The Union Cabinet on Thursday may consider key amendments to the Transplantation to Human Organs Act, 1994, disallowing foreigners to get organs from Indians, increasing penalty for violators by up to 10 times and allowing swap organ donation.
The government started the process of amending the law in 2008 after Dr Amit Kumar was arrested for running a kidney transplant racket in his two hospitals in Gurgoan. Kumar reportedly used to remove kidneys of poor labourers from UP and sell them at high price to Indian and foreign customers.
The proposed amendment aims at registration of all hospitals and clinics specifically for organ transplant. It also speaks about creation of a special authority in each state to regulate the registered hospitals for organ transplant and investigate the complaints of foul play.
Donation to foreigners by Indians as done in the Gurgoan case has been debarred in the proposed amendment.
To bring clarity in donation of organs by “near relatives”, the proposal says grandparents and grandchildren, in addition to wife and children, should be included but not uncles and aunts as suggested by a government expert committee. The amendment is set to make swap donation between two patients, notified by doctors, a possibility.
To improve the pool of organs for donations, the health ministry has suggested that hospitals should ask a patient whether he would like to donate his or her organs at admission as done in the US. The ministry had also proposed to create a national registry of beneficiaries of organ transplant and a network of hospitals for organs available for donation.
The proposal also entails to increase fine from up to Rs 50,000 to Rs five lakh and imprisonment from current 3 years to up to 5 years.