The state government has revoked licences of nine eye banks/eye hospitals across Maharashtra, four of which are in Mumbai, for alleged irregularities and failing to maintain standard of services.
Additional public prosecutor Niranjan Pandit informed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the Directorate of Health Services (DGHS), Maharashtra, has revoked licences of eye bank operated at the Bhatia General Hospital, MP Doshi Eye Hospital, Arpan Eye Bank and Sandeep Eye Clinic in Mumbai recently.
Licences of five other eye banks/clinics/hospitals in state, of which two are in Latur and one each in Nagpur, Nashik and Nanded have also been revoked.
The action was taken following a public interest litigation filed in November 2009 by a journalist, Sampat Shetty.
Shetty had alleged that only 14 per cent of total eyes donated were actually utilised by the eye banks/hospitals. The PIL had also questioned on why the utilisation of corneas had gone down over the last few years.
The banks collect the eyes in haste and proper tests are also not performed, which results in wastage, alleged Shetty.
Pandit told the court that the state is taking action against the eye banks, which are not operating as per the norms. The DGHS has taken necessary steps to ensure there is no wastage of donated eyes, he added.
Also, only those banks/hospitals, which adhere to standards prescribed by the DGHS, are allowed to operate, Pandit said adding that the DGHS has directed all eye banks and eye registering centres to re-register themselves.
DGHS filed an affidavit, showing that between 2007 and 2010 there was an increase in utilisation of eyes donated.
In 2007, 4,985 eyes were donated, which has increased to 6,268 in 2010 across Maharashtra — in Mumbai the figures are 2,394 and 2,411 respectively.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R.V. More has directed the state to compile all the details and file an affidavit by September 21.