20 years on, organ donation act in J&K in limbo

The High Court has directed the government to file an affidavit with regard to implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1997 in the state.
20 years on, organ donation act in  J&K in limbo

The High Court has directed the government to file an affidavit with regard to implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1997 in the state.   

Hearing a related Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at Jammu, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the government to file the affidavit within four weeks.  

The bench expressed its "dismay over non-implementation of the Act saying 20 years after enactment of the Act nothing has been done to implement the Act."  

"The act has been in place since 1997 and twenty years have gone by and from the facts it seems that nothing has been done to implement the said legislation," court observed.   

The bench observed that it puts a question on the Executive, particularly on the seriousness of the Health Department that they have chosen a low ranking official 'Deputy Secretary' to file an inappropriate response to the PIL.     

"When the Legislature has done its job, it was questionable what the health department had done to comply with the act for organ donation," court remarked.   

Pertinently an elaborate legislation, Jammu and Kashmir Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1997 is in place in the state and the purpose of the Act is to provide for the regulation of removal, storage, and transplantation of human organs and to ensure prevention of commercial dealings of human organs. 

There are detailed provisions in the Act that stipulate the conditions for the grant of registration to hospitals and minimum standards required for transplantation of any human organ. 

Moreover, J&K Transplantation of Human Organ Rules, 1999 lay down a scheme for donors as well as the methodology for removal and transplantation of the organs. 

In this backdrop, the bench raised the question, whether any hospital in Jammu and Kashmir has been registered under provisions of the Act and if not what are the reasons of the same.

Advocate General, Jahangir Iqbal Ganai assured the court that the act will be implemented and the government will furnish the details of the registered hospitals where transplantation of human organs is carried out.  

The court directed the Secretary Health and Medical Education department and other respondents to file the affidavit indicating the steps and the progress made with regard to implementation of the Act and Rules under it.

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