New regulations for transplantation of human organs

     The Cabinet today approved the amendment proposed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act. The amendment will make the process of transplantation more transparent and patient friendly and impose stringent penalties on persons/hospitals violating the provisions of the Act. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 was enacted by the Parliament during 1994 and came into force on February 4, 1995 in the States of Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra and all the Union Territories. Thereafter, it was adopted by all States except the States of Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh, which have their own legislations to regulate transplantation of Human Organs. The main purpose of the Act is to regulate the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and to prevent commercial dealings in human organs. The Act contains detailed provisions relating to the authority for removal of human organs, preservation of human organs, regulation of hospitals conducting the removal, storage or transplantation of human organs, functions of appropriate authority, registration of hospitals and punishment/penalties for offences relating to aforesaid matters. Despite having put into place a regulatory mechanism for transplantation of human organs, there have been a spate of reports in the print and electronic media about a thriving human organ trade in India and the consequential exploitation of economically weaker sections of the society. There has, therefore, been an increasing perception in civil society that while the Act has not been effective in curbing commercial transactions in organ transplant, it has thwarted genuine cases due to the complicated and long drawn process involving organ donation.

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