with members chosen by them.

2014 Rules

  • Rule 7 of the 2014 Rules provides for the constitution of the Authorisation Committee and the nature of enquiry and evaluation conducted by it.
  • Rule 7(3) says the Committee must ensure there is no commercial transaction involved in cases where the donor and recipient are not near relatives.
  • But Rule 7(5) says that if a recipient is in a critical condition and needs transplantation within a week, the hospital can be approached for an expedited evaluation.
  • For living donor transplantations, Rule 10 describes the application process, which requires joint applications by the donor and recipient.
  • Rule 21 requires the Committee to personally interview applicants and determine their eligibility to donate.

Q1) What is organ donation?

Organ donation is the process of surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person (the organ donor) and placing it into another person (the recipient). Transplantation is necessary because the recipient’s organ has failed or has been damaged by disease or injury.

Q2) What is the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994?

The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 was enacted by the Parliament during 1994. The main purpose of the Act is to regulate the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and to prevent commercial dealings in human organs.

Source: Complete transplant process in 6-8 weeks, says Delhi HC. What was the case? | National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation | The Hindu