The Maharashtra government informed the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday that it will put up online waiting lists of those in need of cornea on a district-wise basis to ensure transparency in the organ donation process. So far, each eye bank had its own waiting list.
The division bench of justice AS Oka and justice AS Gadkari was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sampat Shetty, seeking transparency in the process of corneal transplants.
“Guidelines issued by the state provide that there should be district-level wait list of recipients,” said the order. “… the government pleader informs the court that the entire database, as per the guidelines of the expert committee, will be uploaded on the website of the public health department and the database will be regularly updated.”
While this will be done on a monthly basis, the government will have to show compliance before January 9.
The state government also came under fire from the high court for failing to follow provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994, which mandates the formation of an advisory committee to guide government officials on the issues involved. An affidavit of the state said the committee, which had a two-year term, had not met even once since it was formed in April 2012.
“The affidavit discloses a shocking state of affairs,” said the bench. “The advisory committee did not meet even once. The excuse given is that there was no occasion for the appropriate authority to seek advice from the advisory committee.”
The court said it was rejecting this stand of the government. “The advisory committee plays an important role in the implementation of the act,” it noted.
The court has urged the state to form a new committee of experts before December 31.
The state will also have to collect data from corporations and councils in the state on whether they have included a column in the medical cause of death form on eye donations.
The director of health services will have to file an affidavit on all these aspects before January 9. The matter will next be heard on January 12.