Home » News » Delhi High Court Sets New Timelines for Organ Transplantation

The Delhi High Court has recently set a new standard for organ transplantation from living donors, recommending a completion time of 6 to 8 weeks. The court has instructed the government to ensure that all steps in the organ donation application process adhere to the timelines outlined in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 and Rules 2014.

The case that brought this issue to the forefront involved Amar Singh Bhatia, a retired officer from the Indian Air Force. Diagnosed with kidney failure in 2017, Bhatia was advised by two hospitals to undergo a renal transplant by 2019. However, his attempt to secure approval for the transplant in June 2019 was denied by the Army Hospital in New Delhi due to the lack of a near relative donor.

In 2020, Bhatia approached the High Court to seek the transplant. The court directed the authorization Committee to decide on Bhatia’s application within two weeks in February 2021. Unfortunately, Bhatia passed away in October 2021.
Justice Pratibha M Singh, presiding over the case, noted that all aspects of the organ donation process, from conducting interviews to processing forms and making decisions, should be done within fixed timelines. The court held that the entire process, from submission to decision, should ideally not exceed 6 to 8 weeks.

The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, passed in 1994, is the primary legislation governing organ donation and transplantation in India. The Act aims to provide a legal framework for the procedures involved in the removal, storage, and transplantation of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes. It seeks to prevent commercial dealings in human organs and tissues and ensures that the transplantation process is carried out ethically and legally, safeguarding the rights and welfare of both donors and recipients.

The Act defines key terms such as donor, recipient, hospital, and brain death and outlines its applicability, covering aspects of organ and tissue transplantation, including conditions under which organs can be removed from living or deceased individuals. It provides for the removal of organs or tissues from both living and deceased donors, including scenarios where the donor is brain dead, a minor, or an unclaimed body in a hospital. The Act emphasizes the need for voluntary and informed consent.

The Act mandates that hospitals performing organ or tissue removal, storage, or transplantation must be registered and specifies conditions for registration, including necessary infrastructure, facilities, and qualified personnel. It establishes an Appropriate Authority for each State or Union Territory, responsible for granting registrations to hospitals, enforcing the Act’s provisions, and conducting inspections. The Act also provides for the establishment of Advisory Committees to assist the Appropriate Authority.

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