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'No Rule That Poor People Can't Donate Organs': Kerala High Court Directs Authority To Reconsider Plea For Unrelated Kidney Transplantation

Hannah M Varghese
1 Oct 2021 7:30 AM GMT
No Rule That Poor People Cant Donate Organs: Kerala High Court Directs Authority To Reconsider Plea For Unrelated Kidney Transplantation
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The Kerala High Court recently observed that the poor economic background of a donor is not a bar for organ donation.It thus allowed a petition challenging the order of the District Level Authorization Committee, rejecting the application of a woman for organ donation on the ground inter alia that the donor hails from a poor family.Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan while considering the plea...

The Kerala High Court recently observed that the poor economic background of a donor is not a bar for organ donation.

It thus allowed a petition challenging the order of the District Level Authorization Committee, rejecting the application of a woman for organ donation on the ground inter alia that the donor hails from a poor family.

Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan while considering the plea remarked:

"I fail to understand the reasoning of the respondent. Simply because a donor is coming from a poor family, there is no hindrance to donating the organs...There is no rule that poor people can't donate organs. Being poor is not a sin. There are people with big hearts in plenty in our country and they can save them. That is how we can reduce the difference between haves and have-nots."

The Judge further noted that the donee is also from a poor family.

Background

The case of the petitioner was that the first petitioner Reeja P. is a kidney patient who needs urgent transplantation. She is currently undergoing dialysis thrice a week, and the kidneys of her close relatives were not found to be suitable.

Considering the pitiful situation, the second petitioner Saraswathi K informed her willingness to donate her kidney to the first petitioner. It is submitted that their husbands used to work together for years, their families are very close to each other.

However, the respondent District Level Authorization Committee rejected the application submitted by the petitioner finding that the donor is from a poor family, and that there were several unrelated previous kidney donors from the area to which the second petitioner belonged.

Aggrieved by the same, a writ petition was filed through Advocate C.M. Mohammed Iquabal.

Opposing the plea, the Government Pleader submitted that the respondent, after going through the records and after interrogating the petitioners, came to the conclusion that the approval cannot be granted in this case. Therefore, it was urged that the Court may not interfere with the same.

Findings

The Bench however failed to understand the reasoning of the respondent, pointing out that poverty is not a hindrance to donating organs.

The Court further found that one of the other grounds cited by the respondent for rejection was that the document signed by the Village Officer was found to be false after the interrogation with the husband and wife enrolled in the document. 

"I don't know how the respondent can conclude that the document signed by the Village Officer is false. Respondent has no authority to declare that a certificate issued by a Village Officer is false while considering an application for transplantation."

It was also established by the Court that while interrogating the parties, the respondent should take a "mild stand". The intention of the respondent should be only to find out whether there is a commercial transaction.

It was also submitted by the respondent that there were several unrelated kidney donors in the area where the donor resides. However, the Bench declined to accept such contention without any evidence.

"I think it is a matter to be reconsidered by the respondent in the facts and circumstances of the case. The points to be decided by the respondent is whether there is any commercial transaction."

The matter had come to light after Mathrubhumi, a leading Malayalam daily newspaper had reported the unfortunate situation of the first petitioner. 

Accordingly, the Court took judicial notice of the report, appreciating the media for bringing to the fore such incidents:

"This court takes judicial notice of the Ext.P3 report of Mathrubhumi which is one of the leading Malayalam daily newspapers in Kerala. We have to appreciate such news items from print and visual media so that the people with big hearts can come forward to help needy people."

As such, the writ petition was allowed and order of the respondent was set aside. The respondent was thereby directed to reconsider the application of the petitioners and pass appropriate orders in accordance with the law within a period of one week

Case Title: Reeja P. & Anr v. District Level Authorization Committee

Click Here To Download The Order


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