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Kerala High Court’s Observation On Organ Donation

Kerala High Court directed the committee concerned to reconsider the petitioner’s plea within one week


The Kerala High Court recently reiterated that criminal antecedents of an organ donor are not criteria to be considered by the authorisation committee for transplantation of human organs.

“There is no organ in the human body like a criminal kidney or criminal liver or criminal heart,” the Kerala High Court observed.

This observation came from the Single Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan while quashing an order issued by the Ernakulam District Level Authorisation Committee for Transplantation of Human Organs, rejecting a plea for organ transplantation citing the reason that the donor is involved in multiple criminal cases.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Radhakrishna Pillai, a resident of Kollam and a kidney patient, who had challenged the order of the committee. The committee rejected his application for kidney transplantation stating that the donor is involved in multiple criminal offences. The court also directed the committee to reconsider the petitioner’s plea within one week.

The court further observed, “There is no difference between the organ of a person without criminal antecedents and the organ of a person who has criminal antecedents. Human blood is passing through all of us. I will apprehend that the committee will reject such applications for permission to donate organs even on the ground that the donor is a murderer, thief, rapist, or involved in minor criminal offences. I hope they will not reject the applications because the donor is a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, or person in a lower caste after comparing with the religion and caste of the recipient.”

No provisions in the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 and The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2014 support the stand of the committee. The intention of the Act and Rule is only to prevent commercial dealings in human organs and tissues. What sort of reasoning is this? No person with common sense can agree with the same. These are flimsy reasons. A man is on a death bed and his friend is coming forward to donate his organ. The competent authority is rejecting the application observing that the donor is involved in criminal cases when there is no such prohibition as per the Act 1994.”

The bench referred to ‘Thottam Pattu‘ of ‘Pottan Theyyam‘, which is a traditional art form of North Malabar in Kerala: “The situation is that a person belonging to a lower caste says to an upper caste person, ‘If I cut my body, human blood will come and if your body (the upper caste person) is cut, the same human blood will come.’ Then the lower caste person asks the upper caste person that since human blood passing through the body is similar, why is there caste discrimination? These are the words written centuries back. Where are we now? Let the people know about the stories of ‘Pottan Theyyam‘ of North Malabar.”

The Kerala government while responding in the court also said that there is no provision in the Act or Rules prohibiting the donation of organs by a person involved in criminal offences.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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