The State of Uttarakhand did not have a fully functional State Level Authorization Committee under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 until last month. However, owing to an order passed by the Uttarakhand High Court, the committee is now fully functional.
The committee is expected to regulate living donor transplantation by reviewing each case of transplant and ensuring with reasonable certainty that the living donor is not exploited for monetary considerations. It is also tasked with prevention of commercial dealings in transplantation, and regulation of the process of authorisation to approve or reject transplants between the recipient and donors other than near relatives.
The Court had taken the State to task on a petition filed by one Ms. Neha Chamail, who is suffering from a kidney ailment and has been advised to undergo a kidney transplant. While a donor is available for her, the sanction for such transplant needs be obtained from the authorisation committee since the donor is not related to her. She had submitted that as per the Act, her case should have been forwarded to the State Level Authorization Committee but the same has not been done.
On specific enquiry, the Court was informed that the Director General, Medical Health along with Director, Medical Health was presently working as the Committee since the term of many of its members has already come to an end.
The Court had then lamented the state of affairs and had censured the State for not having a fully functional committee in place, observing, “It is very unfortunate that there is not yet a proper functioning “Authorisation Committee” in the State of Uttarakhand, as contemplated under the Act and the Rules framed thereunder. The State Counsel has apprised this Court that the term of many of the ex-officio or other members of the Committee has come to an end…
…It is a very sorry state of affairs to say at least. Rule 13 clearly stipulates that efforts should be made by the State Government concerned to have most of the members’ as ex-officio so that the need to change the composition of Committee is less frequent. In view of the aforesaid provision given in Rule 13, there is no reason why seats of the Authorisation Committee should remain vacant.”
During the hearing on July 30, it had therefore directed the State to constitute the committee within a period of 48 hours, noting that committee members have already been recommended.
Thereafter, on 2 August, the Court was informed that a State Level Authorization Committee had now been created. The newly constituted committee consists of Principal Secretary/Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare as its ex-officio Chairman, and the Superintendent, Doon Medical College; Senior Surgeon, Doon Medical College; Senior Physician/Nephrologist, Doon Medical College; and Director General, Directorate of Health Services, Uttarakhand as its ex-officio Members.
Dr. Suman Sethi, Chairman-I.M.A., Dehradun Branch, and Dr. Ajay Khanna, Joint Secretary, I.M.A., Uttarakhand have also been nominated to the said committee.
Taking note of this development, the Court then directed the new committee to consider Ms. Chamail’s case and take a decision on it as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of one week. The matter has now been listed on 14 August.