Holding that a patient’s failure to find a near relative as an organ donor cannot be a ground for refusing permission to procure it from an acquaintance, the Delhi high court on Tuesday directed Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s authorisation committee to permit a 38-year-old woman to donate one of her kidneys to her 58-year-old aunt.
A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi gave the committee two days’ time for permitting the kidney transplant on one Parveen Begum. He said that organs could be offered out of love even by those who are not close relatives.
Referring to a provision under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act-1994 (TOHO), the judge said: “Merely because, in a given case, a near relative may not be willing to donate his/her organ/tissue to the recipient, it is no ground to either raise a suspicion of a commercial transaction or reject the case altogether.”
Justice Sanghi said the Act and its rules do not intend to prohibit organ donation, but regulate such transfers.
Under Section 9 (3) of TOHO, a donor who is not a near relative of the patient can donate his/her organ out of affection or attachment to the recipient (or for other special reasons) with the prior approval of the authorisation committee. For this, the committee should examine factors such as the relationship, period of acquaintance, degree of association, reciprocity of feelings and other human bonds between the donor and recipient, Justice Sanghi said.
He stated that though the Act prohibits commercial transactions, it recognises “two of the greatest human virtues of love and sacrifice, and also the fact that such intense love and affection need not necessarily be felt only for one’s own blood relative or spouse, but may extend to those not so closely related, or to those not related at all”.
Begum, who has been on dialysis since June 2011, had found a donor in Israt, the maternal granddaughter of the former’s uncle. They had been close for 17 years.