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Petition on organ donation law sparks debate

On the eve of the World Kidney Day, the THOARC recommendations were discussed thread-bare at the HC, reports Harish V Nair.
Hindustan Times | By Harish V Nair, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2008 03:10 AM IST

On the eve of the World Kidney Day, the recommendations of the high court-appointed Transplant of Human Organs Act Review Committee that is awaiting implementation by the Health Ministry since three years became the topic of discussion in the Delhi High Court.

The court was hearing a PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to amend the complex organ transplant law liberalising the provisions relating to donors of organs to prevent rackets like the one unearthed in Gurgaon.

Though Justice Thakur refused to admit the PIL saying a fresh petition cannot be entertained as the high court has already dealt with the issue, he gave the petitioners liberty to file a contempt of court case against the Centre for not considering the recommendations of the HC-appointed committee.

“There is a limit to which we can interfere. We cannot direct the government to review any law. Even the government cannot. It is up to Parliament. Anyway you have the option of filing a contempt of court petition against the government for not considering the recommendations,” the Bench told Prabhakar after which he withdrew the PIL.

Citing various medical journals, petitioners — social activist Rahul Verma and lawyer Rakesh Prabhakar — in their petition had said with an estimated 80,000 people with severe renal failure in the country, it is not surprising that people are adopting illegal and unethical means to procure kidney. “Thousands of people are dying because of the stringent nature of the law,” Prabhakar said before a Bench, headed by Justice TS Thakur, emphasising that Gurgaon-like racket could have been prevented had the Health Ministry acted on the recommendations of the high court-appointed panel.

The committee headed by SY Quraishi, the present election commissioner, had reviewed the efficacy of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, and the Transplantation of Human Organs Rules, 1994.

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